for the Siskiyou Hiker

This 75 mile backpack offers a multi-day opportunity for backpackers to explore a striking landscape wilder than most anything on America’s Pacific Coast

27 JULY 2017 | OREGON CAVES NATIONAL MONUMENT, ORE. — A new approximately 75 mile backpacking route is open after the Siskiyou Mountain Club, and Rogue River-Siskiyou and Klamath National Forests salvaged a section of the Boundary National Recreation Trail 12W47 that had been swallowed by brush and left impassable. The project connected a labyrinth of trails between the Red Buttes Wilderness and Oregon Caves National Monument with the Pacific Crest Trail.

Hikers who pursue this route will start from Oregon Caves and climb to Mt. Elijah before hopping onto the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forests’s Boundary Trail 1206, heading south toward Sucker Gap and the Red Buttes Wilderness. Then they’ll visit Azalea Lake, Cedar Basin and Lonesome Lake, and hop onto the Klamath National Forest’s Boundary Trail 12W47.

“Starting there and heading north for about five miles is the section that had been choked to death,” says Siskiyou Mountain Club executive director Gabriel Howe. From Lonesome Lake to a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail is open now for the first time in years. The conditions were a result of fire damage and a nation wide maintenance drought that often hits remote Forest Service trails like this one the hardest. From the Pacific Crest Trail, hikers could head to anywhere between Mexico and Canada along the National Scenic Trail.

But Howe suggests hiking to Mt. Ashland Ski Road, approximately 75 miles from the Oregon Caves and Oregon’s first National Monument, and from the ski road hitching a ride or hiking into town. Pick up both Siskiyou Mountains and Wild Rivers District Maps issued by Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, and the City of Ashland’s Map Guide.

Affordable accommodations for hikers are available at the Oregon Caves Chateau, a full service hotel built by the FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps. They have rustic rooms with different themes, and great well as dining options. And the town of Ashland, Ore. is well known for its Oregon Shakespeare Festival, arts scene, restaurants, and boutique accommodations. Camping is also available in both the Oregon Caves National Monument and near Ashland.

Jeff Ellison of the Klamath National Forest’s Happy Camp Ranger District mentions the project crosses a lot of boundaries. “It’s a great moment that bodes well for the future of trails and public lands,” he adds.

The multi day backpack features stunning views of Southwest Oregon and Northwest California, highland lakes, meadows peppered by redwood-sized cedars, and old earth botanical areas that straddle this sharp and dramatic divide between the Klamath and Rogue watersheds.

“It’s out of this world,” says Chavez. “Really wild country.” ###