Pacific Northwest Region Viewing Area
LOCATION and PHOTOS
High Lakes Trail
Forest: Fremont-Winema and Rogue-Siskiyou National Forests
District: Ashland and Klamath Ranger Districts
Description: The High Lakes Trail offers many opportunities, from a short hike along the Great Meadow to an 11-mile “out and back” mountain bike ride across the Cascade Crest between Fish Lake and Lake of the Woods. On the trail you will experience the harsh, yet beautiful lava flows of Brown Mountain and view the symmetrical shape of Mt. McLoughlin, the highest peak in the southern Oregon Cascades at 9495 feet above sea level.
Viewing Information: The wildflower display at the Great Meadow area in late spring and summer is spectacular thanks to small camas (Camassia quamash), ash penstemon (Penstemon cinicola), Chamisso arnica (Arnica chamissonis), giant red paintbrush (Castilleja miniata), and shooting star (Dodecateon sp.). At Lake of the Woods you’ll find Calypso orchid (Calypso bulbosa) and Trillium (Trillium ovatum) in the spring. Green-flowered ginger (Asarum wagneri) is found only in these southern Cascade mountains. Also in the Forest, you’ll find the delicate twinflower (Linnaea borealis) with its “twin” pink flowers, Queen cup bead lily (Clintonia uniflora), and the western coralroot (Corallorhiza mertensiana), another member of the orchid family. Along the edge of the forest and trail, look for sky rocket (Gilia aggregate), wooly sunflower (Eriophyllum lanatum) and snowbrush (Ceanothus velutinus).
Safety First: The lava flow areas can become very warm during the summer months, so carry plenty of water. The Cascade Canal, if running, may provide you with a cool spot, but the water is unsafe to drink. The trail is easy between Great Meadow and Brown Mountain trailheads, and more difficult between Brown Mountain and Fish Lake trailheads.
Directions: From the Ashland Ranger Station, take Hwy. 66 east 0.5 mile and turn left onto Dead Indian Memorial Highway and follow for 22 miles to the junction with Forest Road 37. Turn left and proceed 8 miles to Hwy 140. Turn right and travel 2 miles to the Fish Lake turnoff. Turn right and proceed to the trailhead at the Fish Lake boat ramp parking lot. For Lake of the Woods trailheads, proceed 6 miles east on Highway 140.
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Fremont-Winema and Rogue-Siskiyou National Forests, Ashland and Klamath Ranger Districts.
Closest Town: Ashland, Oregon.