Planning for Tryon Creek, McIver, and the parks in between

Hi. We’re here to share information and hear your comments about a new Big Picture plan for Tryon Creek State Natural Area, Milo McIver State Park and several other properties in the Portland area.We have some things for you to look at now — mostly maps and background — but much more will be coming in the next few months. Subscribe to the blog to get regular updates.

Yes, this is an official blog with a pipeline straight back to the planners in charge of coordinating this group effort. Comments you make here will be entered into the public record for this project.

This isn’t just an Oregon Parks and Recreation Department effort. We have stakeholders on our planning team, representing neighbors, natural resource groups, recreation supporters and our partner governments.

In addition to listening to you here, we’ll be holding several public meetings (first just to present park background information and to listen, and later on to discuss drafts of the plan). Be sure to check out the calendar as it develops.



44 thoughts on “Planning for Tryon Creek, McIver, and the parks in between

  1. I belong to two horse clubs and agree; a horse camp at McIver would be great, especially for those equestrians who must travel long distances to get to the park. McIver enjoys the support of OET work parties and that help will continue. Thanks for your inclusion of horse riders everywhere. We appreciate the park’s openness and wonderful riding availability. Melody C. Fifield

  2. We’d love to see a horse camp at McIver. I live in Central Oregon but during the hot dusty months it would be wonderful to have a greener damper place to bring our horses. I belong to OET and other riding clubs and know that OET will be there to build and maintain the camp and trails. I know funds are tight but this would be a great new recreational facility.

    • Julie is so right on. People on the East side of the Cascades would really love the greenery at McIver, and having a horse camp would allow them to experience this park. Thanks Julie!

  3. As a member of Oregon Equestrian Trails and Valley View Riders, I have riden my horse and worked on the trails in McIver and Tryon Park for over 20 years. I cannot say enough about these parks putting me “in the wild ” and within an hour of driving from our home in Beavercreek. We can be very thankful to both park management staffs for maintaining the nature while welcoming hikers, bikers and horse riders. Thank you.
    I feel and know that an equestrian horse camp at McIver would be a welcome addition! OET is dedicated to working with planning, building, and maintaining horse camps. You know we can do it because we have worked with McIver for many years. Back when I was a 4 H Equestrian leader we wished for an overnight stay there to train our members in healthy and appropriate ways to camp with horses. These children grow to be the workers, recreationists and appreciative adults of tomorrow. Now as an older person, having a horse camp so close to home would be a dream come true!

  4. I would be very much in favor of a horse camp at McIver and also would very much prefer to continue to have horse trails at McIver and Tryon. They have been a place I have ridden my horses since 1990. Thank you very much for having such a great facility and as the previous reply state, Oregon Equestrian Trails (OET) is adept at building stalls and campsights. They could be a great resource for you.

  5. Horse Camp at McIver!!!!???? That would be so awesome, especially if it were to include power and water like Stub Stewart!! Don’t think sewer is all that necessary.

  6. I’d love to see a horse camp at McIver. This would provide a close-in camping opportunity for equestrians. I noticed that over Labor Day weekend, the people camp at McIver was full – in times of high gas prices, it sure it nice to not have to travel too far to enjoy nature whether you hike or ride your horse. I’d also like to see a connector trail to the Cazadero trail included in planning. This would give additional riding opportunities outside of the park and enhance the value of McIver regionally by tying it in to other recreational opportunities. In terms of Tryon Creek park – there sure appears to be a need for more parking for all users – hikers, bikers, equestrians, joggers, etc. – especially during heavy use periods such as trillium season. Thanks, as ever, for your consideration. Oregon State Parks are the greatest!

  7. A horse camp at McIver would be great! As an OET member I would be happy to attend any and all work parties related to building and maintaining the new horse camp. Parking improvements for horse trailers at Tryon Creek would be a welcome addition as well.
    Thank you for your consideration! Debbi

  8. McIver Park is a popular park for equestrians. It would be a wonderful spot for a horse camp and generate even more support for this beautiful park.

