The Crater Lake Wilderness coalition wishes Crater Lake National Park a happy 111th birthday today. It was on this date in 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt signed into law Crater Lake as the nation's fifth National Park. While Crater Lake may be Oregon's only National Park, what a park it is.
With hiking season upon us and summer just around the corner, today's anniversary is the perfect time to announce the coalition's summer calendar of hikes and outings to the proposed Crater Lake Wilderness. These hikes, along with a service trip and photography workshop, are not only intended as social outings and a chance to stretch your legs in some of the most scenic terrain in Southern Oregon, but also as a means to highlight the natural gems in the greater Crater Lake region proposed for Wilderness protection.
Some of these treks lie within the boundaries of Crater Lake National Park, while others explore the scenic vistas and wildlife corridors stretching outside the park's boundaries. The outings are designed to feature the most scenic and unique wonders in the region, as well as threatened areas in the proposed Crater Lake Wilderness.
Almost all of these hikes are free and open to the public. With some exceptions, hikers in reasonable condition should find all of these outings at easy to moderate levels of exertion.
June 1st: Green Springs MountainWild Area – Join local Rogue River valley naturalists in exploring the ecologically diverse Green Springs Mountain Wild Area in Jackson County. This trek is typically a moderate hike (depending on the date), ranging from three to five miles with some off-trail hiking, and sometimes including the Pacific Crest Trail. Additional trips to this area will be held on June 9th and June 29th.
June 15th: Grizzly Peak – Wildflowers and local ecology are the focus of this moderate, six-mile hike up this iconic 5,920 ft. Jackson County summit with incredible views of the Rogue Valley, made all the more popular by being located in Ashland's "front yard."
June 29th: Donegan Prairie Hike – Explore the wildflower meadows along the Rogue-Umpqua Divide on this easy 3.7 mile hike. This trip also includes a bonus excursion to one of Douglas County's most unusual natural features, the Cowhorn Arch.
July 6th: Grizzly Peak Fire Ecology Hike – Join the team from KS Wild and local fire ecology expert Dennis Odion for a moderate, four to five mile round-trip hike around the rim of Grizzly Peak, in the BLM's Medford district.
July 20th: Garfield Peak – This Crater Lake National Park trail offers one of the best vistas of namesake Crater Lake, as it gains 1,000 ft. of elevation over a three mile round trip. Oregon Wild will be leading this hike up Garfield Peak, named by President Theodore Roosevelt for James Garfield, the man who would become his Interior Secretary in 1907.
July 27th: Twin Lakes – Join fellow wilderness advocates and outdoor fans for a scenic five mile hike to the Twin Lakes portion of the Crater Lake Wilderness proposal. This trail offers views of the area's lakes and meadows, and with only 500 ft. in elevation gain, this is an easy outing.
August 17th: North Umpqua River Trail – A spectacular six-mile round trip outing through old-growth forest along the North Umpqua River, encompassing several waterfalls and 500 ft. of elevation gain.
August 29th to September 2nd (Labor Day Weekend): Crater Lake Wilderness and Klamath Refuge Service Weekend – Enjoy and explore the trails, old-growth forest and waterfalls of the proposed Crater Lake Wilderness, and spend Saturday the 31st assisting Klamath Refuge staff with the removal of barbed wire fence at the Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. This weekend outing involves three to four miles of hiking per day, and moderate physical exercise.
August 31st: Mount Bailey Summit Hike – A classic Cascades hike, the summit of Mount Bailey offers epic views of Mount Thielsen, Diamond Lake, Crater Lake National Park, and the spine of the Southern Cascades. With 3,000 ft. in elevation gain in only five miles, this can be a strenuous outing, but also endlessly rewarding.
September 4th to 5th: "Chasing the Light at Crater Lake" Photography Workshop – Led by Robert Mutch, the Crater Lake Institute's professional photographer, you'll learn tips on how to best frame the ultimate shot of the spectacular Crater Lake landscape over the course of this two-day excursion.
September 14th: Castle Creek – Led by KS Wild, this late-summer hike will delight hikers with its cool waters and a natural bridge. Along one of the tributaries of the Rogue River, the Castle Creek trek will explore the edge of Crater Lake National Park with a two to three mile trek, some of which is off-trail.
September 28th: Mount Thielsen Summit Hike – One of the most uniquely sculpted peaks in the Cascade range, views from the summit of the "lightning rod of the Cascades" include Crater Lake National Park, Mount Bailey, Diamond Lake, and the entirety of the Southern Cascades. Like Mount Bailey, this is a strenuous undertaking. With 3,800 ft. in elevation gain and a round trip of 10 miles, this is the most demanding hike listed here. It is also infinitely rewarding, and a hike you'll be bragging about all winter.
To get more information, photographs, or sign up for this year's slate of Crater Lake Wilderness hikes and outings, go to the Crater Lake Wilderness Facebook page: www.facebook.com/CraterLakeWilderness. You can also visit Environment Oregon's Protect Crater Lake page at www.environmentoregon.org/programs/ore/protect-crater-lake.
The Crater Lake Wilderness coalition members include: Environment Oregon, Umpqua Watershed's Wild on Wilderness Committee, Oregon Wild, KS Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, National Parks Conservation Association, The Crater Lake Institute, and Soda Mountain Wilderness Council.