Azalea Lake via Steve Fork (Red Buttes Wilderness) 06-Mar-2015

Azalea Lake Steve Fork Red Buttes Wilderness California

The Steve Fork Trailhead in Oregon provides relatively easy access to the north side of California’s Red Buttes Wilderness (where, because of the absurdly low snow year, I have been able to hike during much of this winter). It’s also an access point to the Boundary Trail, which I have also been exploring piece-meal this winter. Steve Fork is also an alternate trailhead for wonderful little Azalea Lake, which we had visited before via the Fir Glade Trailhead. So today’s hike was a twofer – check out the Steve Fork Trail (USFS #905) and visit Azalea Lake from a different trailhead. {UPDATE: The area around Azalea Lake was burned by the 2017 Knox Fire.}

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Butte Fork Trail (Red Buttes Wilderness) 24-Jan-2015

Butte Fork Trail Red Buttes Wilderness California

While we have an admitted preference for loops with a view (and maybe a summit), we were drawn to this out-and-back hike in deep forest on the Butte Fork Trail (USFS #957) specifically because it is in a deep, old growth forest, one that Ruediger (in his The Siskiyou Crest, page 130) calls “…the wildest and most pristine region of the eastern Siskiyou Mountains.” Being in the shady forest, and leading as it does to wonderful little Azalea Lake, this would be a great summer hike or backpack (Hike #155 in Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon, Third Edition (2014)).

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Azalea Lake from Fir Glade (Red Buttes Wilderness) 29-May-2014

Azalea Lake Fir Glade Red Buttes Wilderness California

There are a lot of trails and hiking opportunities in the mountains west of Medford, so we let the presence of a lake (which are not plentiful in the Siskiyous) guide our choice for our first hike in this area (#68 in Sullivan’s Southern Oregon hiking guide (Third Edition)). And, unlike Wednesday’s snow storms, this day was full bluebird – clear, sunny, about 70ºF, gentle breezes. The roads – both paved and gravel – to the Fir Glade Trailhead off Forest Road 1040-800 in Oregon were in great shape and we were soon on our way to wonderful little Azalea Lake. {UPDATE: The area around Azalea Lake was burned by the 2017 Knox Fire.}

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