Among the 100 miles of trails in Humboldt Redwoods State Park are some of the most spectacular riding trails in the California. Although no stables or guided trail rides are available in the park, Cuneo Creek Group Horse Camp offers a beautiful, friendly, and well-equipped campground for individuals, families, and groups with their own horses.
Campsites equipped with facilities for both people and horses spread out across a sloping meadow among majestic oaks and scattered groups of fruit trees - apples, pears, and plums - remnants of an orchard planted by one of the area’s pioneer families.
Two group camps, one with 12 corrals and one with 22 corrals, and five family campsites with two corrals each are equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, and bear boxes at each site, as well as treated water, flush toilets, and coin operated showers nearby. For horses, each site has 12’ x 12’ metal pipe corrals, tie rails, and water troughs. Horses can also enjoy the sand-rolling pit after the day’s ride.
Wheelbarrows are available for cleaning the corrals, but campers need to bring their own horse care equipment, including cleaning tools.
Two trails, the Homestead Trail and the Indian Orchard Trail, can be accessed directly from the campground, and connect with other trails for a longer ride. Several other access points, where trailers can be parked for the day, can be found along the Mattole Road, which goes west through the Rockefeller Forest just north of Founders Grove. Non-campers are welcome to bring their horses for the day.
These trails are for intermediate and advanced riders with horses accustomed to sharing trails with hikers and wildlife. Some of the trails are challenging enough that both local and visiting endurance riders come here to train for competition.
Names and phone numbers of local farriers and an equine veterinarian are posted at the campground. A camp host is usually on hand to answer questions.
Lolahnkok Indians once spent summers hunting in the hills around what is now Cuneo Creek Horse Camp before moving to their winter villages in time for the fall salmon runs. A Lolahnkok couple, George and Sadie Burt, settled near the future campground in 1920.
In 1872 the first white settlers in the area, Tosaldo and Addie Johnson, established a homestead just a few miles away on the site of today’s Albee Creek Campground, a popular base camp for backcountry hikers and visitors who want to be away from the main roads.
Artemus Howard Lewis purchased the land comprising today’s Cuneo Creek Horse Camp in 1890 for $1,200. The Lewis family planted extensive fruit orchards and raised cattle, sheep, goats, hogs, and turkeys. Much of the orchard was washed away during the catastrophic floods of 1955 and 1964. For today’s summer visitor, looking across wide gravel bars to the sparkling ribbon of Cuneo Creek, it’s hard to imagine the devastation. Although descendents of these pioneers are still prominent members of the local community, the family deeded the Cuneo Creek ranch to the state Department of Parks and Beaches (the precursor of today’s Department of Parks and Recreation) in 1963.
Rates for the group campsites are $200 per night for the larger site and $135 per night for the smaller one. Family campsites are $35 per night.
All campsites must be reserved in advance through ReserveAmerica, either online at www.reserveamerica.com or by phone toll-free at 1-800-444-7275.
REDWOOD TIMES PHOTO BY VIRGINIA GRAZIANI
Cuneo Creek Group Horse Camp provides group and family campsites with horse corrals and access to equestrian trails among the orchards and oak groves of a former pioneer homestead in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.