Horseback Riding Vacation along Paulina Creek, La Pine, Oregon
We whoop and holler as the ice cold cascade mountain snow melt hits our bodies at the Paulina natural water slide. Our family of four has been riding mountain bikes and hiking the forest service trail to Oregon’s Paulina Creek for many years. How many years have I looked to the equestrians riding the trail above and said to my husband, “now that’s my idea of a horseback riding vacation!”
Horseback Riding Dreams Do Come True
I’ve been fortunate to go on fantastic horseback riding vacations all over the globe due to my travel writing profession. I never dreamed that I’d be able to go horseback riding on the Peter Skene Ogden Trail along side Paulina Creek.
As luck would have it, our teenagers brought friends along on this central Oregon vacation. One of the girl’s grandmother owned horses in nearby Powell Butte. She asked if I would like to go horseback riding during our trip to Sunriver, Oregon. While the teenagers continued with the mountain biking tradition to Paulina, we would meet them on horseback at McKay Crossing campground. She loaded up her two Fox Trotters and arrived at the Peter Skene Ogden Group Camp for a day of horseback riding in Central Oregon.
Horseback Riding on a Missouri Fox Trotting Horse
Never having ridden a Missouri Fox Trotting Horse, I compared it to my experience riding Tennessee Walking horses at the Kay El Bar Guest Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona. The horses were smooth and steady along the trail. It’s about an hour horseback ride from the base camp parking lot to McKay Crossing Campground. The ride is much faster if you are trotting the entire way. In fact, my riding partner, Casey James, and I politely stepped off the hiking and equitrekking trail to let two Arabian endurance horses and a mule pass us by during our trail ride.
The American Competitive Trail Horse Association should consider a horseback riding vacation in this Central Oregon area. While the trail is open to hikers and mountain bikes (up hill only) we didn’t encounter any problems during our horseback ride.
Picnic Lunch at McKay Crossing Campground
As I mentioned earlier, my husband and teenagers, along with several other girls, swam and splashed in Paulina creek, while we went on a horseback riding vacation. An hour or so into our trail ride along Paulina Creek, we met up with our bicycling group for a picnic lunch at McKay Crossing Campground. Surrounded by Ponderosa pine, grand and Douglas fir trees, this shaded campground is a beautiful location for day use or overnight camping.
Peter Skene Ogden Trail
Who was Peter Skene Ogden? Skene Odgen was a trapper with the Hudson Bay Company who made his first recorded visits to Central Oregon in 1825. Ogden, Utah is also named after him.
If You Go:
Located off highway 97, turn on the Caldera exit. Look for the Peter Skene Odgen Group Camp sign, situated next to Paulina Creek in La Pine, Oregon.