Brown Mountain Snowshoe (Southwest Oregon) 18-Jan-2021

We had a nice, big (for Southwest Oregon) snowstorm at the start of 2021. This allowed us a first-of-the-year snowshoe below Mount Ashland through wonderfully fluffy powder snow. Since then, however, not much frozen joy has fallen from the sky. What has descended is a little more rain at warmer temperatures. We are, of course, hoping for colder temperatures and more snow before Spring – mainly because that snow is our water supply. In the interim, we figured it would be prudent to do some snowshoeing on what snow we have. In addition, getting above the thick fog (again) shrouding the valley seemed like a great idea. Plus, we could slap a little more amortization on this year’s annual Sno-Park permit. 🙂

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West Brown Mountain Loop (Southern Oregon) 12-May-2018

Brown Mountain Oregon

Brown Mountain is a small, youthful-looking (it’s only about 12,000 to 60,000 years old), basaltic andesite shield volcano sitting directly south of its more prominent neighbor, Mount McLoughlin. Much of Brown Mountain is bare, unweathered, dark-colored, block-lava, with a glacial valley carved into its northeast flank.  I snowshoed to it’s summit in early 2016 and we circumnavigated it later that year using the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), the Brown Mountain Trail (USFS #1005) [#3724 on the Fremont-Winema National Forest], and the High Lakes Trail (USFS #6200). At that time, we thought, per the Forest Service website, that the western end of the #1005 was at Forest Road (FR) 3705. We would later find that it actually continues to the west and north on a mix of trails and old roads. So the idea emerged of using the PCT and this additional piece of the #1005 to make a loop to the west of Brown Mountain. The LovedOne’s knee is still being cranky, so I set off alone (sigh) under near perfect hiking conditions to have a go at this loop.

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South Brown Mountain Shelter (Oregon) 29-Dec-2016

South Brown Mountain Shelter Oregon

In February of this year, I snowshoed to the summit of Brown Mountain, a relatively small shield volcano located in Oregon’s Klamath and Jackson counties, directly south of its more prominent neighbor, Mount McLoughlin.  Then, later in the summer, we circumnavigated the mountain, on a combination of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and other local trails (post).  While planning for these trips, I’d come across mention of the South Brown Mountain Shelter, lying just west of the PCT about two miles north of Dead Indian Memorial (DIM) Highway.  Unlike the Appalachian Trail, which seems to have a plethora of shelters, they are few and far between on the PCT.  Which, of course, made a visit to this one all that more attractive.  So we waited until it could be done as an early Winter snowshoe and then drove – carefully – to where the PCT crosses the DIM at Pederson Sno-Park. This is an informal Sno-Park (with no amenities), so no permit is required to park there.

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Around Brown Mountain (Southern Oregon) 18-Sep-2016

Brown Mountain Oregon

Brown Mountain is a small, youthful looking, basaltic andesite shield volcano located in Oregon’s Klamath and Jackson counties, directly south of its more prominent neighbor, Mount McLoughlin. Brown Mountain is only between 12,000 and 60,000 years old with the last eruption taking place about 15,000 years ago.  Much of it is bare, dark-colored, block-lava, with a glacial valley carved into its northeast flank.  Having already been to its summit (snowshoe to the top), we looked around for another way to enjoy the mountain.  While doing so, we came across a report (post) of an out-and-back hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) along the west side of the mountain. A quick look at the map showed that we could circumnavigate the mountain by going south and east on the PCT from the Summit Sno-Park (details), then north on the Brown Mountain Trail (USFS #1005 [on the Rogue-Siskiyou NF; it’s #3724 on the Fremont-Winema NF]), and then east back to the Sno-Park on the High Lakes Trail (USFS #6200).  And so it was.

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Robinson Butte Snowshoe (Southern Oregon) 29-Feb-2016

Robinson Butte Lookout Southern Oregon

Unlike the last two winters, this year we’ve had a more “normal” year, with a good snow pack fueled by alternating bands of rain/snow and sun. It’s not unusual to have a stormy night, followed by a bluebird morning, and then a gray jay afternoon as the next storm moves onshore. So we’ve become somewhat adept at finding hikes or snowshoes that can fit into the bluebird part of this cycle. A snowshoe hike to Robinson Butte fit nicely into this limitation.

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Brown Mountain Snowshoe (Southern Oregon) 08-Feb-2016

Brown Mountain Fremont-Winema National Forest Oregon

I had to wait 6 weeks for the weather to calm down a bit. The upside is that what was soft, fluffy, not-so-easy to snowshoe snow has now settled into really nice Spring snow. Brown Mountain sits on the south side of Highway 140, directly south of Mount McLoughlin. Its summit benchmark is 7,311 feet but it’s actually a bit higher than that – and it has a crater! In summer, it’s an almost unclimbable cone of rumpled, sharp lava but in winter, with a good snow cover, it’s a very fun snowshoe (or ski – we’ll get to the snowmobiles later).

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