One of the best hikes in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest! Spectacular wildflowers, old-growth trees, rugged and steep river canyons and a wide variety of wildlife are just a few of the natural treasures you'll find on the Illinois River Trail. Fishing can be quite good at times, especially in late fall or early winter. The low elevations of the trial (within 10 miles or so of either trailhead) are open during most of the winter, but travel over higher elevations, like Bald Mountain will be snowed in.
The Illinois River trail offers a trip through the north end of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. It is a fairly difficult trail, especially near Bald Mountain, but offers breathtaking views of the rugged canyon. In late May through July various wildflowers are in bloom.
East end of trail is at Oak Flat near Briggs Creek. The west end of the trail is at Oak Flat near Agness.
The Gold Beach Ranger District's portion (West End) of the Illinois River Trail was designated as a National Recreation Trail because of it's outstanding scenic qualities and it's association with the Illinois Wild and Scenic River. The Illinois River was added to the National Wild and Scenic River System in October 1984. The trail offers a unique and valuable recreation opportunity as it passes through a natural area that has been remarkably untouched by man's activities. Although this trail can be followed for 28 miles, a short 2.5 mile hike takes you to Buzzards Roost for a breathtaking view of the rugged wilderness and Illinois Wild and Scenic River canyon.
No motorized or mechanized equipment (i.e. mountain bikes) are allowed past Fantz Ranch or in the Wilderness. These vehicles are seasonally allowed as far as Fantz Ranch only between September 16 and May 14 of each year.
There are camping spots along the trail and at either end. There are several side trails intersecting this trail.
This trail offers backpacking, botanical observation, fishing, interpretative opportunities,wildlife observation, berry picking, wildflower viewing, and horseback riding opportunities.
A new bridge was built in 2005 across Silver Creek to replace one destroyed in the Biscuit Fire of 2002. The bridge will accommodate foot traffic as well as pack and saddle users. The bridge was re-located above the seasonal flow of the creek and should be useable year-long.
This trail is located in the Biscuit Fire area that burned in the year 2002. Although Forest Service trail crews have been repairing and maintaining many of the affected trails since the Biscuit Fire, visitors should take into consideration (because of the substantially increased risk of fire-killed snags falling) that travel and camping may be more difficult and require greater concern for safety.
At a Glance
||03/15/2013: No current conditions report available.
||Spring - Fall
||Gold Beach, OR
||Not available. Surface water should be treated.
Use Illinois River Trailhead-West End
East: From Grants Pass go south on Highway 199 (Redwood Highway) 18 miles to Selma. Turn right at the Post Office (yellow flashing light) on to County road 5070 (Illinois River Road) which becomes Forest Service road 4103. The road is paved only short distance past Store Gulch. The remainder of the road is gravel/dirt often with pot holes. The last few miles get more narrow and rugged and high clearance vehicles are suggested. The road ends at the trailhead. There are some junctions to private property in the Oak Flat area. At the junction with Forest Service road 4105, stay to the left on 4103.