Mt. McLoughlin Trail #3716

Mt. Mcloughlin Banner Image

Mt. McLoughlin is located within the Sky Lakes Wilderness. The 5-mile long trail to the summit of Mt. McLoughlin begins as a moderate hike through stands of conifers, and as hikers increase their elevation, the trail winds through rocky terrain. Those who summit this Cascade Range peak are treated to 360 degree views that are unrivaled!

We encourage everyone who wishes to climb this amazing mountain to familiarize themselves with the information included in this poster:

Ascending Mt. McLoughlin: The hike from the trailhead to the top of the peak involves an elevation gain of about 4,000 feet. There is no water along the summit trail; carry enough liquids for your needs! After the trail leaves the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail behind (approximately 1.5 miles from the parking lot trailhead), the trail ascends through a boulder-strewn forest. Watch for blazed trees that function as trail markers! Above the timberline, piled-up rock cairns mark the route to the ridgetop summit route. Along the ridge, the trail is marked by the old Forest Service telephone poles which lead to the top. Due to steep slopes, poor footing and coarse bare rock, horses are not recommended for the Mt. McLoughlin Trail above its junction with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.

Descending Mt. McLoughlin: The trail can be difficult to follow during the descent, particularly if it is getting late and the light is fading. Stay alert for trail blazes and familiar landmarks. Look back up the trail occasionally; this may help you stay on it as you go down. If you lose the trail and cannot find it again, the best direction to travel would be to the east or southeast (which will take you either to the Pacific Crest Trail or to Highway 140).

CAUTION! Each year, a number of people become disoriented or lost on the way back down, usually due to coming down a different route than they used when climbing the mountain. As tempting as it may seem to descend the sandy, cinder slope on the south side of the mountain, the lower you go on this slope, the farther away you are from the trail. Once down to timberline, it is a 2 mile, boulder-hopping hike northeast back to the trail.

To avoid getting lost and disoriented, hikers should return back down the ridge, keeping the poles in sight until the trail leaves the ridge.

Know Before You Go: Although summertime weather is usually mild at the mountain's base, the summit is subject to cold winds, driving rains, lightning and snow storms. Be prepared for weather changes, and know the symptoms and treatment of hypothermia. Bring along warm, rain-repellent clothing.


  • Want the Map on Your Phone?

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    Use this QR code to get you directly to Avenza Maps, where you can download the Mt. McLoughlin Trail Map for FREE. It'll help you stick to the trail on your descent, making your whole adventure a bit safer!

At a Glance

  • $5/day per vehicle
  • Passes are accepted (Northwest Forest Pass and America the Beautiful passes)
Open Season: Summer - Fall
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Closest Towns:
  • Butte Falls, OR
  • Medford, OR
  • Ashland, OR
  • Klamath Falls, OR
Water: Not available. Surface water should be treated.
Information Center: High Cascades Ranger District

General Information

General Notes:
  • Connecting trails: Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail
  • Trail is not designed for: pack and saddle, mountain bike, motorized bike, ATV, 4-wheel drive, barrier free


From Klamath Falls, OR, drive west on US Highway 140 approximately 35 miles. Turn right on Forest Road 3661 (Four Mile Lake Road), and proceed 2.4 miles to Forest Road 3650, turning left. Trailhead parking is approximately 0.25 mile from intersection.

From Medford, OR, travel north approximately 5.6 miles on State Highway 62 (Crater Lake Highway) to White City, OR. Turn right (east) onto State Highway 140, and continue for approximately 35.7 miles. Turn left onto Forest Road 3661 (Four Mile Lake Road), and proceed 2.4 miles to Forest Road 3650, turning left. Trailhead parking is approximately 0.25 mile from intersection.


Mountain Climbing

Day Hiking

Difficulty Level: More Difficult

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
10 miles (roundtrip)

  Elevation : 
5,100 feet - 9,495 feet range