Swan Mountain (Red Buttes Wilderness) 06-Jul-2021

Swan Mountain (6,272 ft / 1,912 m) sits on the Siskiyou Crest just north of the Oregon unit of the Red Buttes Wilderness. I’d first reached its summit on a cold, crisp day during the snowless winter of 2015. The summit is an easy walk up from the Boundary Trail #1207 and the views from the top are – weather permitting – excellent. We tried for its summit last summer but were turned back by – what then – seemed like excessive heat (if we’d only known what was coming 😓). But in 2020 we’d gotten a late start due to the long drive to the western trailhead on Sucker Creek. This year we figured, what with the heat dome still pressing on us, to go for an earlier start from the eastern trailhead on Steve Fork. It worked, but just barely.

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A Sucker Hikes Every Heated Mile (Red Buttes Wilderness) 28-Jul-2020

The meadows and shelter shown below were threatened by the 157,270 acre Slater Fire, which started in September 2020 and wasn’t declared 100% contained until December 2020. Fortunately, rain arrived in October 2020 just in time to save the meadows and the shelter.

If “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results” (a quote usually attributed to Einstein but actually from a Rita Mae Brown novel), then we are nuttier than politicians during an election campaign. On a crisp, clear day in early 2015, I’d hiked up to Sucker Creek Gap, in the Oregon piece of the Red Buttes Wilderness, from Steve Fork to the east. I’d continued on from the gap to nearby Swan Mountain to enjoy expansive views from its summit.

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Swan Mountain (Red Buttes Wilderness) 25-Feb-2015

Swan Mountain Steve Fork Red Buttes Wilderness Oregon

Although most of the Red Buttes Wilderness is in Northern California, a small chunk of it is in Oregon, between Tanner Mountain and Sucker Creek Gap. The Steve Fork Trail or Steve’s Fork Trail (USFS #905) provides the shortest access to Sucker Creek Gap from the east side of the Siskiyou Crest. From the gap, it’s a short hike to views from Swan Mountain (which is, sadly, not in the designated wilderness area).

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