Bigelow Lake (near Oregon Caves National Monument)
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|Rating (Out of 5): 3.0 |
Location: Near Cave Junction, Ore.
Distance: From Oregon Caves, 9 miles round-trip; from Sturgis Fork Trailhead, 5 miles
Quick hit: A series of trails surround this wild, biologically diverse mountain lake in the Siskiyou Mountains. The best entry point is at the Oregon Caves National Monument, which leads you on a hike through toward a glacier-carved valley that's home to Bigelow Lake and Little Bigelow Lake. The larger one has a few places to camp along the shorelines, and there's a fantastic amount of wildflowers. There's other entry points, including the Bigelow Lake trail that's only .5 miles to the lake, but it is tougher to access on the road. See other entry points below.
Directions: Oregon Caves National Monument (49 miles from Grants Pass, easy accessibility): Follow Highway 199 south from Grants Pass 29 miles to Cave Junction. Follow "Oregon Caves" pointers east on Highway 46 for 20 miles.
Bigelow Lake Trailhead (52 miles from Grants Pass, moderate accessibility): Just as you enter the Oregon Caves National Monument parking lot, take a left onto fire road 960. The road starts out paved but becomes dirt after 100 yards. After 1.5 to 2 miles, take a right at a "T" intersection. Continue less than mile to a "Y" intersection and take a right. The trailhead is on the side of the road. Maps can be found at the Oregon Caves.
Sturgis Fork Trailhead (34 miles from Grants Pass, moderate/tough accessibility): Drive south on Highway 238 for 18 miles to green steel bridge just before town of Applegate. Take a right on Thompson Creek Road for 11.9 miles. When the pavement ends, take a right onto Forest Road 1020, follow "Sturgis Fork" sign to the right. Continue for 3.3 miles and then turn right onto Forest Road 600 for 0.6 of a mile. Then fork left for 200 yards to Sturgis Fork Trailhead.