  9. Yes to a Horse Camp at McIver! We have been wanting this for sometime. I think we have proven we take care of the trails now and respect all others in the park. We need to continue to create an enviroment for Horse riding to keep history alive. We also need a horse camp place like McIver that is close and we can take the younger generation of kids without extended travels. Happy to hear McIver is on the agenda!

  10. We would LOVE a horse camp at McIver! And I guarantee we are two gals that would use
    it regularly. We ride there now and have always dreamed of a horse camp there. Would
    also help maintain any and all things needed to do so. Also belong to OET. Live 15+ miles
    away but love to get away and the safety of it. Thanks for your consideration of a horse
    camp at McIver !!!! 🙂

  11. I live locally and use McIver frequently. It is an awesome park and OET has done so much for it’s improvement and maintenance. I think a horse camp would be wonderful as I’d travel just a few miles to camp with friends. Hope to see a trail system opened over to the Vortex side and some great trails over there which would give a couple days of riding for campers. Also looking forward to eventually being hooked up to the Cazedero trail and a link to Barton Park where hopefully there will be another horse camp in the future.
    Nancy Haring

    • I agree we need the horse trails at Tryon Creek. It is nice to have an urban area to take your horse to and ride. More parking would be great.

  12. Please keep the horse trails at Tryon Creek! They are essential for those of us with horses in SW Portland. To lose them would be a shame and exclude many good people from using the park. We have tons of dog parks please do not close horse areas. Thank you

  13. In general, I have concerns about supporting the construction of new horse camps because it is difficult to find enough volunteers to help build, maintain and support existing horse camps. But I make an exception with Milo McIver. The trails are so nice there-a small horse camp at Milo McIver would be wonderful.

    • I agree, Joyce. McIver would not be a camp that would get forgotten and neglected. It could serve as a training ground for local volunteers and as a safe place for people new to horse camping to try it out without having to be “off the grid.”

  14. McIver is one of the most used parks in the area I believe adding a horse camp would be well used. The whole area would benefit from it and OET in this area has been one of the most supportive chapters in Oregon. There is also lots of room for this type of addition. Thank you so much Susan Hall

  15. I have been a regular user of Mc Iver park for years. Just last Sat,9-3-11,my daughter and I attended the Poker ride/obstacle course event hosted by OET… had a wonderful time.We discussed how very odd it was that the park had such nice trails for equestrians but the camping is not available for us.Sad when you consider how popular the park is by local equestrians.The very fact that it IS local is what makes it such a great place for a camp ground.I have family and friends that would love to get together for an equestrian camp out but most campgrounds for horses are a good distance away .With the expense of fuel being what it is having a local place to camp would be fantastic!

  16. Milo McIver may be the most popular trail riding park in Oregon. I’ve never been there when there weren’t 6 to 12 or more trailers parked in the beautiful big parking area (with space enough for twice that many). The trails are extremely well maintained, in large part by OET members, and the beauty plus diversity in terrain brings equestrians from far & wide, even out of state. I think a horse camp there would be wonderful and popular to all of us.
    I have also ridden at Tryon Creek and the trails are as solid as the best I’ve ridden anywhere. With it’s hilly terrain and luxurious shade, Tryon would be excellent for conditioning a horse any time of year. The parking area is the only drawback, as it cannot handle many rigs, although very easy to get in & out of. Expansion of this lot would surely attract many more riders to go there on a more regular basis.

  17. I live near Silverton and I would definitely camp at McIver if a horse camp were built. I know several of my friends would as well. I would also support any improvements at Tryon.

  18. I would love it if they had a horse camp there. It is a real nice place to ride and would be great to be able to camp there with your horse.

  19. I think we need a horse camp at MCIver, I ride there 3 or more times a week and it is a wonderful park. It would be nice to have a camp there for those that do not live close.

