Rattlesnake Mountain Loop (Rogue-Ump. Divide Wild.)

Rating (Out of 5): 3.5

Location: Near Prospect, Ore.

Distance: 6 mile loop

Difficulty: moderate/hard

Camping: Yes

Quick hit: Summer wildflowers and a stunning overlook highlight this loops which takes hikers to the second-highest peak in the Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness. Views of Mount Thielsen and Crater Lake are highlights along the trail.

The loop is not highly difficult but it combines a few trails to make sure to bring a map. The loop begins at a Trailhead sign 100 feet up the road from the parking pullout. The sign doesn’t say anything about Rattlesnake Mountain, but does mention a junction with Whitehorse Meadows. Follow this trail, along Fish Creek, for about .8 miles, then turn left onto a more obvious trail heading northwest. Follow this trail for one mile as it gains 650 feet to Windy Gap. Turn right on a well-marked Rattlesnake Mountain Trail and climb 1,000 feet over 1.4 miles to near the summit with great views of Crater Lake and Mountain Thielsen along the way. Once you reach a junction near the summit, turn left at a junction and follow the trail to its end at a large stack of rocks. Continue off-trail past the stack of rocks, across a meadow, through a few pines trees to a high point that marks the 6,656 foot summit. The view here is astonishing and sheer. Be careful because the cliffs drop almost vertically below.

To complete the loop, head back to Windy Gap. Then take a trail labeled for Castle Creek .4 miles through a nice forest, and turn left at an obvious sign pointing to Fish Creek Road. One mile takes you back to the parking area.

Directions: Take Oregon Highway 62 from Medford past Prospect. Continue past the turn off for Crater Lake onto Highway 230 toward Diamond Lake. At mile post 12, turn left onto Fish Creek Valley Road for 4.2 miles. Fork left at Incense Cedar Loop Road for 2.8 miles, then turn left on Road 870 (the sign is in horrible shape so watch you odometer). Follow this road 4.2 miles past a few trailheads. The one you’re looking for is a small sign on the side of the road, 100 yards before a large parking pullout. To start the loop described above, walk back to the Trailhead just up the road.

For more info: http://books.google.com/books?id=F4lQk8l-9hkC&pg=PA125&lpg=PA125&dq=rattlesnake+mountain+rogue+umpqua+divide&source=bl&ots=1lVJ5jQO-y&sig=2-VkXYLeyiLofTLwy0boiRElsm8&hl=en#v=onepage&q=rattlesnake%20mountain%20rogue%20umpqua%20divide&f=false

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