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The Methow Valley – A Treasure Trove of Trails

There are numerous trails for equestrians in the Methow Valley watershed. They range from back country rugged mountain trails (in or out of the wilderness) to more accessible and level front country trails lower down in the valleys of the Methow River and its tributaries.

Equestrians and other trail users may choose a pack trip, day trip, or go out for just an hour or two. Some trails are for experienced riders and mounts, but there are plenty of scenic trails suitable for everyone else, including green horses and novice riders.

Photos courtesy Jan Ford/Methow Valley BCHW

To introduce yourself and your horse or mule to the Methow, you might consider coming to the annual Spring Trail Ride organized for the last weekend of April by the Methow Valley Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of Washington (MVBCH). This is the 36th Spring Ride – one of the older ones in the state. It is our sole fundraiser and the proceeds go towards our mission to support the use of horses and mules for recreation on public lands. In our case, that means working to help keep as many trails in the Methow Ranger District open as we can.

The Spring Ride is a weekend campout at Beaver Creek Campground on Fish and Wildlife land near Twisp. Starting on Friday, April 24 with an evening potluck, it finishes after breakfast on Sunday, April 26. The scenic ride is on Saturday, April 25 followed by a BBQ dinner with campfire entertainment. A silent auction, logo wear, poker game on the ride and, above all, friendly folk all add to the fun. We welcome back all those who have come in the past as well as those new to the valley. Details can be found at www.mvbch.com.

A few miles further east along Highway 20 from the turnoff to Beaver Creek Campground is the turnoff to North Summit Horse Campground (NSHC). Less than half a mile from the highway you can turn your rig into the campground which is on Forest Service land and surrounded by scenic front country trails. Phase 1 with six campsites was opened in October of 2019 after eight years of preparatory planning and two years of on-site work by MVBCH.

We hope to complete Phase 2 with six more campsites and other facilities in the next two years. This area opens up for riding and camping around the first of June when the snow clears. To read more about the making of this horse camp, a 10-plus year project, go to www.nwhorsesource.com/north-summit-horse-camp.

Wait until August or fall to ride the higher trails of the Methow. Plans are in progress for coordinated summer work parties of user groups and other volunteers, along with paid trail teams, to assist the under-resourced Methow Valley Ranger District in opening and maintaining trails. Trails in Twisp River burned by the 2018 Crescent Mountain fire and earlier long-term fire closures north of the Methow River will be the main focus. A particularly large five-day statewide work party led by BCHW will be based at Twisp River Horse Camp in early July.

 

Upcoming BCHW Activities and Events:

Winery Ride & Costume Contest Prize Ride – October 31, 2020 – Zillah, WA

More BCHW sponsored events are listed at bchw.org/lnt/main/upcoming_events.htm

 

Back Country Horsemen of Washington is dedicated to keeping trails open for all users, educating stock users in Leave-No-Trace practices, and providing volunteer service to resource agencies. Learn more at www.bchw.org

Published in April 2020 Issue

April 2020

 

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