A Place to Camp in the Columbia River Gorge… Written by Barb Adams, Mt. Hood Chapter
At the OET State Quarterly in February, a grant was approved to help build two 2-horse corrals at Herman Creek Horse Camp in partnership with the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (CRGNSA).
Herman Creek Camp is the only horse camp along the major transportation corridor of the Columbia Gorge, and one of the few places in the Gorge where trails are open to horses. It is located a short distance from the PCT on the Oregon side. You can ride a beautiful trail along Herman Creek among stunning old growth trees, the largest Cedar, Douglas Fir and Hemlock that are left in the Columbia Gorge. Herman Creek Trail is 11 miles long and rises to 4,200 feet. On Herman Creek Trail you will cross small rushing creeks on their way down the canyon. There is a loop that is more than 20 miles long and uses Herman Creek, a connector by Waptum Lake, and the PCT. Since I have a fear of “unexpected dead-fall Dave and I have always gone out and back on either Herman or the PCT.
By trailering across Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks, you can ride the PCT in Washington while camping at Herman Creek. Herman Creek Horse Camp offers potable water, fire pits, a host, restrooms both at the camp, and at the Herman Creek Trail head located just west of the camp. There is a Forest Service work building, and storage yard by the entrance.
The new corrals will provide another good equestrian site within 50-100 miles for four OET Chapters. Herman Creek provides camping for members using The Gorge to access National Forest and BLM land in Eastern Oregon, and for those headed to the Deschutes River Trail.
Horse sites: Sites #3 (campsite on closed road) and #5 sport the new two-horse corrals.
Both have enough space for longer rigs. Site #6 has the most room for parking, is the biggest site, and has six in-line tie stalls. Site #7 has a small hitch rail. The host site has two stalls. The Forest Service is interested in more corrals in the event they get a good response from equestrians for the corral sites. Check the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area web pages for more information, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marty DeVall, North Valley, and Dave Adams, Mt.Hood, teamed up to figure out materials. Dave picked up the lumber in our four-horse bumper pull. He and Marty pre-cut and drilled the wood in order to save time.
April 16 Dave drove the lumber and tools up to Herman Creek. Dave returned and took our LQ back up with the tractor loaded in the back so he could stay overnight for two nights. Our LQ and truck are 45 feet long. He was able to negotiate the curve going to the campground and trail head. The paved road up is steep (but short) and the tight turn is at the top.
April 17 Marty DeVall, Bruce Farrier, Harold Moyer, Pam and Lot Scholz, and I joined Dave. It was a beautiful sunny day. The first corral was finished and the second started. April 18 we finished the second corral, put in the manure pit, cleared a storage area at the trail head to make room for “horse trailer parking only”, and packed up our tools. April 17 was sunny, and April 18 cloudy, but NO RAIN. It was an April miracle.
Thanks to Stan Hinatsu, Edan Lira and Jonathan Brooks of the CRGNSA for working with us to put the “Horse” in Herman Creek Horse Camp.