Backdoor to Rhyolite Ridge (Soda Mountain Wilderness) 09-Apr-2021

Rhyolite Ridge is a bench that curves around below Point 5401 (“Rhyolite Point”) on the western edge of the Soda Mountain Wilderness. We first learned of it from William Sullivan’s Southern Oregon hiking guides. It’s a short diversion, on what was is now a much faded old ranch road, from the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Going out to it gives you sweeping views of the peaks (most notably Mount Shasta) and valleys to the south. Its south-facing aspect also encourages early season emergence of some unique wildflowers such as the Dwarf Hesperochiron and Yellow Fritillary. We’ve hiked out to the Ridge several times from the PCT, as have others judging from how a single-track has now formed in the old road.

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Point 5321 & Hey Bear! (Southern Oregon) 28-Nov-2020

Our last hike to Rhyolite Point (Point 5401 on the map) west of Pilot Rock was in April of this year. The first wave of the Big V had just broken over Southern Oregon. There was confusion about whether you could go outside and, if so, where and when and with whom. Eventually outside was deemed acceptable. But it was judged best if you stayed local, distanced, and didn’t try anything epic where rescuing your sorry ass might tie-up resources needed elsewhere. So we did a short loop around Rhyolite Point on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) for wildflowers and views. We saw lots of wildflowers but only three people (at a distance) and had a nice hike. 🙂

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Snow on the Siskiyous (Southern Oregon) 11-Nov-2020

In November of 2016, we hiked out to Boccard Point from the (then new to us) trailhead on Baldy Creek Road. It was snowing when we started, the Point was packed in clouds when we got there, and the sun only appeared when we were on our way back. 🙄 In May of this year I used this same trailhead to hike west on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to Porcupine Mountain. The views along this route were impressive – perhaps even a little more so than from the Point. Scroll forward to today and the first snows have fallen on this section of the PCT. With more and bigger snows expected soon, today seemed like the moment to reprise the views experienced on that May hike, this time on walkable snow and with The LovedOne. ❤

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Porcupine Mountain (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 07-May-2020

Porcupine Mountain sits just north of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) between Soda Mountain and Pilot Rock. It’s in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument right next to the Soda Mountain Wilderness. We’ve hiked to the views from its summit several times before. But always from a start to the west where the PCT crosses the road to Pilot Rock. This time we decided to start from the east where the Baldy Creek Road intersects with the PCT. This is the informal trailhead for Boccard Point. The short section of the PCT from here to Porcupine is an easy one that passes through patches of meadow and forest, with big views all along the way. The hike out-and-back to Porcupine is only 6 miles with 1,100 feet of gain and today was a perfect day (weather-wise) to do it. 🙂

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Hiking Southern Oregon: 25 Hikes (February 2020)

To celebrate our 600th post on WordPress, we’re highlighting a select few of the many hikes we’ve enjoyed here in Southwest Oregon.

As we’ve perused lists of Oregon’s greatest hikes, we’ve come to notice that these lists are heavily skewed, with a few exceptions, toward hikes near Portland.  That metro area’s greater population helps if a list is based on some kind of vote.  And proximity to its major airport helps get votes from those who drop in for a brief Western adventure.  Even some of the classics, like the Wallowas in Eastern Oregon or the Three Sisters in Central Oregon, often don’t make these lists because they are too far away.  So a lot of “great” hikes get done near Portland – the state’s most populated town. And then the complaints roll in about how there’s no parking, the trails are too crowded, you need a permit or must pay a fee, it’s raining, etc.

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Rhyolite & Porcupine (Southern Oregon) 13-Nov-2019

Thus far we’ve had a near record driest Fall. Storms are, however, forecast for this coming weekend (…the weather check is in the mail…promise!). So, with a vague nod toward Butch & Sundance (or any other two name duo you’d like), we did an easy (recovery is almost officially over!), but visually rich, loop in both the Soda Mountain Wilderness and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (this is possible because the monument overlaps the wilderness).

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Boccard Point (Soda Mountain Wilderness) 11-Aug-2019

Well, the big thunderstorms came and went, leaving behind some much needed rain and (thankfully) no big wildfires. We thought to capitalize on the cool, but clearing, weather that followed the storm by hiking out to Boccard Point in the Soda Mountain Wilderness. If the sky cooperates, big views of Mount Shasta to the south can be had from there. Plus, we hadn’t been to the point together since 2016 and then it was snowing! o_O

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“Rhyolite Point” (Soda Mtn. Wilderness) 12-Nov-2018

Last April, we did a short hike to Rhyolite Ridge, one of the many odd little destinations tucked away in Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon (4th Edition). This location is on the south side of Point 5401 just west of Pilot Rock. Which raised the question: If a Rhyolite Ridge, then why not a Rhyolite Point? 💡 After all, there must be views from the open, rocky top of Point 5401. Right?

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Porcupine Mountain (Cascade-Siskiyou NM) 21-Oct-2018

Porcupine Mountain Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Oregon

Last December, after the Ashland Hiking Group made it look interesting, I did my own hike to Porcupine Mountain and really enjoyed it.  The LovedOne couldn’t come on that one 😥 owing to library business but I thought she’d enjoy it too. So today I pried her from amidst the stacks of cellulose and got her on the trail with me 😀 to Porcupine.  It was another great day for a hike and this one played-out the same (and as well) as the first one. The weather was hiker-optimal, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) was in fine condition, and the views from the summit were superb (except in the direction of Mount Shasta, which was obscured by haze). The only difference this time was that the old road (shown on the map as a trail) going from Porcupine Gap over Porcupine Mountain’s south ridge has now been very aggressively decommissioned.  The old road prism is littered with turned earth, rocks, downed trees, and piles of dead brush. A use trail is forming but it’ll be an awkward walk for a while longer.

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Lone Pine Ridge (Soda Mtn. Wilderness) 07-May-2018

Lone Pine Ridge Soda Mountain Wilderness Oregon

I’d hiked the Lone Pilot Trail in 2015, not too long after it had been brushed out of old ranch roads by the Siskiyou Mountain Club. The Lone Pilot was (and still is) about the only way to visit the interior of this wilderness’ western half without having to thrash your way cross-country. I did the Lone Pilot counter-clockwise starting from the Pilot Rock Trailhead, returning along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).  The last two miles of the trail before it reaches the PCT run along an old road atop Lone Pine Ridge. Maps show this old road also running down the ridge, into the Dutch Oven Creek drainage, and on east to the Skookum Creek drainage. I got curious as to how far down the ridge you could go on that old road before running into a nasty wall of Ceanothus. Today, with The LovedOne busy being a volunteer treasurer, was my chance to find out (I doubt she would have joined me for a potentially tick-infested bushwhack regardless).

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“Rhyolite Ridge” (Soda Mtn. Wilderness) 08-Apr-2018

Rhyolite Ridge Soda Mountain Wilderness Pilot Rock Oregon

The desire to test a new pack (Zpacks Nero), a tender knee, a break in our fickle Spring weather, and the need for some outdoors put us on a short hike to one of the many odd little destinations tucked away in Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon (4th Edition). In this instance it was to a viewpoint he calls Rhyolite Ridge, set on the side of Point 5401 just west of Pilot Rock off the Lone Pilot Trail. We could have made this a ridiculously short hike by starting at the Pilot Rock Trailhead but instead made it slightly longer by starting where the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crosses Pilot Rock Road (BLM Road 40-2E-33).

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