Middle Fork Trail #978

The Middle Fork Trail was within the perimeter of the 2008 Middle Fork Fire, which burned approximately 18,000 acres, dramatically changing the landscape in this area. Through the incredible work of the strong partnership between Siskiyou Mountain Club, REI, and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, 1,200 downed trees were cleared in 2016, making this trail passable, once again!

The Middle Fork Canyon was carved by glacial ice. The trail enters Sky Lakes Wilderness and follows the south bank of the river for 6 miles through large stands of hemlock and fir. Maple and alder are scattered throughout the bottom of the canyon and along the canyon walls. There are many good camping spots even though this may not be obvious from the trail. Over the final 2.5 miles, the trail climbs steeply out of the canyon to a junction with the Alta Lake Trail on Gopher Ridge.

A 30-mile loop is possible by linking the Alta Lake, Devils Peak Trail #984, Pacific Crest Trail #2000McKie Camp Trail #1089, and Halifax Trail. If the hiker is careful to avoid the lakes in the Seven Lakes Basin, the entire loop may be completed without encountering another party.

Water is available a short distance from the trail along most of its length.

Note: There is no horse feed in the canyon. Also, the lower segment of the Middle Fork Trail is usually accessible by May 15.

At a Glance

Open Season: June - October
Usage: Light
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply
Closest Towns:
  • Prospect, OR
Water: Not available. Surface water should be treated.
Information Center: High Cascades Ranger District

General Information

General Notes:
  • Connecting trails: Alta Lake Trail #979
  • Trail is not designed for: mountain bike, motorized bike, ATV, 4-wheel drive, barrier free


Use Middle Fork Trailhead


Day Hiking

Difficulty Level: More to Most Difficult

Horse Riding

Difficulty Level: More to Most Difficult

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
8.5 miles

  Elevation : 
3,500 feet - 6,200 feet range