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  1. #1
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    Feb. 25, 2011
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    Default Southern California Trails

    I am interested in riding in three different areas, but would like to know more about them:

    1) Harford Springs Park in Riverside County,
    2) Perris Lake Park in Riverside County,
    3) Pioneer Town area near Joshua Tree, especially trails that head west toward Big Bear.

    Does anyone have any input? I am especially interested in knowing how pleasant/fun the area is for riding, what the level of vehicle interaction is (including off-road vehicles), what the level of politeness/consideration is when encountering others, and the level of difficulty of trails. I am looking for a fun, easy ride without cliffs, steep trails, or sudden encounters with vehicles.



  2. #2
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    Feb. 25, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteyPie View Post
    I am interested in riding in three different areas, but would like to know more about them:

    1) Harford Springs Park in Riverside County,
    2) Perris Lake Park in Riverside County,
    3) Pioneer Town area near Joshua Tree, especially trails that head west toward Big Bear.

    Does anyone have any input? I am especially interested in knowing how pleasant/fun the area is for riding, what the level of vehicle interaction is (including off-road vehicles), what the level of politeness/consideration is when encountering others, and the level of difficulty of trails. I am looking for a fun, easy ride without cliffs, steep trails, or sudden encounters with vehicles.

    These are three I am intrigued with, but I would be interested to hear of other parks as well.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 27, 2008
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    East Jesus No-Where
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    Default

    If you are looking for easy, Pioneer town does have some easier trails, HOWEVER if you are not quite sure where you are going you can end up out longer than intended and in rougher areas that you intend to get in to. Generally once you are out on the trails there is little life other than others on horse back. I rarely see ATVs etc. HOWEVER when you get there be ready for many motercycles if you are riding on the weekend. The resturant there Pappy and Harriets is a big draw for bikers as it is a lovely ride to get to and has AWESOME food. Horses do get preference in Pi-town however and it has a super cool history!

    I don't know about the other two, but another GREAT one is IN Joshua Tree national park(I live right there, love it). And when you ride there you don't have to worry about anything other than wildlife and hikers as vehicles are only allowed off road on certain trail/dirt roads. The only traffic you encounter is if you need to cross the actual road through the park. Ryan Campground is a Horse camp ground so you can over night there if you want. However it is pellet/cubes only, no loose hay allowed.

    Hope this helps
    “Four things greater than all things are, - Women and Horses and Power and War”



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by wingedmare View Post
    I don't know about the other two, but another GREAT one is IN Joshua Tree national park(I live right there, love it). And when you ride there you don't have to worry about anything other than wildlife and hikers as vehicles are only allowed off road on certain trail/dirt roads. The only traffic you encounter is if you need to cross the actual road through the park. Ryan Campground is a Horse camp ground so you can over night there if you want. However it is pellet/cubes only, no loose hay allowed.

    Hope this helps
    This DOES help. A question: I thought Joshua Tree National Park was very restricted for horses. Is it only restrictive in the area of bringing in feed? If there are lots of places off limits to horses, are they clearly marked?



  5. #5
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    May. 27, 2008
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    Default

    [URL="http://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/horseback-riding.htm"]http://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/horseback-riding.htm[/URL
    This will help you

    I have ridden all over the park, my girlfriend lives in Joshua tree near the boarder of the park and rides all through from there, I have not had the pleasure of staging from her place yet though. I run in to few restricted areas. They are very accommodating to riders I love riding up there. Especially in the summer as it is about 15 to 30 degrees cooler up in the park than down in the basin. My dream is to have the time and equipment to pack in from my place (about 3 miles from the 29 palms entrance) and ride all the way through over a weekend to yucca valley.
    “Four things greater than all things are, - Women and Horses and Power and War”



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 19, 2010
    Location
    Southern California
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    Default

    I've gone on ETI's "Jim Hester Ride" at Pioneertown a couple of times:

    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1070300
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1070305
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=590610
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=590612

    Perris Lake was boring but maybe there are other more, interesting trails than the one I rode.

    Lots of nice riding from Heart Bar in Big Bear too. I recorded one of my rides there:
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=255907



  7. #7
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    May. 27, 2008
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    Horsinground, I haven't had the pleasure of Heart Bar yet! Lots of people I ride with have gone and love it. It is on my list of "Places to ride if I can get someone to feed for me for the weekend"
    “Four things greater than all things are, - Women and Horses and Power and War”



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 19, 2010
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    Southern California
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    There is lots of riding from Heart Bar--the Pacific Crest Trail and the California Riding and Hiking Trails both are parts of nice day ride loops.

    My friends and I have always camped at Coon Creek Jump Off because it's free, requires no reservations and I've never seen anyone else there the three or four times I've camped there. Sometimes (like this dry year) there is no water in the creek and one must haul enough water for the weekend. The campground, which is a mile away, has corrals, water and restrooms, if you need that sort of thing, but it's not free and reservations are a must, I think.

