Home > Oregon > Pilot Rock
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Agency:Bureau of Land Management
Location:Just of I-5 south of Ashland, Oregon, near the Siskiyou Summit.
Difficulty:Moderate
Distance:2 miles (round trip)
High Point:5,910 feet
Updated:Aug 1997
Season:Spring, summer and fall

Description

Not a particularly strenuous hike, but requires scrambling up to a very exposed point. From the parking lot the route is obvious; just go uphill. Wear shoes with decent traction as the middle part of the trail is steep, eroded, and gravelly. Continue until you reach a spot right beneath the rock where you will have to cantilever yourself up about 6 feet. It will require some agility to do this. If you can touch your toes, you'll probably be okay.

After you get past that point, the work is done, and it's an easy scramble to the rounded top of the rock. The views of the Siskiyous, Cascades, and the southern Rogue River valley are ample reward for the short trip up from Ashland.

Access

Drive south of Ashland on I-5 and get off the freeway at exit 5 (just north of the OR/CA border). Head towards Mount Ashland, but rather than continuing up the Mount Ashland Road, go under the freeway and continue south on Frontage Road. The trailhead is along Frontage Road, but why hike the trail through cow pastures and private land. Instead, turn left (east) up a gravel road about 1 mile from the I-5 overpass. Bear right at every cross road and you will reach the base of Pilot Rock in about 2 miles.

Geology

Visible from much of the Shasta Valley in northern California, and parts of Oregon’s Rogue Valley, Pilot Rock provides viewers with a look at the inside of a volcano. Over time, the exterior volcano eroded away, leaving behind the now cooled magma of the ancient volcano’s central vent. Fossil sites in the vicinity of Pilot Rock contain leaf impressions and conifer cones that became embedded in volcanic ash beds 25-35 million years ago.

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