Klamath Mountain Trail Conditions

And More Information

I am building this site as a repository of information on the trails of the Klamath Mountains in northern California, including current trail conditions.

These mountains include three major groups--the Marble Mountains, the Siskiyou Mountains, and the Trinity Alps--and a number of lesser ranges. For the present, the focus will be on furnishing information on trails administered by the Orleans Ranger District of the Six Rivers National Forest. The Orleans District is also responsible for trails in the Lower Trinity Ranger District, and in the Ukonom Ranger District of the Klamath National Forest. These areas include trails in the western part of the Marble Mountain Wilderness, the southern part of the Siskiyou Wilderness, the northwestern part of the Trinity Alps Wilderness, and nearby areas along the Klamath, Trinity, and Salmon Rivers.

Before starting your trip, it is always prudent to check with the office for the ranger district in which trails you plan to use are located for any further information they may have--but understand that staff may themselves not have full, up to date information on all trails, so do your homework.  For trails in the Orleans and Ukonom Districts, contact the Orleans Ranger Station at One Ishi Pishi Rd., Orleans, Calif.  95556, (530) 627-3291.  For trails in the Lower Trinity District, contact the Orleans Ranger Station or the Lower Trinity Ranger Station at 580 Highway 96, Willow Creek, Calif.  95573, (530) 629-2118.  When doing so, mention to staff the revision date of the PDF document you obtained from this site.

I always appreciate receiving corrections and additions to the information in these pages--or even just your confirmation that information on one of the trails here remains current and correct. I would also appreciate receiving your GPX tracks, for use in improving the KML files in these pages. Please send any information to me at CPVR144@gmail.com. And feel free to contact me if you have questions.  Thank you!

Trail Conditions

The following documents are currently available (follow the links):

o Trail Descriptions and Conditions, Orleans Ranger District . PDF, updated regularly with new information on trail conditions and maintenance status. This document covers Lower Trinity and Ukonom District trails, as well. Some of the major trails described include the Haypress Trail, the trail to Monument Lake, the Wooley Creek Trail, the Horse Trail Ridge Trail, and the trail to Mill Creek Lakes.

o Trail Report, Trinity Alps Wilderness, Shasta-Trinity National Forests Portion . PDF, dated 9/22/16, published by the U.S. Forest Service, unfortunately no longer being updated.

o Ukonom Ranger District Trail Mileage Chart . XLS, covering trail mileages in this portion of the Marble Mountain Wilderness.

Trails on Neighboring Districts

A few notes on how to find information on trail conditions in neighboring ranger districts:

o Gasquet R.D. (Smith River National Recreation Area)--The Six Rivers N.F. Web site has quite a bit of information on individual trails, but it has not been updated in a few years. From the forest's main page, click Recreation, then Hiking, then either Backpacking or Day Hiking (there being some overlap between these two categories). Either choice will bring up a list of links to pages on individual trails. A better choice for detailed information on selected trails in the district is the Smith River Alliance's trail guide at http://smithriveralliance.org/trail-guide/ . A KMZ file with paths that can be displayed with Google Earth Pro and compatible products is available here. However, the site is not regularly updated with reports on current trail conditions.

o Mad River R.D.--This district currently has no recreation staff. We know of no good source for written information on current trail conditions.

o Weaverville R.D. (including the former Big Bar R.D.)---This district had an active trail maintenance program for over 30 years--doing maintenance on about 200 miles of Trinity Alps Wilderness trails during the 2018 season. Unfortunately, the program was much reduced as of 2019. The maintenance backlog is likely to build quickly, as the district has hundreds of miles of trails. Staff do receive some help from packers. The then-manager of the wilderness program, Jim Holmes, formerly maintained a PDF file with information on the condition of Trinity Alps Wilderness trails within this district. This has not been revised since he retired at the end of the 2016 season. You can find the most recent revision on this Web site (see above). You can get recorded information by calling (530) 623-2121 and pressing 1. As of this writing, this had last been updated September 8, 2020, and included no information on specific trails.  Two Facebook groups receive a fair number of postings on Trinity Alps trail conditions, though they are the chaos typical of Facebook:

(1) www.facebook.com/trinityalpswilderness1984/

(2) www.facebook.com/groups/833529483700502/

o Salmon-Scott Rivers R.D.-This district, with hundreds of miles of trails, has an active trail maintenance program. There is a "Klamath National Forest Trail Access Report," a DOC file updated occasionally. It has its shortcomings, as it has little to say about interior trails. The destination file is not a stable Internet address, but you can reach the document by going to https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/klamath/recreation and clicking the link on the right hand column to "Klamath NF Trail Conditions." The most recent revision as of this writing was October 1, 2020.

o Happy Camp-Oak Knoll R.D.--This district's trail maintenance program is unfortunately much reduced in recent years.  This district also uses the "Klamath National Forest Trail Access Report," described above under the Salmon-Scott Rivers R.D.