    Lots of riding clubs put on rides from Heart Bar all year 'round, just about, so it wouldn't be hard to find a group to meet up with to get to know the trails.



  9. #9
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    Feb. 25, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by HorsingRound View Post
    There is lots of riding from Heart Bar--the Pacific Crest Trail and the California Riding and Hiking Trails both are parts of nice day ride loops.

    My friends and I have always camped at Coon Creek Jump Off because it's free, requires no reservations and I've never seen anyone else there the three or four times I've camped there. Sometimes (like this dry year) there is no water in the creek and one must haul enough water for the weekend. The campground, which is a mile away, has corrals, water and restrooms, if you need that sort of thing, but it's not free and reservations are a must, I think.

    Lots of riding clubs put on rides from Heart Bar all year 'round, just about, so it wouldn't be hard to find a group to meet up with to get to know the trails.
    What fun! And I loved the website you used with your photos. I've never seen that before.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 2, 2002
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    I have not personally ridden at the three trails that you mentioned. My trail riding buddies rode at Pioneer town and absolutely loved it. They did mention that they got lost and had to GPS their way back to civilization. So that could be a problem.

    Just recently we trailered out and rode Wildwood Canyon in Yuciapa. It was a fun easy day. Low level of difficulty for the horses. There is some hills but the footing is good. The trailer parking/staging area is wonderful. At the mid point of the ride there is an abandoned barn that is maintained by the forest service. There is a porta potty there and a water trough. Otherwise there is no other water for horses on the trail. This is a good day ride for all levels of rider.

    We have also ridden in Casper Wilderness park in San Juan Capistrano. This is also a very nice ride. You can pretty much do it in a day. The difficulty level is mild. The footing is good and there is water on the trail except in late July August. The staging area is nice with plenty of space and turn around for trailers.

    McCall Park is another really nice day ride. It is in Idyllwild. You can camp over night and reserve corrals. This is a more difficult ride as you are in the mountains and there are some steep and narrow climbs with rocks that you might need to maneuver around. The staging area is nice with plenty of water and a small parking fee. There is also a bathroom.

    Have fun! We love trailering out and riding. There are lots of places to ride around here.

    Amy



  11. #11
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    Feb. 25, 2011
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    So California
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amymcree View Post
    I have not personally ridden at the three trails that you mentioned. My trail riding buddies rode at Pioneer town and absolutely loved it. They did mention that they got lost and had to GPS their way back to civilization. So that could be a problem.

    Just recently we trailered out and rode Wildwood Canyon in Yuciapa. It was a fun easy day. Low level of difficulty for the horses. There is some hills but the footing is good. The trailer parking/staging area is wonderful. At the mid point of the ride there is an abandoned barn that is maintained by the forest service. There is a porta potty there and a water trough. Otherwise there is no other water for horses on the trail. This is a good day ride for all levels of rider.

    We have also ridden in Casper Wilderness park in San Juan Capistrano. This is also a very nice ride. You can pretty much do it in a day. The difficulty level is mild. The footing is good and there is water on the trail except in late July August. The staging area is nice with plenty of space and turn around for trailers.

    McCall Park is another really nice day ride. It is in Idyllwild. You can camp over night and reserve corrals. This is a more difficult ride as you are in the mountains and there are some steep and narrow climbs with rocks that you might need to maneuver around. The staging area is nice with plenty of water and a small parking fee. There is also a bathroom.

    Have fun! We love trailering out and riding. There are lots of places to ride around here.

    Amy
    Thanks, Amy. I have driven up to the Caspar Regional Park trailhead/parking lot and found it very nice, with nice pipe corrals and facilities. But for some reason, I have this creepy feeling there about mountain lions! Logically, it doesn't make sense -- mountain lions wouldn't favor that trail over others, and I don't think a mountain lion would mess with a horse and rider, much less several horses with riders, but it's nice to know what a good place it is for riding.



  12. #12
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    Dec. 2, 2002
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    It is a little unsettling when you read all the mountain lion warnings. Although I don't believe they would mess with a group of riders.

    Another fun place we have gone is Anzo Borrego at the Vern Whittacker camp sites. The camping is rustic but the bathrooms are new with showers. They have pipe corrals for the horses. The trails are lovely and there are water features. This area is closed May to October I believe because of the heat. We went in Feb. and had a blast. They do have boyscouts that camp out there but they are not a problem. There are off road vehicles but they were not dangerous or intrusive on our ride. They are very restrictive on their use. They do have a website that is very informative.

    Amy



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 19, 2010
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    Southern California
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    I love riding at Anza! Now is not the time to go there though as the temperatures are probably in the 100s now. Best time to go is from November through April, and when it's not raining (which it rarely does there). Be prepared for wind. I've done nice overnight rides up Coyote Canyon, staying at night at Bailey's Cabin. There's water in the creek nearby for horses. Twelve miles each way.

