Pilot Rock is a 2.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Hilt, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from May until October.
Stopped at the rock by snow but great views along the way.
I went up Pilot Rock on a mostly sunny day in mid-October. The trail is short at about 1.6 mile to get to the foot of the 'rock'. Access is easy via I5 just south of the Siskiyou pass; the last 2 miles or so are on a dirt roach but not particular vehicle clearance is required. There is a good size parking lot at the trail-head, complete with restrooms.
The trail is very well maintained. The first mile, until the junction with the PCT, goes up at a fairly gentle grade. The last .5 miles, when veering off the PCT, ascends more steeply via switchbacks all the way to the very foot of the NorthWest face of the rock.
I am a 60 years old man, in fairly good shape but by no means an "ironman" contender; my height (at 5'11) did however help when negotiating the 3 verticals. The ascent required maintained focus and attention but no great physical heroism. Coming prepared (comfortable clothing, good footwear, light or no pack for the climb, etc.) and TAKING TIME to plan the next step are important keys to success/safety. It is also worth remembering that going down is often a bit more challenging that going up.
If you make it, the 360 degree views are indeed quite amazing with Shasta (South) and McLoughlin (North) is full display. For some reason, I imagined the top a some sort of spacious "table", it is not! Once you reach the top, you are standing on an narrow-ish ridge with drop-offs on both sides. There is enough space, however, to sit and enjoy the surroundings. Once more time: take your time going down.
Trail is amazing and isolated from city noise and pollution!
My seven year old son even made it to the top and loved every minute of walking, climbing, and looking for unique plants and bugs!
We have been up twice now and sad that winter is coming since I don't have a four wheel drive.
This hike is my nemesis. I've never made it to the top top. But I keep trying.
a great scramble at the top with awesome views
Fun hike with gorgeous views from the top!
Beautiful view! The rock scramble is somewhat sketchy. Be sure of your abilities.
Great trail, the scramble up the rock wall is dangerous and you should proceed with caution. Be careful! The views are worth it!
Love this trail and the final climb to the top!
First time up there yesterday it was exhilarating and gorgeous, definitely a nice little test of will and some skill is needed! Definitely going back and taking some more thrill seekers along with!
I loved hiking Pilot Rock! The trail is easy, but the climb up to the summit is difficult. Do not attempt to climb Pilot Rock without proper footwear!! It is intimidating, but well worth it! The view from the top is breathtaking! Not a hike for dogs.
Per a previous review the trail is more like 2.8-3. The purpose of this review is not to intimidate those who are interested in the scramble and bouldering to the summit, however it should be noted that this climb at the end of the hike does pose significant risk including death. My wife and I are both indoor/outdoor rock climbers, both top rope and bouldering, and this climb for the relatively fit and with a basic level of rock climbing skills is intermediate to be honest. There are (3) crux or obstacles that must be overcome to shimmy up the chute (crack) directly up the middle of the rock. The rock faces are vertical and in some spots provide very few hand and foot holds. With that being said, if this sounds like a climb that you may have trouble with, you probably will. Just remember, after the ascent, you'll have to descend which can be more tricky than going up. People have fallen off of this rock and died per the description via the "Hiking Southern Oregon" book. Do not attempt this climb under wet or conditions where snow is on the peak. Just thought I'd give an honest review for those who may be wondering about this climb as it is not for everyone. In ending, calculate your route and look out for loose or sketchy rock formations as there are a few. Be safe, enjoy