This trail starts from behind the rental cabin at the Willow Prairie Horse Campground. When the campground is open, you should park at the day use overflow parking a short ways to the south. When the campground is closed (mid-October to late May) you can park at the entrance or along the road.
Need to Know
Willow Prairie is a horse camp and these trails are primarily intended for use by horse riders. They're open to hikers but proper trail etiquette is essential - yield to the horses. Doing so is particularly important on the narrow, singletrack sections of trail. For hikers, the best time to visit is in October, when the Fall colors are good and the campground closed, thus making contact with horse riders much less likely. Campers without horses should not camp here but the rental cabin is available anyone.
This lollipop loop follows single- and doubletrack (old logging) trails out-and-back from the campground. There is little climbing (only 600 feet (183 m)) and almost no views, so you'll find yourself simply enjoying a refreshing walk in the woods. There is just enough signage along the trail to keep you on track but the numbers on the trail signs are keyed to the numbered points on a local map - available at the campground when its open and posted on the kiosk year-round. It would be good to look at this map before starting out, as there are other official and unofficial trails and old roads you'll come across.
From the rental cabin, the #1091D the goes north for about a mile to Point 2, where it swings out to the west and the #1091C goes north. If you get confused here, just continue north on the #1091C and you'll rejoin the #1091D at Point #4, 1.3 mi from the trailhead.
The #1091D will take you north past Points 5 and 6, the end points of the Bear Pan Springs Loop #1091E. At Point 6, the #1091E goes northeast and then curves down into the East Branch of Willow Creek. Along here is one of your few opportunities to get a view of Mount McLoughlin.
Past the creek and across an old road, the #1091D continues on as an old road to Point #7 and the start of the lollipop loop. Stay on the old road as it continues to the right (north - you're now doing the loop counter-clockwise), becomes a singletrack, and then rejoins an old road before passing Porcupine Spring. A little more walking on old road past the spring will bring you to where the #1091D turns south and begins climbing as a mix of singletrack and old doubletrack. In time, you return to Point #7 and, from there, retrace your steps back to the campground.
Shared By: Bruce Hope