    If you want to let someone else do the planning, site reservations and trail scoping, then you could meet up with a group. ETI has a few "corrals" and members in OC. Check out their online magazine; the ride calendar starts on page 11:

    http://www.etinational.org/ETI%20Mag...May%202012.pdf

    You don't have to be a member of ETI to go on their rides, although non-members pay $5 on top of any other fees, and sometimes if it's a popular place, the spots are reserved for members first.



  14. #14
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    Feb. 25, 2011
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    So California
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    Quote Originally Posted by HorsingRound View Post
    I love riding at Anza! Now is not the time to go there though as the temperatures are probably in the 100s now. Best time to go is from November through April, and when it's not raining (which it rarely does there). Be prepared for wind. I've done nice overnight rides up Coyote Canyon, staying at night at Bailey's Cabin. There's water in the creek nearby for horses. Twelve miles each way.

    If you want to let someone else do the planning, site reservations and trail scoping, then you could meet up with a group. ETI has a few "corrals" and members in OC. Check out their online magazine; the ride calendar starts on page 11:

    http://www.etinational.org/ETI%20Mag...May%202012.pdf

    You don't have to be a member of ETI to go on their rides, although non-members pay $5 on top of any other fees, and sometimes if it's a popular place, the spots are reserved for members first.
    Thanks so much. I checked out their newsletter and saw lots of events... looks very well-organized and just the thing for someone like me who, as you can tell, is new at the trail riding thing. I like the idea of the groups as I am a timid self-starter. It takes me a while to plan and think, and think and plan and put off, before doing something new. It is so much more fun to go with someone who has done it already, whether it is horseback riding, camping at a new place with the family, or even eating at a new (to me) ethic restaurant!

    As for the trail rides, I was intrigued by the Death Valley ride they (ETI) do in November. I checked the weather history, which looked nice in 2011, but the 2010 report showed 106 degrees F. Do they cancel in those conditions, or do the hardy souls just soldier on?



  15. #15
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    Feb. 25, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteyPie View Post
    ...or even eating at a new (to me) ethic restaurant!
    I meant ethnic restaurant. But I would also want to go with a friend to a new ethical restaurant... I would have no idea what to expect



  16. #16
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    Dec. 11, 2005
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    Southern California - Hemet
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    I rode Wildwood Canyon in Yucaipa two days back to back when I was trying out my mare before buying her. Little did her owner know that at that time I had no trail riding experience whatsoever, LOL. Needless to say, my mare took excellent care of me, such excellent care that she came home with me a few days later. I really enjoyed those trails; they were a fun ride, though a little daunting to me at the time I did them!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2010
    Location
    Socal
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    Default Hartford park-

    I actually ride there once or twice a week. It's very mellow, lots of different trails and ways to go. No water crossings unless after a rain. There is a small general store there to park your trailer at and ride out from. There are no off road vehicles allowed there and in the 6 years that we have been riding there have never encountered one. There are no cliffs there. A few steep hills if you should choose to climb them but there are so many trails to take that you don't have to climb them. Scenery is great it's nice to feel like you are " in the country" lol. It's huge too I believe 300 acres. We rarely encounter other riders but probably because we ride late afternoon early evening. You should check it out I'm sure you would enjoy it! We could even meet you there and give you a tour we only live 10 min from there. Pm me if you have any other questions
    -----The sun never sets on the cool....



  18. #18
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    Aug. 19, 2010
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    Southern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteyPie View Post
    I checked out their newsletter and saw lots of events... looks very well-organized and just the thing for someone like me ... I like the idea of the groups as I am a timid self-starter. It takes me a while to plan and think, and think and plan and put off, before doing something new. It is so much more fun to go with someone who has done it already, whether it is horseback riding, camping at a new place with the family,

    As for the trail rides, I was intrigued by the Death Valley ride they (ETI) do in November. I checked the weather history, which looked nice in 2011, but the 2010 report showed 106 degrees F. Do they cancel in those conditions, or do the hardy souls just soldier on?
    It is nice to have someone else do all the planning and just load up your horse and your stuff and go.

    Usually the people leading the ETI rides, especially on the camping trips, really know the trails. They take you places you'd never find on your own...and may not be able to find again on your own. Which is why I like GPSing the trail as I go so that I can find the same route again on my own if I go back. Sometimes they arrange rides on private property that you'd not have access to on your own too.

    The Death Valley Ride is not canceled due to weather--people soldier it out. It is not a ride for wimps, and one's horse needs to be in top condition too. There is one day that is over 30 miles--in the saddle before the sun is up, ride until after sunset. The riders are followed by a support crew, including a truck and trailer to bring out any horses that shouldn't go on. Due to the harsh conditions, lots of partying goes on once in camp. (Probably not a good ride to take a kid along.)

    Hope you are able to meet up with the ETI folks some time. I've been a member since 1994 and met lots of nice people, gone on lots of great rides, and made lifetime friends.



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