The Elk Creek Trail (USFS #1230) is an odd little trail in that it has a website and a trailhead sign but does not appear on any USGS or USFS maps. In reality, it’s a somewhat worn, moderately steep, but easy to follow trail that climbs from Forest Road (FR) 079 along Elk Creek through heavy woods to a junction with the Boundary Trail (USFS #1207) on the Siskiyou Crest. We first learned of it from Roether’s 2006 Williams Area Trail Guide (Hike #3) and have used it as a shortcut for a hike of Mount Elijah. Both that guide, and the Forest Service website, intimate that you can also use it to reach Grayback Mountain (post), some three miles to the north. So we decided to go see about that for ourselves and also check the condition of the Boundary Trail along the way. Update: Part of the #1207 close to Grayback Mountain was burned by the 2017 Creedence Fire.
Continue reading “Elk Creek to Grayback Mountain 29-Jun-2017”
Late last year, the original 488 acre Oregon Caves National Monument was expanded by about 4,000 acres (becoming a National Monument and Preserve in the process) to better protect the watersheds that feed the underground river in the cave complex. A preserve of this type allows for the continuation of hunting, which is not allowed inside the smaller monument boundary. As a result of this expansion, the monument/preserve boundary has been pushed to the tops of the surrounding ridges and now includes the Bigelow Lakes, Mount Elijah (both of them), and Lake Mountain. Last February, we had explored this new part of the monument by hiking in from Sturgis Fork to the east. While you can also reach this area from the visitor center to the west, doing so involves a long drive around to Cave Junction and then up to the caves. A little map research found that a hike in from the west was possible – with much less driving – by using the more readily accessible Elk Creek Trail (USFS #1230). So the plan was to use this trail to visit Mount Elijah (again), checkout the old lookout site atop Lake Mountain, and hike another short stretch of the Boundary Trail (USFS #1207). Unfortunately, The LovedOne’s knee starting acting up again, so this became a solo hike. 😥 Continue reading “Lake Mountain (Oregon Caves National Monument) 22-Nov-2015”