  20. Glad to see it being on the table for McIvar as well as any and all upgrades to the other parks as well. Would love to see some trail expansion if possible, perhaps coordinating with other county parks inthe area (Barton park) or Cassidro trail in Estacada. I don’t ride the Springwater trail much but I’m sure the horse owners in the area would hate to lose the privilage of being a user group. Carl & Cynthia Hemphill OET members

  21. Our family would be very appreciative of having the opportunity of horse camping at McIver and more parking at Tryon Creek. Due to the parking situation at Tryon Creek, riding there is sometimes difficult.. The park is very convenient and would probably be used even more if people weren’t concerned about getting there and finding no parking. McIver State Park obviously has some great locations for a horse camp and would be well used. Water and electricity hookups would be fabulous but we can do without if it means the difference between having camping or not.
    Bill and Sheila Hornocker

  22. We would be thrilled to have horse camping at McIver and more parking at Tryon Creek. We live near Tryon Creek and there are many days the lot is very full. Electricity and water would be a plus at McIver horse camp but if it means the difference between having camping or not, we can do without.

  23. I LOVE riding at McIver park but live so far away, it’s hard to go for a day ride. If there was a horse camp there, I would DEFINITELY use it!!

  24. As a local horse owner, that frequents McIver often, I’d love to see a horse camp there. This would be a great place to camp with friends, without having the long haul.
    I’ve ridden several times at Tyron also and agree that it certainly needs parking improvements.

  25. I agree with everybody that a horse camp at McIver would be great and yes please keep up the trails @ Tryon Park, where else do we have horse trails in the city

  26. Both McIver and Tryon are wonderful places to ride … an hour from home! I love these parks and we are so grateful to all the folks that help keep the trails. A horse camp at McIver would be FANTASTIC! It would be greatly appreciated and well used. The more citified and urbanized we become the more important it is to maintain and expand these parks for equestrian uses.

  27. I’m just finding out about the plans to put a new parking lot near the Iron Mountain trailhead, and I live very near the park and this proposed new parking lot. These blog posts almost all over a year old. What is current? I have seen perhaps three horse trailers heading to the park in 22 years. I have seen one or two horses on the trails in all those years. I think parking for horse trailers must be adequate. I think we need some data from the park about horse trail usage before spending big bucks on new parking. More paving for the park will add to run off and water quality issues for the creek.

    • Amy, I agree that more pavement is not good for any natural area, and any added parking for any users should be gravel. As for seeing only three horse trailers heading to the park and only one or two horses on the trails….I guess this just proves how little impact our user group has on this park, even though we number in the hundreds if not more. Horse people are naturalists and outdoor-oriented. We do not come to Tryon to join up with 25 other riders. We come here to ride in relative solitude and then quietly depart. Horses move almost as quietly as deer and Elk, so although you have only seen “one or two horses” on the trails, there may have been more who blended into the woods an moved quietly through. It’s not unusual for riders to sight wildlife or hikers who never see us.

  28. Please, revisit the discussions for creating a larger parking area for equestrian users in Tryon, many equestrians love this park and riding there, as it is close to home, and a beautiful location, but, making the drive there to find you can’t park, especially on the weekend, is a real letdown. I would love to see Tryon mirror the equestrian access that McIver park has, you will always see trailers at McIver, rain or shine, during the week and on the weekends, users go there, because they know they won’t have a parking issue. For users on the Southwest side of Portland, there is no other option but Tryon for convenience, to expect them to drive to Stub Stewart or McIver to ride, is expecting alot in this economy, in terms of gas mileage and the travel time. Willamette Mission is definitely not a year round option, with the natural flooding that occurs there every year.
    You are right on with getting the horse camp into the plan for McIver, as reasons cited above, proximity to the metro area, will make it a more popular horse camp, and with higher occupancy than even Silver Falls park, which is full almost the entire summer. As a member of Oregon Equestrian Trails and Back Country Horsemen of Oregon, I can assure you, this park will get alot of exposure and mention in our circles, and as always, we are happy to lend a helping hand where work is needed!

