Illinois River Trail (Kalmiopsis Wilderness) 16/17-Apr-2016

Illinois River Trail, Kalmiopsis Wilderness, Oregon

2020 Update: The Siskiyou Mountain Club has now repaired and restored the #1161, which was damaged by wildfires and landslides.  They also restored the Florence Way Trail #1219A, which had been impassable for a decade or more.

In 2015, we backpacked the justifiably famous Rogue River Trail from Grave Creek to Foster Bar and had a wonderful time doing so (Rogue River Trail).  As I was researching that trip, I kept coming across references to the Illinois River Trail (USFS #1161; but the sign at the trailhead says #1162) as a worthy adjunct to the Rogue trail.  The western end of the Illinois River Trail was designated as a National Recreation Trail because of its outstanding scenic qualities and the Illinois River itself was added to the National Wild and Scenic River System in October 1984.

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Briggs Creek (Merlin, Oregon) 04-Mar-2015

Briggs Creek Elkhorn Mine Merlin Oregon

Update: This area was burned by the 2018 Taylor Creek Fire.

With the exception of the iconic Rogue River Trail, most guidebooks don’t list many hikes just west of Grants Pass, Oregon. But Sullivan (Hike #85, 3rd Edition) and Bernstein & Urness (Hike #68, 2014) both suggested the Briggs Creek Trail (USFS #1132) as an easy one with some interesting flora and history, so we decided to give it a try. The trailhead is at the Sam Brown Campground on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, and is easily accessible via a one lane paved road (Forest Road 25) from outside Merlin, Oregon. Except for a few stream crossings, the trail is a pleasant ramble down Briggs Creek through stands of large, old trees,

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