Tag Archives: soda mountain wilderness

Pilot Rock

On our way home from Mount Shasta City we stopped for a quick hike to Pilot Rock in Oregon’s Soda Mountain Wilderness. We took exit 1 from Interstate 5 and drove north on Old Highway 99 for 6.9 miles to Pilot Rock Road (Road 40-2E-33) where we turned east. Instead of starting at the Pilot Rock Trailhead which is located 2 miles up the road we parked after a mile at the Pacific Crest Trail crossing. (If you do start here be sure not to block the private driveway.)
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From the road Mt. Ashland to the west and Mt. McLoughlin to the north were visible in the morning light.
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We headed south on the PCT (which ironically meant we were going northbound due to the route the trail takes after crossing I-5).
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Most of the flowers were finished but by the looks of things there had been quite a few. A number of late bloomers remained and along with those were some juicy thimbleberries.
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Aside from a couple of very short uphills the trail seemed fairly level and after about 3/4 of a mile Pilot Rock came into view.
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After another .9 miles we arrived at a junction with the closed road that serves as the trail from the official Pilot Rock Trailhead.
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The two trails joined for .2 miles passing through a nice forest before splitting once again.
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We forked to the right following the Pilot Rock pointer. This trail was much steeper and we climbed about 600′ in .7 miles to the base of Pilot Rock.
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In a perfect world we would have scrambled up to the top of the rock which wasn’t that much higher, but after hiking 80 plus miles and climbing at least 20,000′ over the previous 7 days we weren’t sure that we had the strength and muscle control left to safely climb to and descend from the top.

Rather than risk it we stopped just below the first section where we definitely would have need to use our hands to go any higher.
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We returned the way we’d come. Starting at the PCT put the hike at a little under 5 miles a little less than double what it would have been from the Pilot Rock Trailhead with some nice scenery which would have been even better earlier in the year when the numerous flowers were still in bloom. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Pilot Rock

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Boccard Point – Soda Mountain Wilderness

After attending Pericles the day before we spent our third day in the Ashland area hiking. We were staying east of town at the Green Springs Inn and Cabins on Highway 66 in the Cascade-Siskyou National Monument under two miles from where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses that highway on its trek from Mexico to Canada. We were also only 20 minutes from the Hobart Bluff Trailhead where the PCT crosses Soda Mountain Road as it emerges from the Soda Mountain Wilderness. Our hike to Boccard Point started at the Hobart Bluff TH, but instead of heading north on the PCT toward Hobart Bluff we headed south into the wilderness. It was a damp and foggy morning as we set off.
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We spotted a number of different flowers before we even made it into the wilderness.
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Shortly after passing under some powerlines we entered the wilderness.
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The flower show continued as the trail passed several rocky meadows.
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The PCT also traveled through some more forested areas with other flowers.
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After 2.9 miles at a large wilderness sign the PCT meets an old road junction. Here we left the PCT and headed deeper into the wilderness on an abandoned road just to the left of the sign.
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Along this stretch of trail the old road curved around a damp wildflower meadow where there were many nearby birds and other wildlife.
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We had been in the fog almost the entire hike but just as we were starting the final quarter mile stretch to Boccard Point we emerged from under the clouds and were greeted with a view of Mt. Shasta.
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As the rocky outcrop of Boccard Point approached the views to the south kept getting better.
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To our right the edge of the clouds were lapping over Pilot Rock.
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To the left the clouds were busy drifting over the lookout tower on the summit of Soda Mountain.
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And behind us was the cloud that we had spent the morning in.
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The rocky terrain around Boccard Point was also dotted with wildflowers.
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We headed back under the cloud. On the way back by the damp meadow we spotted more wildlife including a pair of deer that Heather spied.
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The fog had at least lifted as we traveled back to the trailhead revealing more of the meadows we had passed earlier that morning.
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We skipped heading up to the lookout based on the cloud situation given the views we did get on Boccard Point. The total distance for the hike ended up being 10.5 miles with only about 1200′ of elevation gain. It was a gentle enough hike that we decided to head out again that afternoon after a brief rest back at the Green Springs Inn and Cabins. Happy Trails!

flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157653708085508