  29. I completely echo Melissa Farrier’s comments. Tryon Creek’s biggest problem has become parking, and the equestrian users did NOT create this problem. Proposing to “kick them out of the park” or take their parking area is not at all acceptable. Many riders have been turned away by the poorly planned and regulated equestrian parking. It’s faulty logic to say the park doesn’t get used enough by riders, when many have been turned away or are afraid to attempt to come to Tryon and find no parking It would be relatively easy to slightly expand the equestrian parking by removing the handicapped mounting block, which was built incorrectly and is in poor repair, plus a downed log or two to make the space larger. OET would be happy to do the labor involved, and we can also apply for grants to add gravel to the parking area. We’ve offered our help in the last year and have been turned down. We would love to come do work parties to add gravel, put down road fabric, add water bars, pull ivy, or do whatever needs to be done, so please don’t exclude us from work in the park as well. Alternate parking areas nearby need to be explored as well. Cars are the biggest problem at the park, and perhaps they can find alternate parking more readily than those pulling horse trailers.
    Tryon Creek is unique in that it was FOUNDED and CREATED by equestrian trail riders, and many of the neighbors are also equestrians. The state parks own mission statement says that they must preserve heritage and cultures as well as resources. There is potential for the state of Oregon to be at the forefront of urban eco tourism for people from all over the world who would love to ride through the park on rented horses from stables nearby. Of course, equestrians would tread lightly and limit riding parties to small numbers to leave a minimal impact, and encourage tourists to also visit other state parks nearby. Tourists could also enjoy the lovely retail shops and restaurants in Lake Oswego and stay at local bed-and-breakfasts. Many eco tourists are also interested in working on invasive species removal and might help remove English Ivy, or they might roll up their sleeves and work on the trails.
    Equestrians are not asking for the moon. They are demanding the right to remain in the park they helped to create with adequate parking for the riders who love this park, have shaped it, and will continue to help maintain it.

    • I could not say it any better than you did. I, too, am totally against the possible closer of Tyron Park. It’s a lovely park to ride in. There are not many equestrian trails in the area to accommodate all of the riders who love to ride in this area. I would like to repeat what you said to the planners . . Tyron was founded and created by equestrians.

  30. I echo many of the voices here on this blog. Equestrian access to both McIver and Tryon Creek parks are necessary, appreciated, and would be supported by OET members and other equestrians and clubs. As Stacy Livermore stated in her March 1st post – “Tryon Creek’s biggest problem has become parking, and the equestrian users did NOT create this problem. Proposing to “kick them out of the park” or take their parking area is not at all acceptable.” McIver Park has thrived under the partnership with OET and Tryon Creek could also have a similar relationship. OET has the members, the dedication, and the experience to partner with OP&RD to build and maintain an equestrian trail system that the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department would be proud to offer to all Oregonians and visitors at both Tryon Creek and McIver Parks. Adding a horse camp to McIver would be the crowning jewel for this popular equestrian destination. I no longer live in Portland, but having been a resident for 55 years I know what a draw these two parks have and I would gladly visit from Central Oregon if I could bring my horse and camp. Urban equestrians have to travel hours and miles to reach accessible riding trails – don’t take this riding experience away from any of us, The next park nearest to PDX, Mission, gets too boggy to safely use in most wet winter months and eliminating access to Tryon leaves westside equestrians with a very long drive to outer eastside McIver. Horse and rider have blazed the trails leading to Oregon – to the benefit of every Oregonian and visitor to our state. We know our trails and we can help OP&RD continue on a path of success and cooperation with park users. Let us work together to preserve our heritage, our parks, and our trails.

