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All about Mount McLoughlin - Oregon's Cascade Range

Mount McLoughlin, also known as Mount Pitt, is a prominent peak located in Southern Oregon. It is situated in the Cascade Range, within the Sky Lakes Wilderness Area, near the border with California. The mountain is a popular destination for hikers, climbers, and outdoor enthusiasts, offering breathtaking views, challenging terrain, and abundant wildlife.

Mount McLoughlin

While Mt. McLoughlin may not be one of the best-known peaks in the Pacific Northwest, it's well worth visiting and hiking.

Mount McLoughlin: At a Glance

  • Height: 9,495 feet (2,894 meters)

  • Last Eruption: The mountain is believed to have been active during the Pleistocene epoch, around 30,000 to 300,000 years ago, and has since been dormant.

  • Type of Volcano: Stratovolcano.

  • Interesting Fact: Mount McLoughlin is the fifth-highest peak in Oregon and one of the most recognizable landmarks in the region.

History of Mount McLoughlin

The name Mount McLoughlin is said to honor John McLoughlin, a fur trader and administrator who played a significant role in the history of the Pacific Northwest. The mountain was first explored by Europeans in the early 1800s, and it has since been a site of mining, logging, and recreation.

Today, Mount McLoughlin is part of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, established in 2000 to protect the area's natural and cultural resources.

Hiking Mount McLoughlin

Hiking to the summit of Mount McLoughlin is a popular activity, although it is a strenuous and technical climb that requires proper preparation and equipment. The standard route follows the south ridge, which starts at the parking lot of the Pacific Crest Trailhead and ascends through a series of switchbacks, scree slopes, and rocky outcrops. The climb is about 5.5 miles (8.9 km) one way and can take 6 to 10 hours round trip, depending on the pace and conditions.

The views from the summit of Mount McLoughlin are stunning, with panoramic vistas of the Cascade Range, the Rogue Valley, and the surrounding wilderness. On a clear day, hikers can see as far as Mount Shasta in California, Mount Hood in Oregon, and the Pacific Ocean. The summit is also a great spot for wildlife watching, as it is home to a variety of birds, mammals, and plants adapted to the alpine environment.

Besides hiking, Mount McLoughlin offers other outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, boating, and skiing. The Sky Lakes Wilderness Area, which encompasses over 116,000 acres (47,000 hectares) of pristine forests, lakes, and meadows, provides opportunities for solitude and adventure. Visitors can explore the trails, swim in the lakes, and observe wildlife, such as black bears, elk, deer, and coyotes.

To Do Nearby

  1. Fishing: There are several lakes and streams near Mt McLoughlin that offer great fishing opportunities. Fish species include rainbow trout, brown trout, and bass.

  2. Camping: Several campgrounds near Mt McLoughlin offer campsites with stunning views of the mountain. The most popular campgrounds are discussed below!

  3. Skiing and snowboarding: During the winter months, Mt McLoughlin is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding. The Mt Ashland Ski Area is located nearby and offers several runs for all skill levels.

  4. Rafting and kayaking: The Rogue River, which flows near Mt McLoughlin, offers great opportunities for rafting and kayaking. There are several outfitters in the area that offer guided trips.

  5. Scenic drives: Several scenic drives near Mt McLoughlin offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is a popular route that takes you through several lakes and forests.

  6. Wildlife viewing: Mt McLoughlin is home to several species of wildlife, including black bears, cougars, and bald eagles. There are several areas near the mountain where you can spot these animals in their natural habitat.

  7. Rock climbing: Several areas near Mt McLoughlin offer great opportunities for rock climbing. The granite cliffs in the area are popular among climbers of all skill levels.

Camping Near Mt. McLoughlin

Whiskey Springs Campground

The Whiskey Springs Campground is in Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest near Butte Falls, Oregon. It has a few basic amenities, including vault toilets and drinking water. There is also a nature trail within the campground. Visitors should know that there are no electric sites here.

Fourbit Ford Campground

This campground is also in Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. It's located along Fourbit Creek and is rather remote. There is no drinking water, but this site isn't far from Whiskey Springs, where you can get water. There is only one vault toilet in the campground and no electricity.

Sunset Campground - Lake of the Woods

This campground is in Fremont-Winema National Forest, around 40 miles from Klamath Falls, Oregon. It's located along Lake of the Woods, a popular lake in the area. It's also well known for its view of Mt. McLoughlin. There are both electric and nonelectric sites here, as well as flush toilets, water, picnic tables, and fire pits.

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