Horse Rock Ridge Research Natural Area is a 3.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sweet Home, Oregon that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
3.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,079 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

cave

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

muddy

hiking
7 days ago

Just went on 10/13/18. The trail and views were absolutely beautiful. The area is isolated, we did not meet anyone on the trail or road despite it being the weekend. However, my hiking partner and I had to turn back halfway through the hike after hearing a growl. Uncertain what the animal was, but it was loud and close enough we didn't feel safe. Be cautious!

I can confirm that the directions for parking and getting to the hike in the comments below are accurate.

hiking
17 days ago

Peaceful hike with nice views (had trail to myself) that starts in the woods and then is exposed the rest of the way so bring sun protection for your pretty faces ☺️. A tad chilly this afternoon along the ridge. From Shot Gun Recreation Area it’s a narrow paved road (go slow when you can’t see around bends as the road isn’t wide enough for two-way traffic). When you get to the dirt road for the trail (there’s no sign/markings, you just have to go by GPS—btw no cell service for the most part, so load your map before heading out), park immediately off the paved road in the little “lot” —no signs except ones on trees about not shooting—and then walk up the short dirt road to the rock pile. Climb over the small rock pile and then through the chain fence and off you go! The forest section has a lot of small logs that are easy to step over (the trail is wide and well-kept, these are there I’m guessing to keep off road vehicles from using it). I agree with others to bring your hiking poles if you got ‘em. There are parts of the ridge that are steep and sections of slippery gravel. The rock cave is close to the end of the trail. I went past it into a very short narrow forest trail that brings you to a radio tower.

1 month ago

very local nice short hike. It was smoky the day we went, and is like to go in spring for flowers

1 month ago

Hard to find trailhead. Were the only ones on the trail. Views from the top are worth it!

1 month ago

Spectacular views!
Great work out
Hard to find, but worth it

1 month ago

loved this hike!

hiking
2 months ago

I hiked this yesterday, it was a lovely. Coming from the Eugene area, it was a nice getaway, but not something I would drive very far for. The climate this time of year is very dry. Most of the grass and moss at the top of the hill in the clearing was seemingly dead, and the dirt was very dusty. For this reason I suggest wearing good grip shoes and bring a hiking stick if that is available to you.

I recommend using TJ Banker’s directions as they were very clear and accurate - thanks for sharing!
Also just to clarify - when you reach the end of Marcola Rd. where the road forks, near the Shotgun creek map, take the paved road to the right rather than following the road immediately upward.

Happy trails!

2 months ago

Maybe this was just me, but I had a hard time finding this trailhead. It’s unmarked and beyond a little rock wall and through a fence. The trail through the rocks was kind of hard to notice and from the parking lot, it doesn’t look like there’s an opening in the fence. But you do go up the wall and through the fence, and you first get some nice forest views and then you get to the ridge and get an awesome view of the valley.

2 months ago

I had never hiked this trail before, definitely more challenging than expected. Many small trees on the trail in the first wooded area. The trail is steep in some sections but overall I really enjoyed the hike. Beautiful day and the views where spectacular. I would definitely hike the trail again maybe when the weather is cooler.

nature trips
3 months ago

Scenic, great views, but watch out for the poison oak near the cave. We took the dogs and they thoroughly enjoyed it as well

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing hike! We started early so it was still a bit cloudy at the top, but we still saw so much beauty. FYI- when the trail looks like it is going to go near the power station and the signage says "No Trespassing", just keep going. You pass on the side. We did a bit of forest walking before we figured this out. lol

3 months ago

This was an amazing trail and my 9 and 11yr olds did outstanding (better than I)
There is poison ivy right on the trail about half way along the hike, right about the cave. The wildflowers are starting out and it was a busy day full of people but none the less... beautiful!

hiking
4 months ago

brilliant! good trail, couple steep spots, amazing views, flowers trees birds beautiful!

4 months ago

Amazing views... SO many flowers! and definitely a workout. If you go to the "end" and back (to the radio tower) its 4 miles in and out. The road up to the hike (from the Sweet Home side) is a one lane twisty road for about 4 miles... coming up that road was the scary part. If you run into traffic going the other way, it feels like there's not sufficient room for cars to pass each other most of the way... hope I never have to find out. Very worth the drive here. Loved it!