  31. Equestrian use in Tryon Creek’s is mired in its long history; even historical photos displayed on the premises show this. It seems the only ones wanting to close the park to equestrian use is State park management, no other outside groups have come forward to suggesting this. The question that has not been answered is what is the real reason upper park management is suggesting we close it to equestrians. Currently equestrians have already agreed to restricted use, they are only allowed on some trails, not all like other groups and in the small parking lot.
    Over the years the trail bed on the equestrian trail has had gravel applied by equestrians and has mixed with falling leaves and pine needles, making a very durable surface for equestrians even in the winter months, make this a desirable destination. The previous work by equestrians has made it much easier to maintain these trails, by both reducing material costs and park man power. Other winter riding Trails without this attention quickly turn in to a muddy mess making them undesirable.
    During this planning process, park management has communicated the improvements that will be coming to enhance the park for all other current user groups, but for equestrian we are seeing no real improvements, only plans to close access. Equestrians have not been asking for more access but to maintain the same access we already enjoy.
    I want to go on record I object to the closer of equestrian use at Tryon Creek. See more comments at and
    Equestrians have always worked with Park Management to address any and all equestrian issues. I wish the Upper park management would come clean and tell us the real reason they want to close Tryon Creek to equestrian use, so we may be able to address them directly.

  32. I love riding at Tryon on horseback and would ride more often IF the trailer parking was:
    1) bigger and 2) easier to get in/out of. We horse people load our horses, haul to a place to ride, spend the $ on gas and hope when we show up the parking is not FULL or hard to get in/out of. I have only the weekend to ride and when I want to go to Tryon, I often don’t go cause of the parking situation. I don’t want to get there and 1) its full and 2) figure out how to get back out of that parking area if its full with a truck/trailer and no place to pull thru. A car—no problem. A truck & horse trailer—real tricky and maybe I’ll get stuck where I cannot get back out. Its VERY stressful and because of that, I end up not going.

    I ride at McIver 1-2 times a week on a regular basis for many years. I would love to see a horse camp there! I have friends who live out of the area and they would happily come camp there.Please make it a reservation campground with NO non users allowed! We have a real problem now with non-horse users taking up horse campgrounds. If its a reservation site requiring horses to stay, you eliminate that problem.

  33. Tryon Creek has been a favorite place to ride for my friends and I for well over 20 years. We choose to go there because it’s conveniently located to where we live, shop and where our kids go to school. Tryon offers opportunities for ourselves, our horses and our children to experience real forests close to home. The excellent year round footing and hilly terrain are perfect for conditioning our horses to make sure everyone is safe and fit before heading into the wilderness where the environment is lot more hazardous and unpredictable. My friends and I have used the trails at Tryon Creek to train our horses for parades including Portland’s Grand Floral Parade. The wide variety of experiences we encounter help us to establish the trust we need to build with our horses. Sometimes we get to help others while riding through the park. There are often people walking dogs who want to expose them to horses for the first time in a positive way. Some families bring treats with them with the hope of meeting horses along the trail. Our horses are always happy to oblige by enjoying the occasional apples, carrots and granola bars. I was once one of those horse crazed kids and it is always my pleasure to share these magnificent creatures with others who don’t normally get to experience them. It’s been wonderful to ride on Englewood Drive where the neighbors are courteous toward horses and their riders. Many of us have made friends in that neighborhood and enjoy visiting when we pass by. It’s been important to have a safe place where we can expose our horses to slower traffic so they learn not to be afraid on the roads. We have little control over the environment in a random crowd of people, parades, backcountry wilderness or even in our own neighborhoods so our safety depends on the bond we develop with our horses. Tryon provides opportunities for our horses to meet and greet pedestrians, both walking and running, many with dogs. We’ve encountered people sitting on the side of the trail eating lunch with backpacks strewn across the trail, students hiding behind or bent down next to trees taking notes for their research projects, large groups of children carrying sticks who have always surprised me with their good behavior, volunteers pulling ivy, wheelbarrows, baby strollers, the occasional biker, llamas and even one four wheeler. When training for parades, I couldn’t pay for such awesome obstacles. We used to be able to ride our country roads without much concern for our safety but the amount of traffic has multiplied many times and the speed at which they travel has also increased. It can be pretty scary to ride along the roads now when traffic passes us at 50+ mph. There are blind corners and deep ditches in my neighborhood with very few places to get off the road when traffic comes by. Even while wearing bright reflective vests, we often feel at risk when semi-trucks, school buses, trucks with rattling trailers or motorcycles blow past us with little consideration. If it’s the only place we have to ride though, especially on the weekends, that’s where we ride. There’s no way we can afford to haul our horses, neither in gas nor time, to ride the distant trails on a regular basis, even when the trail conditions are favorable. Many of us work our jobs, raise our children, care for aging parents and volunteer in our communities. We usually come last on the list and seldom find time to relax. Riding is therapy for most of us. Combining our love for horses, fresh air and the beauty of the forest renews us so we can meet the challenges of each day. We are so passionate about Tryon Creek because it is our only urban equestrian park. Pedestrians have endless options of places to play. Equestrians are extremely limited as to where we can ride, especially in the wetter months. Up until the past few years, we had adequate parking available when we arrived at Tryon Creek because the equestrian parking lot was actually used by equestrians only. We really need to re-establish the boundaries of what was already ours with better signage, enforcement or perhaps a gate of some kind. Tryon’s rich history as an equestrian established trail system should be passed on to many future generations and enjoyed as it was intended for years to come.

