Cook and Green Loop (Red Buttes Wilderness) 28-May-2017

Cook and Green Red Buttes Wilderness California

The Cook and Green Loop is one of the more challenging (i.e., character-building) hikes in Northern California’s Red Buttes Wilderness (a wilderness more readily accessible from the Oregon side). The loop consists of the Cook and Green Trail (USFS #959), the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and the Horse Camp Trail (USFS #958). It can be done in either direction. Clockwise it is a gradual 11-mile, 3,600 foot climb up the Cook and Green Trail and the PCT to the Horse Camp Trail junction, and then a steep 4 mile descent down that trail to the trailhead on Forest Road 1040. The other way is a stiff 3,600 foot ascent followed by a gradual 11-mile descent. I’d done the loop clockwise in January 2015, when there was only a minuscule amount of snow along the Siskiyou Crest (post).  Plans for doing it counter-clockwise languished until the desire to see how much snow the very snowy winter of 2016-17 had left on the Crest overcame my reluctance to climb 3,600 feet (the LovedOne opted to garden instead).  So a bright, sunny, and destined to be very warm, day found me starting up the Horse Camp Trail at an absurdly early hour.

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Cook and Green Loop (Red Buttes Wilderness) 31-Jan-2015

Cook and Green Pass Red Buttes Wilderness Oregon

Looking (as always) for a loop hike with views, I came across the Cook and Green Trail (USFS #959) – Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) – Horse Camp Trail (USFS #958) loop in Northern California’s Red Buttes Wilderness. This is hike #154 in Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon (3rd Edition) He has you doing the loop counter-clockwise, which I would not recommend. Ruediger details the various botanical features of this loop in his book, The Siskiyou Crest.  As this loop was estimated at 15+ miles with a lot of gain, The LovedOne opted to stay home and knit.

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