Here's some selected information on the district's trails as of autumn 2020:  (1) the southern half of the Ukonom-Onemile Lakes Trail has been brushed out, (2) due to heavy brush, the northern half of that trail is considered impassable by some, and is certainly impassable for stock, though some hikers have been pushing their way through (3) the available alternate route is to use an old trail--not officially maintained, but passable and traversing open country--that crosses the low point in the saddle and connects with the Cuddihy-Onemile Lakes Trail, (4) the Johnsons Hunting Ground and Tickner Hole Trs. have extremely thick brush and fallen trees, there has been damage to the Tickner Hole Tr., and they are not recommended by district staff, (5) apparently the main part of Rainy Valley Trail has not been worked in recent years, and per staff there are "multiple logs blown down," (6) the Granite Creek Tr. from Norcross, and its spurs to the Granite Lakes, have been worked in 2020, but the maintained route crosses Elk Cr., follows the Rainy Valley Tr., and then crosses Elk Cr. again via the Hummingbird Camp Tie Tr. to continue up Granite Cr., (7) between those points, the Granite Creek Tr. on the west side of Elk Cr. has not been maintained, (8) from the end of the Granite Creek Tr., the route maintained in 2020 continues south along the Ukonom-Cuddihy Lakes Tr. to the junction with Haypress Tr., and (9) five logs, some of them troublesome, have already fallen between Norcross and Haypress Tr.

o The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forests have considerable trail information on the recreation pages of the forests' Web site. Visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou . The organization of the site may be a bit confusing, so you may need to hunt for information.

o The Siskiyou Mountain Club does considerable trail work, principally in the Siskiyou Mountains. The SMC maintains a very useful public record of the status of work it has performed at https://siskiyoumountainclub.org/trailfinder/ .  From that page, follow the link, "Check out the updated work log here."  This is quite a good supplement to other sources of trail condition information.

o For the Pacific Crest Trail, there are condition reports on the Pacific Crest Trail Association's Web site at https://www.pcta.org . However, the association is not good at keeping these reports up to date.

o Sometimes very useful trail condition reports can be found at https://www.hikingproject.com (REI's "Hiking Project"), but coverage is very spotty.

Other Information

o Recommended Day Hikes, Orleans, Ukonom, and Lower Trinity Ranger Districts (PDF)

o Fowler Cabin Journal, 2003-2018 . For many years, a journal has been kept at Fowler Cabin on Wooley Creek Tr. in the Marble Mountain Wilderness. Visitors are welcome to write something about themselves or their travels. The old journal, which was full and was deteriorating badly, was taken out at the end of the 2018 season, and has been replaced with a new volume. Here is a PDF scan of the volume that was in the cabin from 2003 through 2018.

KML Files

The following are KML files. These contain paths in KML format, tracing recreational trails, that can be opened in Google Earth Pro and compatible products. Once you save a file, and open it with Google Earth Pro, you can display paths selectively.  If you have added a map layer, you can print maps including those paths.

Several sources of topographic map layers for Google Earth Pro are available. The one I like best is Earth Point. Go to http://www.earthpoint.us/TopoMap.aspx. Click the "View On Google Earth" button to download a small KML file. When you open this in Google Earth Pro, it will dynamically download the topographic map layer for the area you have displayed. The Web page identified above includes further instructions for use of the topographic map layer.  All topographic maps, including historical maps, are available in KML format at the USGS Web site

Paths from the KML files can be converted to GPX tracks for use with most GPS devices.  Most GPS applications for mobile phones will import KML files directly.  Otherwise, you can find facilities on the Web that will convert KML files to GPX tracks.  (Google Earth will not do this directly.)  In the other direction, GPX tracks and many other GPS track file formats can be imported directly into Google Earth Pro, and converted to paths to be stored in KML files.

Note that KML files imported into GPS applications, or mapping applications other than Google Earth, may not display all colors and other information correctly.  It's up to the developer of an application to assure compatibility with Google Earth, since Google invented the KML format.  Not all have been 100% successful at it.

Here is a brief explanation of the format of the paths in my KML files:

o Trails on the current official U.S.F.S. list that should be regularly maintained are in red--bright red if I have personally done a careful job of plotting the routes, and dark red if I have only copied tracks of doubtful accuracy created by the U.S.F.S., or have only traced routes as shown on maps, which may not be correct. Please note that despite this classification, substantial parts of these trails haven't received maintenance in many years, and can be in very difficult condition. Please refer to the "Trail Descriptions and Conditions" document for the most recent known information on conditions.

o Trails shown in dark blue are unmaintained, unofficial, temporary bypass, or doubtful routes, or disappeared historical routes. Do not expect routes in dark blue to be usable--most are not.  Trails not officially maintained shown in bright blue have been confirmed to be usable, but may be rough and the locations shown may not be very accurate.

o Trails shown in pink are private, or lead to private property. Please respect property rights.

o Routes shown in green are suggested cross-country routes, not trails. These should be considered very rough guides for cross-country travel--please don't complain if they don't work out for you (although your feedback is always welcome).

o Routes shown in black are roads that are not shown on most topographical maps. Most are probably suitable for passenger cars, but please understand that forest road conditions fluctuate from year to year and season to season.

o Routes shown in brown are jeep trails that are not shown on most topographical maps.

As to all trails depicted in these files, please understand that the routes have been compiled from a combination of sources, including maps, personal observation, GPX tracks personally created or contributed by others, and aerial imagery. In many cases, this information has been deficient, and due to timber or brush cover, fire damage, or very light recent trail use, it has not been possible to discern locations accurately from aerial images. Therefore, please consider the paths in these KML files to be only a guide, and not the last word as to correct trail locations. They are not a substitute for good routefinding skills. However, I believe that by and large, these paths are more accurate than any published maps. Please note that many published maps of these areas include huge mistakes.

The following KML files are currently available (save or open in a helper program, will not display in browser):

o Marble Mountains trails (now virtually complete for the entire wilderness, and adjacent slopes to the rivers); you can also view this set of paths at https://caltopo.com/m/9DJG

o Trinity Alps trails, Orleans, Lower Trinity, and Ukonom Ranger Districts (virtually complete)

o Siskiyou Mountains trails, Orleans and Ukonom Ranger Districts (virtually complete)

o Other Lower Trinity District trails

This is not an official U.S. Forest Service document.

Chris Valle-Riestra

Revised April 10, 2021

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