    • I live on the edge of Tryon Creek park and board our horses at Lake Oswego Hunt club, I am a displaced Eastern Oregonian who has owned horses all my life. One of the best things about Oregon is the abundance of natural area to ride, hike, ski, bike, climb, swim etc etc. It is what makes Oregon so wonderful. The fact that I can haul to Tryon Creek to ride for a few hours with my 10 year old son is just something we have always taken for granted. It is hard to believe that here in this “green” state they are considering removing my right to ride in a park so they can make a larger parking lot. When I went to the meeting I really realized they just want the parking. How can removing the trail riders for parking spaces be fair? I was glad it was not due to people not liking horses but to think they just want our parking! How bold. I can ride into Tryon from my house, would that be allowed?
      We just can not exclude folks from places, can you imagine someone telling the dog walkers or dog park users that they cant bring their dogs with them anymore as there is no room for the poop bag dispensers? I think we equestrians really need to stand up for a park that was created and funded by equestrians and local landowners all those years ago.

  34. By the way, I have never ever had a problem getting my 2 horse in and out of Tryon Creek. It is as if by magic I pull in right after someone else has pulled out. I also never go on weekends, it is so close we can go after school. Thank you for letting me post my 2 cents!

  35. I absolutely love Tryon Creek! I live 7 miles from Tryon, and am a patron of both the horse trails and human trails. It is not only conveniently located, but it is such a honor to have such a lovely park to ride in. Unfortunately for Tryon, it has a reputation of inadequate trailer parking, and non-equestrians blocking the way for horse trailers, so I believe this drives equestrians away. Therefore, that keeps many riders away. Who wants to hook up their trailer, load up their horses, and drive all the way to Tryon, only to find you cannot park, let alone maneuver your rig around the tiny parking lot?

    I happen to only have one horse trailer – it is 33 feet long, and my truck is also oversized. And yet I still occasionally can manage to park and ride at Tryon. I can get in and out of Tryon’s tiny parking lot *only* if I am able to park closest to the exit. Typical equestrian parking is one which allows rigs to park side-by-side next to one another (like at Mission or McIver). The Tryon parking lot is misgivingly labeled “Equestrian Parking”; how many times have we had non-equestrians parking in that lot and blocking the way for horse trailers? If horse trailers were to park anywhere they wanted (as non-equestrians do) in other parking lots, there would surely be a ruckus and a plethora of complaints. And perhaps parking tickets??

    How about issuing tickets to non-horse trailers parking in the equestrian parking? This would generate some revenue to help fund and build an adequate equestrian parking lot. Another option would be to sell yearly passes. I would be happy to pay for such a pass if it would assure that I could park knowing that I could also exit, and that non-equestrians would not block the way for equestrians.

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