Grayback Mountain (Southwest Oregon) 18-Aug-2021

Wildfires seem to have gotten worse around here since 2014 and this year is no exception. Our valley has been filled with varying concentrations of smoke for weeks from wildfires raging to the north, east, and south of us. Yesterday’s morning of clarity in the Bear Creek Valley was an exception, since, by afternoon, the smoke was back. So it’s entirely on me for not doing an air monitor check before driving all the way to a trailhead. 😥

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Elk Creek to Grayback Mountain 29-Jun-2017

Elk Creek Trail Siskiyou Crest Oregon

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.

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Stein Butte (Southern Oregon) 31-Dec-2016

Stein Butte Southern Oregon

Stein Butte (USFS #929) is one of the classic hikes in the Upper Applegate Valley of Southern Oregon. It was the last hike we did in 2014 (post), the first full hike we did this year, and one of our first hike & bike efforts (post), so it seemed only fitting that it be our last hike for 2016. The #929 trail is well-maintained, well-graded, and offers sweeping views once you reach the crest of Elliott Ridge.

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Grayback Mountain (Siskiyou Mountains) 18-Aug-2016

Grayback Mountain Oregon

Southern Oregon Happy Trails (details) is the meet-up group for hikers in our area.  We learned of it shortly after relocating here but, being unfamiliar with the meet-up group concept, thought we’d watch and wait until we’d gained some of our own experience with the trails in this area.  Time passed.  Then this week we finally decided it was time to give “meet-up” a try when a hike to the summit of Grayback Mountain was posted.

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Grayback Mountain Trail (Williams, Oregon) 29-Mar-2015

Grayback Mountain Trail Williams Oregon

The Siskiyou Crest Trail – which circles the Red Buttes Wilderness to the south and west – is an amalgam of different trails, which we have been enjoyably cherry-picking for several months now. On most maps, and in the Forest Service literature, the northern terminus of the Crest Trail (where it is the Boundary Trail (USFS #1207)) is at Windy Gap just north of Grayback Mountain. It always seemed odd that the trail would just end at some saddle in the mountains. So I dug a little deeper and discovered that this abrupt end was true up until 2006, when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and volunteers from Williams, Oregon finished the Grayback Mountain Trail from outside Williams up to Windy Gap – thus extending the Crest Trail to a length of almost 50 miles from Cook and Green Pass to Williams. None of the topo maps, and only one of the guidebooks, for this area seem to be aware of this trail. Thus we had to go explore it.

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Grayback Mountain (Applegate, Oregon) 31-May-2014

Grayback Mountain Josephine County Oregon

For our last hike during this vacation in Southern Oregon, we decided on a short, steep one up Grayback Mountain (7,048 feet), the highest point in Josephine County. It’s supposedly named after the lice {“graybacks” 😯 } that infested the miners during the 1850’s gold rush. This is hike #71 in Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon (3rd Edition). (Update: Parts of this area were burned by the 2017 Bigelow and Creedence Fires.)

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Winter on Grizzly Peak (Ashland, Oregon) 18-Jan-2014

Grizzly Peak Ashland Oregon

We were in Jacksonville, Oregon on personal business and had been sitting in a cold fog bank for two days. We had time for a short hike and, after considering which ones might get us above the gloom, chose Grizzly Peak – just east of Ashland, Oregon [Hike #59 in Sullivan’s Southern Oregon hiking guide, Second Edition]. In a “normal” snow year, this short hike is either not accessible or only accessible with snowshoes or postholing. But this is not a normal year, and we were able to drive a passenger car all the way to the summer trailhead at 5,260 feet!  However, the pit toilet amenity was closed when we got there.

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