Update on the Santa Margarita Lake Horse Camp at River Road

Update on the Santa Margarita Lake Horse Camp at River Road | SLO Horse News

Head’s up horse camping enthusiasts! Plans for horse camp at River Road near Santa Margarita Lake are progressing. The first hurdle of getting temporary approval of plans to develop the horse camp was granted in July of 2019. That ignited the effort fundraising to get the initial elements of the horse camp. Now, some of those elements are ready to be installed.

Santa Margarita Lake Horse Camp Fundraising to Date

Good news, close to $8,000 has been raised and pledged to date.  A huge thank you goes out to several local organizations and individuals who have contributed funds to see the Santa Margarita Lake Horse Camp at River Road come to life.

These organizations are: Back Country Horsemen of California, Ride Nipomo, West Coast Rocky Mountain Horse Club, North County Trail Alliance and Vaqueras del Camino.  Many individuals have provided funds and pledged support as well.

If you know of other organizations who may be interested in donating funds or equipment, please either reach out to them directly or let Kathy Redden know so she can send a donation letter.

Equipment Purchased

Kathy Redden, the project coordinator, explains how this money has been allocated, “We have purchased six corrals to date. We had expected to purchase two gates, but people have donated them! We will also be ordering three picnic tables, and the cost for two of them is also being donated. We have approximately $1,900 in received or pledged funds that due to donations, we haven’t yet tapped into. We can use these funds towards the purchase of one or two bear boxes, plus cover costs for other materials as needed for repairs of existing fences, etc.”


Construction Committee Workday Scheduled

The first workday scheduled by the Construction Committee is as follows:

Santa Margarita Lake Horse Camp Workday

Friday, December 6, 2019

9:00 am

River Road Trail Head

Contact: Kathy Redden – kathyredden@yahoo.com

Other Construction Committee Members are: Patti and Fred Mensing, Jody Smith, Kaye Bruns, and Shirley Rasmussen and Greg Feinberg 

Volunteers should plan on wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts, and have good work boots. Bring gloves and water. The main focus will be installing the gates. Depending on weather and field conditions, we will also be repairing the fence line. If volunteers have weed whackers, please bring them!  Also, heavy duty wire cutters and pliers will be helpful. 

Driving Directions to the River Road Trail Head

From Santa Margarita:  Take Pozo Road (past the main entrance to Santa Margarita Lake, past the Rinconada trail head and almost out to Pozo Saloon), left on River Road for several miles, and trail head parking area is on the left.


Looking to the Future

Kathy shares the immediate future plans in this statement: “We also had planned to wait on purchasing and installing tie rails until we had final approval (right now we have temporary approval). In case final approval is not given, we don’t want to have to tear out the tie rails. The long-term plan is to build a shade structure upon final approval. The cost for the shade structure has not yet been determined, but we expect that additional funding will be needed.”

Opening Date

At this point there is not a set date for opening, but getting a gate secured then the corrals set up are a big first steps to welcoming the first overnight campers with their horses to the Santa Margarita Lake Horse Camp at River Road. Also the registration system still needs to be worked out.

Future Workdays

There will be future workdays but nothing has been set on a calendar. The next workday will be to set up the corrals. Putting in the picnic tables would follow the corrals set up.

If you would like to help get the Santa Margarita Lake Horse Camp up and running or have donation contact information please e-mail Kathy Redden at kathyredden@yahoo.com. (Copy and paste her e-mail into the To section of your e-mail message.)


Go Horse Camping! Explore the wonder and beauty of the SLO County trails from the best place on earth, the back of a horse. You and your friends and family plus horses can camp right next to the trails! To help you get packing, you can use this FREE Horse Camping packing checklist. We’ll continue to post horse camping stories on the SLO Horse News website. You can stay up-to-date by becoming a SLO Horse News herd member. Get your Horse Camping Checklist here >.

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Former Pony Clubber, Eventer and Dressage rider who balanced training and showing with getting a college degree (from Cal Poly SLO), becoming a wife and raising a family.

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