Trail sign for the Jackson Klamath Winter Trails system outside Klamath Falls, Oregon

Summit Shelter Snowshoe (Oregon) 06-Jan-2020

Today the snow telemetry (SNOTEL) site at Billie Creek Divide indicated a snow depth of just 25 inches – less than half the historical median depth for this day. o_O But we deemed it enough to snowshoe some of the Jackson Klamath Winter Trails near Billie Creek. These trails are old roads that wind their way through the forest starting from the Summit Sno-Park off Highway 140. We sketched out a figure-8 loop on the Petunia, McLoughlin, and Lower Canal Nordic Trails with the Summit Shelter as our goal (and turn-around point).

We left home mired in fog and broke free of it at the sno-park into sunny, crisp blue skies (which, sadly, would then desert us for most of the day). It was an enticing 25°F when we got going and the snow was deep enough for snowshoes but not so deep that we had to struggle through it. We started out on the Petunia Trail and then left that for the McLoughlin Trail. We’d been following others tracks up to this point but, from here to the shelter, we were traversing virgin snow. It had snowed a bit in the last day or two and the entire forest was decorated in tufts of powdery snow. Wonderful!

We got to the shelter to find it only lightly covered with snow (in 2017 it had been almost buried). We expected to find tracks as we headed back on the Petunia Trail but, again, we were moving through fresh snow. We didn’t encounter any tracks until we were finishing-up on the Lower Canal Trail. And, as is often the case when irony visits one of our hikes, the sun 😎 burst out of the clouds 20 minutes before we got back to the sno-park. 🙄 A great little loop (7 miles, 600 feet gain) on a good day to be in the snowy woods! 🙂 And more snow is forecast for later this week. 😀

Woman in winter clothing with snow-covered trees in distance
The brave snowshoer smile is in place
Woman snowshoeing through a snowy forest
On the Petunia Trail
Woman snowshoeing through a snowy forest
On the McLoughlin Trail
Woman snowshoeing through a snowy forest
Towering trees on the McLoughlin Trail
Woman snowshoeing through a snowy forest
Almost to the Summit Shelter on the McLoughlin Trail
A small ski hut in a snowy forest
Summit Shelter
A snowy view of Brown Mountain, Oregon
Brown Mountain from the Petunia Trail
A person snowshoeing under partially cloudy skies
On the Petunia Trail past the Forest Service’s seed farm
A person snowshoeing through snow-covered trees
Along the McLoughlin Trail toward the Lower Canal Trail
A person snowshoeing through sunny, snow-covered trees
The sun emerged as we were returning along the Lower Canal Trail
Map
Our figure-8 route: (P) Petunia Trail, (M) McLoughlin Trail, (L) Lower Canal Trail
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2 comments

  1. They are marked with blue blazers high in the trees and with signs at some of the key junctions. You probably could hike on them but the snow covers fallen debris and brush that might not be easy to walk on or over without snow. Plus there are few views. The charm of these old roads lies in them providing you easy access to a forest in winter, when the snow makes everything magical.

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