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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Rhyolite Point (Southwest Oregon) 15-Apr-2020

Keeping with local, short, and simple (but interesting) brought us to Rhyolite Point on the edge of the Soda Mountain Wilderness for a four mile hike. From a pull-out on the road to the Pilot Rock trailhead, we went south (which is really NOBO) on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) for a bit, then cross-country over Rhyolite Point (Point 5401 on the map), then down and along the PCT to a viewpoint for Mount McLoughlin, then back along the PCT to the trailhead. Except for three hikers who passed us on the PCT (at a distance since we were off-trail looking at flowers), we were alone for the day.

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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). This loop around Rhyolite Ridge with an out-and-back to Porcupine Mountain on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) affords views of Mount Ashland, Mount Shasta and surrounding peaks, Pilot Rock, Soda Mountain, and Mount McLoughlin. Maybe – just maybe – this was our last dirt hike of the season and frozen goodness will soon fly from the sky. Anything to stop the piteous whining coming from our snowshoes in the garage. 🙄

Cresting Rhyolite Ridge
The view from Rhyolite Ridge [The Whaleback (w), Mt. Shasta (s), Black Mountain (bm), Black Butte (bb), Mount Eddy (e), China Mountain (c)]. The haze filling the valley is from slash pile burns and uncertified wood stoves. 😦
Mount Shasta from Rhyolite Ridge
Pilot Rock from below Rhyolite Ridge
A bear paw in the clouds over Porcupine Mountain
Pilot Rock and clouds from Porcupine
A snow-free Mount McLoughlin from Porcupine
A snow-free Mount Ashland from Porcupine
Returning along the PCT near Point 5241
Our track to and from Porcupine (camera symbol is Rhyolite Ridge)