Just outside of Bend, Oregon is the high desert city of Sisters. If you are looking to go horseback riding in Sisters, Oregon, you’ve come to the right place. Seven miles west of Sisters, Oregon sits Black Butte Stables. Experience the Oregon Cascades on horseback at Black Butte Ranch.
Horseback riding in Sisters, Oregon
While Black Butte Ranch doesn’t own Black Butte Stables, this is the best place to go horseback riding in Sisters, Oregon. Located in Deschutes County, the area is known for its stunning, high desert beauty, the nearby Three Sisters Mountains and Mt. Washington.
In the photo above, a herd of horses run in from the pasture at Black Butte Ranch in Sisters, Oregon. Jingling the horses into the stables, from the pasture, is one of my favorite equestrian activities. Cowboys and cowgirls will round up the horses and direct them to the stables in order to feed, groom and saddle the horses for a day of horseback riding in Central Oregon.
Black Butte Ranch trail ride
Trail riding in Black Butte Ranch is one of the best ways to experience Central Oregon’s high desert. Black Butte Stables is situated in the Deschutes National Forest, surrounded by Ponderosa pine trees, Aspen trees and manzanita brush. We were fortunate to be horseback riding in Sisters, Oregon in May.
Glaze Meadow was lush and green with snow-covered Mt. Washington in the distance. The Aspen groves and Siskiyou pink manzanita were in bloom and Indian Ford Creek was filled with crystal clear mountain spring water.
Some of the animals you might encounter on your Black Butte Ranch trail ride are elk, deer, coyote and rabbits. The horses are all very well trained, but as always, keep your hands on the reins and your body alert.
What to expect horseback riding at Black Butte Stables
Black Butte Stables trail rides are designed for all levels of equestrian riding ability. You’ll be asked to arrive at Black Butte Stables at least 15 minutes before your horseback ride. Horseback riders must be 7 years of age and older for a trail ride. See below for horse drawn carriage rides and lead line ride options.
No matter the time of year, you’ll want to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes, or boots with a heel, horseback riding. Riders under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet. All riders are offered riding helmets and adults must sign a waiver if they opt out of helmets. Leave purses and backpacks at home. If you bring a water bottle, ask your wrangler for a bottle holder for your saddle.
What is the best trail ride for me at Black Butte Stables?
On my visit, Black Butte Stables offered 6 different rides. All trail rides have a maximum of 8 riders, in addition to a wrangler. Rides are geared for first-time riders to experienced equestrians. Insurance limitations dictate that these Sisters, Oregon trail rides are walking only or walk/trot rides.
For the beginning rider, you might like the “Big Loop Ride.” Covering approximately 3.3 miles, this 1-hour ride offers a chance for trotting if all riders are comfortable with their horses. All rides are with Western saddles.
Gobblers Knob is a 5.5 mile, 1.5 hour ride, crossing Indian Ford Creek in Sisters, Oregon. You’ll ride by Glaze Meadow, with views of the Three Sisters, Broken Top and Mt. Washington.
While advertised as a challenging ride, the 2 hour “Hole in the Wall Gang” ride is scenic and easy. As with Gobblers Knob, this trail ride criss-crosses Indian Ford Creek. Water crossings are always fun and the Black Butte Stables horses are well-versed on what to expect while riding in the Deschutes National Forest.
I regret that I did not sign up for the Reata Trail ride. I specialize in dude ranch reviews and try to log as much time in the saddle as possible. As this was my first-time riding with Black Butte Stables, I plan to return for this half day, backcountry horseback riding experience. Drop a comment below if you have taken this backcountry trail ride in Sisters. Oregon.
What makes horseback riding in Sisters, Oregon unique?
As an experienced equestrian, I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to enjoy horseback riding vacations all over the world. What makes me keep coming back to horseback riding in Central Oregon? From horseback riding with private outfitters at Smith Rock to riding along the Deschutes River, I never tire of the high desert landscape.
In the photo above, horseback riders pass through a wooden arch like many cowboys, cowgirls and cows before them. Black Butte Ranch was once an active cattle ranch. Black Butte Ranch, now a planned resort community, 7 miles northwest of Sisters, Oregon, boasts 1,800 acres of protected forest land. I am grateful that Black Butte Ranch maintains its ties to the old west, while offering an ideal place for families to recreate in the Cascades range.
Things to do in Deschutes County, Oregon
For the non-riders in your group, consider a horse drawn carriage ride. On my visit, I met Doc and Wyatt, draft horses at Black Butte Stables.
I confess that I started my love affair with horses while on a pony lead-line ride in the hills of Oakland, California. I continued to pester my parents for pony rides until I finally had a horse of my own. So be forewarned, the Little Buckaroo Ride, might lead to a future cowboy or cowgirl in your family.
Black Butte Stables (541) 595-2061
13892 Bishops Cap, Black Butte Ranch, Oregon
Where to go horseback riding in Sisters, Oregon, You Tube video and photography by travel writer Nancy D. Brown. All opinions are my own.