Horse camping in Oregon takes a tremendous amount of pre-planning and effort to haul not only yourself but your animals into the wilderness. Yet the effort is well worth it when you arrive at a campground such as Willow Prairie, about one and one half hours east of the Grants Pass-Medford area. The campground takes reservations and it would be well worth a preliminary drive out to check which site would serve your party best. We used spot #10 for two truck-trailers hauling five horses and six campers.
The amenities are few: one vault toilet, two horse water troughs, shared water faucets near the corrals and a resident camp host who knew the trails well. The roads in are paved or graveled with clear signage along the way, but using an online mapping service would be a great help.
The campground requires that you bring in certified feed for your livestock and use local wood for your fires. The sites each have a picnic table with bench seats and a fire pit with metal surround and grill top. We set up a dining tent over the picnic table which proved to be prescient when the weather turned damp and drizzly. The corrals are in threes and fours and are of the usual style.
The piney forest surrounding Willow Prairie campground is filled with nearly 19 miles of trails and roads with many looping back to camp. The local fauna include many species of birds, wild rabbits, pesky camp-raiding squirrels and the rare bear. We took bear spray with us in the event of an encounter but there had been no incidents prior to our arrival. Mt. McLaughlin forms a snow-capped backdrop for the rides and the Forest Service personnel continually clear underbrush into burn piles so the landscape is pretty open.
Nights can be cool, even near freezing at 4300 feet elevation, but the summer days are pleasant and warm. This is a place where riders can trail ride all day and not repeat their route. Consider Willow Prairie campground for your next trail riding adventure.