What does recycling have to do with horseback riding? The idea of recycling old train track beds began about 50 years ago in the Midwestern states. As railways began to lose their economic advantages, they abandoned their track system and pulled up the iron railings, leaving level, hard-packed strips of land accented with bridges, tunnels and a backyard tour of former industrial facilities. The idea of turning these strips of land into a network of multi-purpose trails germinated and grew into the Rails-to-Trails movement. Today, according to their website “Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., whose mission it is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier place for healthier people.”
The connection with horseback riding is that these trails, within easy reach of many Oregon horse properties, are free and available to all riders as well as hikers and bicyclists. As you ride along these converted railway beds you can almost imagine a slow train ride of another era through beautiful areas of Oregon.
Being mixed use pathways, it is imperative to review the courtesies required for safe and enjoyable riding alongside walking and bicycling companions. Hikers and bikers are expected to yield to horses and other animals.
There are 11 designated rails-to-trails in Oregon, some being short excursions while others span over 100 miles. Some of the longer trails include the Banks-Vernonia 21 mile trail west of Portland off Highway 26. It wanders through coastal range forests with breath-taking views of the mountains. Another longer trail is the Bearcreek Greenway between Ashland and Medford, offering 17 miles of creekside beauty. The high desert Deschutes River Trail of 17 miles is only open seasonally so check the link for more information. The longest trail, the 105 mile OC&E Woods Line State Trail out of Klamath Falls, is a veritable railroad history lesson on horseback. See their portion of the link for a detailed overview of the trail.
Exploring Oregon by horseback takes many forms and the rails-to-trails offerings are just one aspect of a greater opportunity to enjoy the phenomenal northwest environment. Base your explorations out of Salem, Oregon by owning Oregon horse property and become a member of this beautiful state.
Are you ready to explore owning Horse Property in Oregon? Let’s talk!