Reason 1: The Dunes are Amazing
You’ll find Wild Mare Campground at the southern end of the spectacular Oregon Dunes Recreation Area, about eight miles north of Coos Bay. The Oregon Dunes are the most extensive coastal dunes in North America, and you can explore miles of trails through the dunes year-round.
The Oregon Dunes are a designated off-highway vehicle playground, but you are free to ride the motorized area if you like. If you want to explore this part of the dunes, we’d suggest doing it on a weekday when OHV traffic is lighter.
Reason 2: You Can Ride the Beach Almost Forever
The beach at Wild Mare runs north 15 miles to the mouth of the Umpqua River, or south nearly 7 miles to Coos Bay (the bay, not the city). The beach is wide and sandy — perfect for a leisurely stroll or a long gallop. And since this area isn’t adjacent to a town, you’ll encounter few people as you ride.
Reason 3: The North Spit Has a Delightful Trail Network
A couple of miles south of the horse camp, the North Spit boasts 17 miles of trails through the dunes, along the beach, and beside Coos Bay. You can ride to the North Spit from Wild Mare Campground, or trailer a short distance on Trans Pacific Lane to reach it.
Reason 4: Best-Named Horse Camp
Wild Mare Campground really was named for a wild mare. She roamed free in the nearby dunes from 1957 to 1984. How picturesque is that?
Reason 5: OHVs are Nearby, But Separate
The Oregon Dunes are hugely popular as with off-highway vehicle drivers, but the horse trails are entirely separate from the OHV area. So while you will occasionally hear the dune buggies racing up and down the dunes, you won’t encounter them on the trail.
Reason 6: Very Nice Camping Facilities
Wild Mare Campground is well-appointed, with all the horse camping amenities you could ask for. Mosquitoes can be plentiful early in the season, but in summer and fall, Wild Mare is a delight. The camp also has a large day-use parking area.
To learn more about Wild Mare Campground, pick up Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, available at www.NWHorseTrails.com.
Kim McCarrel has been an avid trail rider for more years than she likes to admit, and has ridden the horse trails all over Oregon and SW Washington. Her books are must-haves for Pacific Northwest trail riders. They include “Riding Central Oregon Horse Trails,” “Riding Northwest Oregon Horse Trails,” “Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails,” “Riding Southwest Washington Horse Trails,” and “Riding the Metolius-Windigo Trail.”