The great outdoors is sometimes best experienced on horseback, and Lewis County offers dozens of trails that cater to equestrians from beginner to advanced. If you’re lucky enough to own a horse, take some time to discover these five trails throughout our area that offer a peaceful ride through beautiful scenery and more!
Just over seven and a half miles in total length, the Packwood Lake Trail is open to equestrians and hikers alike. It’s a beautiful ride through stands of forest and along small waterfalls to the resplendent Packwood Lake, which is gorgeous no matter the weather.
The trail is a decent width along its entirety, and because it is more popular with horseback riders than most trails that are also well-hiked, interactions between riders and equestrians are frequent and rather pleasant.
On a clear day, look out to the distance once you reach the lake and see several of the high-elevation Goat Rocks. And even on a cloudy or overcast day, the serenity of the scene and the sound of the waves lapping up against the shore are perfect. Bring some food, cook out over an open fire and just enjoy the beauty of the area.
Although this trail is very popular with cyclists and runners, the entirety of the Willapa Hills Trail — especially the completed portion from Chehalis to Pe Ell — is open to equestrians. Use increases in the summer months as people enjoy the ride especially further west in Lewis County along scenic stretches of the Chehalis River, and you have to ride it yourself to experience the beauty and tranquility!
Also make sure to visit adjoining Rainbow Falls State Park in Dryad, which has horse camping sites so you can rest along your journey.
Pass behind one of Lewis County’s tallest waterfalls, hear the rushing of several streams and experience the cool breeze among the trees along Goat Creek, which winds and twists through a section of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument near Randle.
Most people stop at the waterfall, but the ride out to Vanson Lake or even just a couple miles beyond the waterfall is truly relaxing as you’re not bound to encounter much trail traffic, if any.
This is a great ride on a summer day, and is not too far from Morton, Randle and the amenities they have to offer.
Keenes is a well-known area in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest that sits very close to several alpine lakes and Mount Adams itself. From Keenes Horse Camp, the possibility of visiting a variety of trails of varying elevations exists.
Keenes Horse Camp is pretty centrally located to several beautiful areas such as Hamilton Peak, the High Lakes Trail, Horseshoe Lake and many more.
Know before you go, though, that some roads may be inaccessible due to storm damage or damage from previous roads. Cost is $14 to camp here; for more information, follow the link below. Alternatively, you can camp at the nearby Adams Fork Campground.
One of the most pristine and popular spots in Lewis County for horseback riding is Lewis and Clark State Park, situated in one of the oldest stands of old-growth timber in western Washington. With more than eight miles of trails open to horseback riding including a trail dedicated exclusively to equestrian use, it’s no wonder this park just east of Napavine brings dozens of riders to enjoy its expanses.
Several horse campsites are also available! And here’s a neat tidbit: part of the horseback trail is believed to follow the old alignment of the Pacific Highway through the park — the same highway that connected cities all up and down the West Coast before I-5 was built.
Please note that some portions of the equestrian area may be closed. It's best to check the park's website or call the office for current conditions before you go.