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Horsetrap Trail LbNA #410

Owner:ARose Contact
Plant date:Apr 14, 2002
Found by: Weekend Warrior
Last found: Apr 15, 2018
Hike distance:Unknown
Last edited:Apr 14, 2002
Fish Hatchery Park Grants Pass, Josephine County, OR
Dropped By The Horsetrap Gang

(If you find any problems with this letterbox, please email Annette at

Trail length: About 1.5 miles roundtrip if you stay on track.
Clue Difficulty: Easy. (Clues edited 11/5/09.)

In 1999 two kids named our route Horsetrap Trail and in 2002 they dropped a letterbox there. No one but them (and now you) calls it Horsetrap Trail, so don't look for any signs that say that. As they hiked, the kids would find sticks and dig holes with them. They had seen a guy riding a horse out there, and it scared them, so the holes were "horsetraps." Now you know.

The trick in finding this letterbox is finding Horsetrap Trail itself. Go to Fish Hatchery Park, 8 miles south of Grants Pass, Oregon. (Go south on Highway 238 to New Hope Road, right on New Hope Road 3 miles to Fish Hatchery Road, right on Fish Hatchery 2 miles to Wetherbee Road just before the bridge over the Applegate River. Go right again half a mile to the end of the road, and stay left. In 2002 when this letterbox was dropped, there were no signs for the park until we actually entered it.)

From the parking lot head west (i.e. downriver) on the main trail, an old wagon road that parallels the river. After 600 meters, the wagon road veers right, away from the river, and a narrower trail appears on your left. (Because there are other trails veering to the left, the kids will give you another clue: There are a bunch of posts with numbers on the top throughout the park, signifying the location of different tree species that are part of
a guided nature walk. The junction of which we speak is right next to a post with the number "19" on top).

You could go to the left at this junction-it is a nice side route that pops out on a sandy river bar before looping back to the wagon road.

But to more easily find the letterbox stay on the wagon road. Horsetrap Trail begins where the "sandbar" trail loops back to the wagon road 200 meters farther west. Horsetrap is the continuation of the wagon road, but this is a tricky junction, so be careful. Generally speaking, you want to be staying to the right here. There is a post with the number "16" on top, and if you get that far, you've missed the right turn a few meters earlier. Horsetrap Trail changes from a wide path to a single track path where it dips down to cross a rocky creek bed before
going uphill 300 meters. If the trail you are on doesn't have this hill, it isn't Horsetrap.

There is some poison oak in here, so stay on the trail.

At the top, another trail comes in from the right (across from a post with the number "15" on it). This other trail is an alternative way back to your car.

To find the letterbox keep going west (i.e. downriver). You are high above the Applegate here, and it is quite pretty. 80 meters from post "15", Horsetrap crosses a cut 3 feet deep that requires hikers to go down then steeply up.

Go to the bottom of that little gully, and look directly (not left, not right) up the hill. Twelve meters above the trail (as it crosses the base of the gully) is a cedar tree with a small rock pile at its base. Hidden beneath the rock pile is the Horsetrap Trail Letterbox.