4 months ago

Nice Hike, Make Sure You Check The weather Before you Go ..today it Was cloudy, so I Wasn't Able To See The View..

4 months ago

Awesome views!!!! Trail was very steep in places but it was a good hike with a variety of scenery. I would have liked to see more wildflowers but maybe later in the summer there will be more.

hiking
4 months ago

Fabulous. I loved this hike. Tons of wildflowers and fabulous views. There were a few tough spots as once you get to the meadow there are a number of ups and downs, and they are steep. I had to get on my butt to get down on a couple. However, it was worth the effort. I did keep my dog on a lead as there are cliffs, very steep down overs, and some poison oak around. I thank the reviewer who gave very good directions to finding the trail. I don't think I would have found it without the specifics. Thank you TJ Banker. I will come back.

4 months ago

I have hiked this trail a few times, definitely gets busier on the weekends. Great views and plenty of resting/ viewing spots for older kids. I hiked this trail with two 10 year olds with no problem. Great views!

hiking
4 months ago

Amazing views! We were the only ones there midweek. Wild flowers are blooming.
I think the hike is easy to moderate in the first half. The first half I would definitely say is family friendly. After that it becomes moderate to difficult. Some areas are steep and I had to bear crawl.

4 months ago

Felt like being on the set of The Sound of Music!

5 months ago

This is one of my favorite hikes!

hiking
5 months ago

Just finished minutes ago and it is a great hike with awesome views of at least 5 peaks in the cascades.
It is true that it is unmarked and harder to find the trailhead, but in William Sullivan's book he gives the easiest directions.
Set trip odometer to 0 at the parking lot for shotgun creek park and continue up the paved road for 5.7 miles. Stick to all "paved" forks to the right. you will pass a rock stockpile on your left around the 4mi. mark. Continue, on the "paved" road till just between 5.7 and 5.8 on your odometer. LOOK LEFT... you will see a gravel spur road, take it left and park in one of the 4 spaces avail. Hike the spur road to a rock pile and head through the chain link gate. You're there man.
Lots of log hopping on the trail to deter OHV use. Great uphill grade until after the meadow, then there are some steep ups and downs. The last is pretty steep, glad I had my trekking poles.
At the top expect views of Jefferson, sisters and diamond on a clear day. Enjoy lunch in a shady outcropping and the birds and wildlife around you. Good hike altogether, maybe not the best for kids.

hiking
5 months ago

The best place I have hiked in Oregon yet! Had an amazing day with the wife and pup, beautiful views and amazing wildflower species diversity!

5 months ago

The area is pretty but we never found the trailhead. Ended up just parking the car and wandering off a dirt road. Not very well marked. We ran into someone else who was also lost trying to find it. If someone could post better directions it would be great.

hiking
5 months ago

Epic views! When you near the radio tower, unless you’re an atv, ignore the sign and proceed to continue the hike onto a logging road for a while and to see the other side of the ridge including I-5, Mary’s Peak, and the coastal range.

hiking
5 months ago

this place is breathtaking. so worth the drive out to it. The hike was pretty moderate, some uphill incline and the path is beaten up in some spots and deep inclines as well. I had my ACL reconstructed about 5 years ago. still have some issues with it but I was able to do this trail.

5 months ago

The view is breathtaking! ❤️❤️❤️

hiking
5 months ago

Gorgeous hike if you get a sunny day. The trail head isn't clearly marked, but the directions do take you straight there. Just head through the fence and you'll eventually get to the ridge. If it rained at all the trail will get super muddy, and it's steep in some places to be prepared to get a little dirty.

6 months ago

Nice easy trail but with some hills. We encountered a little snow and some mud but the views are very nice.

hiking
6 months ago

This hike was absolutely amazing. Views were breathtaking. Hike was definitely moderate, pretty steep at times. Lots of cliffs. Even a small cave. Bit of snow on the ground still. Definitely wear hiking boots, very muddy. Couldn’t ask for a better hike so close to town, felt like I was in a different world.

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