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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Green Valley to Mount Elijah (Oregon) 31-Jul-2019

We returned from the East to find the Rogue Valley buried in smoke from the Mile 97 Fire burning to the north.  The smoke was thick enough to abort our first attempt at landing.  We made it in on the second try after returning to Portland to refuel.  By today, aggressive firefighting had brought the Mile 97 to bay and the smoke had diminished.  Leaving The LovedOne to her air conditioned library duties, I headed to the Siskiyou Crest to do an out-and-back from Green Valley to Mount Elijah on the Boundary Trail #1207.

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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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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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