Fall Riding Opportunities in Washington – Rock Creek Horse Camp, Riverside State Park, and Les Hilde Trailhead

Note: A decision on whether to hold the 2020 BCHW Winery and Halloween Costume & Prize Ride is being made on September 1, the same day this edition is released. Please visit bchw.org for the announcement of that decision.


Rock Creek Horse Camp on NE Dole Valley Road in Yacolt, Washington is a Department of Natural Resources managed camp with 21 equestrian sites, wooden corrals, stock water, toilets, trees, and a nice shelter. Rock Creek runs right by the campground. There is a year-round host at the campground.

The main Tarbell trail is a 24-mile loop, with opportunities to branch off on the Bells Mountain trail or the Silver Star trail. A nice ride takes you to Hidden Falls with places to tie your horse and have lunch. Horses need shoes or boots. Most offer nice views and trails are easy to intermediate. The Mount Saint Helens Chapter BCHW has helped to maintain the trails and campground for over 15 years.

Campsites are first come, first served but rarely full during the week. Trails are open to stock year-round or as weather dictates. A Discover Pass is required. For more information and maps go to www.dnr.wa.gov/Yacolt

Barbara Thomas


Photo by Leah Smith

Riverside State Park – A short distance northwest of Spokane is the 12,000-acre Riverside State Park. The equestrian area provides a wonderful venue for horsemen. The equine campground has 21 sites with horse corrals; eleven of the spots have electricity. There is also an arena, round pen and trail obstacle course. Groups use it for events, individuals use it for training and exercising their horses and travelers use it as a stopover to rest horses as they come through Spokane. The equestrian area is connected to about 80 miles of trails in the park. The facility and trails are open until snow season.

This area was originally created by the Inland Empire Chapter of BCHW and now the Ponderosa Chapter has taken on the maintenance and has plans for additions and improvements. Interested in finding out more about that? Contact Ken Carmichael 509-466-2225 or [email protected]il.com For more park information and maps visit www.parks.state.wa.us/573/Riverside

Ken Carmichael


Photo by Marilyn Pineda

Les Hilde Trailhead is located in the Harry Osborne Forest east of Sedro Woolley in NW Washington. This system is open year around, weather permitting, for camping and riding. About 8 acres of level open area offers dispersed camping with pipe highline poles, several fire rings, a shelter with picnic tables, ADA mounting ramp, with a modern two stall pit toilet. Stock water is a creek just a short walk down a gravel road below the camp. There’s no people water.

The trails are many and diverse, from fairly level to steep and challenging although not edgy. Trail rides can last from an hour to at least 5 hours with both loop and out-and-back options. Tying several trails together is easy. A kiosk located at the trailhead has a map of the area.

The Skagit BCH chapter is the main sponsor of this trailhead. There are some views, a small lake with the trail going though part of it, as well as a nice picnic table lunch spot with a view is some of the highlights. This is a Department of Natural Resources site so a Discover Pass is required.

Mike McGlenn


Join Back Country Horsemen of Washington after October 1 and your dues are good until the end of 2021. This also includes membership in Back Country Horsemen of America. www.bchw.org.

BCHW is a 501c3 organization with 31 chapters across the state. We are dedicated to keeping trails open for all users; educating stock users in Leave-No-Trace practices; and providing volunteer service to resource agencies. To find out more about BCHW go to www.bchw.org Keep up with BCHW and the issues and events we are following on our state Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/public.bchw/

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Published in the September 2020 Issue:

September 2020


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