Butte Fork Trail (Red Buttes Wilderness) 24-Jan-2015

Butte Fork Trail Red Buttes Wilderness California

While we have an admitted preference for loops with a view (and maybe a summit), we were drawn to this out-and-back hike in deep forest on the Butte Fork Trail (USFS #957) specifically because it is in a deep, old growth forest, one that Ruediger (in his The Siskiyou Crest, page 130) calls “…the wildest and most pristine region of the eastern Siskiyou Mountains.” Being in the shady forest, and leading as it does to wonderful little Azalea Lake, this would be a great summer hike or backpack (Hike #155 in Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon, Third Edition (2014)).

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Azalea Lake from Fir Glade (Red Buttes Wilderness) 29-May-2014

Azalea Lake Fir Glade Red Buttes Wilderness California

There are a lot of trails and hiking opportunities in the mountains west of Medford, so we let the presence of a lake (which are not plentiful in the Siskiyous) guide our choice for our first hike in this area (#68 in Sullivan’s Southern Oregon hiking guide (Third Edition)). And, unlike Wednesday’s snow storms, this day was full bluebird – clear, sunny, about 70ºF, gentle breezes. The roads – both paved and gravel – to the Fir Glade Trailhead off Forest Road 1040-800 in Oregon were in great shape and we were soon on our way to wonderful little Azalea Lake. {UPDATE: The area around Azalea Lake was burned by the 2017 Knox Fire.}

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