Despite its close proximity to Eugene, Horse Rock Ridge remains a semi-secret hideout for local botanists and only a handful of knowledgeable hikers. The trail here is not maintained, but it is in good shape and generally easy to follow. Best of all, the scenery is wonderful, featuring steeply sloping meadows, a lot of interesting volcanic rock formations, excellent spring wildflowers, and extensive views. Even though the area’s highest elevation is only 2864 feet, the open terrain provides the look and feel of much higher mountains.
Since the trails here open as early as March, this hike is a great way to smell the flowers and get a taste of the High Cascades early in the hiking season. To protect the unusual botany of Horse Rock Ridge, one of the last remaining grassy “balds” on the west margin of the Cascade Range, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has set aside this place as a research natural area. The agency does not promote or manage the area for recreation, and visitors are strongly encouraged to tread lightly and to faithfully remain on the trail. Larger groups are asked to coordinate their visit with the BLM office in Eugene.
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