Payette Trail #970

This scenic trail parallels the eastern shoreline of the Applegate Lake, contouring just above the reservoirs high water level. Several connecting trails provide opportunities for alternate loops. Additionally, three walk-in campgrounds are found along the route including Latgawa Campground, Harr Point Campground, and Tipsu Tyee Campground. The camping facilities have restrooms, picnic tables and fire grills. Water is not available at the campgrounds or on the trail. Poison oak, ticks, and an occasional rattlesnake are hazards to be aware of.

Attractions and Considerations: Beginning at French Gulch Campground, the trail contours above the French Arm of the Applegate Lake. Passing through a mixed conifer and hardwood forest, the trail continues along the shoreline for 3.5 miles to the parking area at Squaw Arm. The trail intersects a fire road. Options for following either the road or trail exist for approximately 2 miles before arriving at Squaw Arm parking area. From the parking area, follow the stock driveway south for 400 feet to rejoin the Payette Trail on the right. From this location, Harr Point Campground is 0.5 mile, Tipsu Tyee Campground 1.5 miles, and Manzanita trailhead 5.7 miles.

Good views of the Applegate Lake, Kinney and Collings Mountains are offered on this section of trail, ending at Payette Trailhead-Manzanita. Vine maple, black oak, and Madrone become the predominant tree species.

Attractions and Considerations: Fall foliage colors can be glorious on portions of this trail, when the vine maple and black oaks turn colors.

This trail is not designed for use by horses, motorized bikes or ATVs. As this is a multi-user trail, prepare to yield to other user groups. Use caution on blind corners.

Prepare for your hike! Carry plenty of water, as there is no water along this trail.

At a Glance

Open Season: Year Round
Usage: Medium
Closest Towns:
  • Ruch, OR
  • Medford, OR
  • Grants Pass, OR
Water: Not available. Surface water should be treated.
Information Center: Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District

General Information


Access Point #1 (French Trailhead): From Ruch, OR, travel south on Upper Applegate Road for 14.8 miles, and turn left onto French Gulch Road (County Road 959). Crossing the dam, proceed for 1 mile to the French Gulch Trailhead.

Access Point #2 (Squaw Creek Arm): From French Gulch Trailhead, continue on FS Road 1075 for 2 miles to FS Road 100, and turn right. Proceed 0.5 mile to the large parking area on the left.

Access Point #3 (Manzanita Trailhead): From Ruch, OR, travel south on Upper Applegate Road for 18.8 miles to the junction with Carberry Creek Road (County Road 777) and turn left (southeast). Continue 1 mile to FS Road 1041 (Manzanita Creek Road). Turn left and proceed 2 miles to the trailhead. Parking is available in a cul-de-sac at the end of the road, next to the gate.

General Notes:


Mountain Biking

Difficulty Level: More Difficult

Day Hiking

Difficulty Level: More Difficult

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
9.2 miles

  Elevation : 
2,000 feet