Pilot Rock (near Ashland, Ore.)

Rating (Out of 5): 3.5

Location: Near Ashland, Ore.

Distance: 2.8 miles round-trip

Difficulty: moderate or very difficult

Camping: No

Quick hit: This trip to what's probably the most prominent feature in the Oregon Siskiyous could basically be classified as two different experiences. There's the hike, and the climb/scramble to the summit. They are quite different.

The hike starts at a rock quarry where an old road has been barricaded. Hike .8 miles along the old road until you reach the old trailhead, which is marked by a sign, which also points to the Pacific Crest Trail nearby. From there, it's a steep uphill but short hike to Pilot Rock itself. There are a number of great views around the base of Pilot Rock.

For those interested in climbing to the summit, be prepared for a mildly terrifying scramble. The route is a Class 3/4 scramble-climb, meaning that you have to pull yourself up in some places and a fall could mean serious trouble. People have died falling from Pilot Rock.

To do it, follow a trail circling around the Pilot Rock to the left. Eventually you'll reach a crevasse in the rock. Follow this narrow and very steep slice in the rock, using your hands to pull yourself up in a few places. The climb isn't exactly difficult if you're in good shape, but it's very steep and can be nerve-wracking if you're not a regular climber. The view at the top is amazing, though, looking out to the south at Mount Shasta and the valley.

Directions: Take Interstate 5 to Mount Ashland exit 6. Follow Mount Ashland pointers onto old Highway 99, paralleling the freeway south. After .7 miles, go straight under the freeway, following the old highway another 1.2 miles under a bridge of I-5. Turn left at Pilot Rock Road and follow this rough road past a Pacific Crest Trail marker to an old rock quarry on the right. This is the parking area. The trail begins where an old trail used to run.

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