PCNST #2000 - Griffin Pass to State Highway 140


East of Interstate 5, this section of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail enters the volcanic mountains of the Cascade Range. Following a northeast path after crossing Highway 66 northeast (skirting the south shores of the Hyatt Lake and Howard Prairie Lake reservoirs and other lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management), the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail re-enters the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest at Griffin Pass.

After rounding the slopes of Old Baldy, a small long-extinct volcano that once had a fire lookout on its summit, the trail turns northward. It eventually crosses Dead Indian Memorial Road, one of the first wagon roads to cross the southern Cascade Range. From Old Baldy to the South Fork of Little Butte Creek, the trail passes through gentle terrain covered with pine and fir forests; some portions of this plateau were logged as long ago as the 1940s, some of it as recently as the 1980s.

North of the South Fork of Little Butte Creek, the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail winds through the raw volcanic landscape of the Brown Mountain Lava Fields. The seemingly endless expanse of jagged rock proved quite a challenge to Forest Service trail builders in the 1970s-80s. Geologists estimate that Brown Mountain’s lava dates to around 20,000 years ago, which is quite recent in geological terms. Just south of Highway 140, the High Lakes Trail crosses the Pacific Crest Trail, leading to Fish Lake to the west and Lake of the Woods to the east. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail hugs the spine of the volcanic Cascade Range, which are gentle in some places and jagged in others. The summit of Devil's Peak offers a stunning view of the Seven Lakes Basin below it, to the north, and the glacier-carved canyon of the Middle Fork of the Rogue beyond. After leaving the lake basin, the trail passes near the headwaters of the Middle Fork, Ranger Springs, well worth a side trip to fill up with ice-cold water and enjoy the cool temperatures next to the springs.

From the lava flows, there are good views of Brown Mountain. The trail winds along the western flank of Brown Mountain crossing rugged lava flows on a cinder trail surface. There are good views of Brown Mountain, Robinson Butte, and Mt. McLoughlin in this section. Alternating between thick stands of mixed conifer forest and open vistas, the trail also passes several isolated stands of quaking aspen. During the late summer huckleberries are abundant the last two miles of the trail. There are no water sources along the way.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Visit www.pcta.org for conditions, information, and maps.
Open Season: June - October
Usage: Light
Closest Towns:
  • Ashland, OR
  • Medford, OR
Water: Not available. Surface water should be treated.
Restroom: None
Information Center: High Cascades Ranger District

General Information


Access Highway 140: From Ashland, OR, drive east on State Highway 66 to Dead Indian Memorial Highway. Turn left on to Dead Indian Memorial Highway, and follow for 22 miles to the junction with Forest Road 37 (Big Elk Road). Turn left on to Forest Road 37 and proceed 8 miles to the junction with State Highway 140. Turn right on to State Highway 140 and continue 4.2 miles to Forest Road 3650 (just past the Klamath County Line sign). Turn left on to Forest Road 3650 and turn left immediately onto Forest Road 010. Follow Forest Road 010 to the large parking area. Horse hitching racks and toilet facilities are available at this trailhead. A short 0.2 mile access trail on the west end of the parking area leads to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.

Access Forest Road 700: From Ashland, OR, follow Dead Indian Memorial Highway for 31 miles to Forest Road 3720. Turn left on to Forest Road 3720 and go 2 miles to Forest Road 700. Turn right onto Forest Road 700 and continue 0.4 mile to where the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail crosses the road. Parking is available for two vehicles between the Forest Road 500 and the trail.

Access Dead Indian Memorial Highway: From Ashland, OR, follow the Dead Indian Memorial Highway for 32 miles to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail trailhead. Parking is available for 7 or 8 vehicles.

General Notes:



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  Area/Length : 
13.3 miles

  Elevation : 
5,100 feet - 5,200 feet range