Pilot Rock

HARD 73 reviews

Pilot Rock is a 2.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Hilt, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

2.2 miles
780 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips

rock climbing




wild flowers




26 days ago

what a beautiful hike. im not experienced enough to climb to the top but i almost made it!!! on the hike back i easly stayed on the pct for about a mile before realizing i missed the turn lol. it was a gorgeous adventure. i will get to the top in 2018

3 months ago

Posted a picture of alternate ledge route up the front of Pilot Rock. The ledge has a blind curve in it you can not see around but the ledge does bring you around to where you can climb to the summit. We did this with no ropes or protection. Very straight forward with just hanging onto the rock and walking the ledge.The problem comes in with the total exposure. The entire ledge walk is a no fall zone as in if you fall it is along ways down and death is a certainty. This was the most exposed route I have ever been on and it was thrilling for me. I have hiked all over the country and this route up Pilot rock was one of my favorites. Seem very few do the ledge route because of the extreme exposure but oh so fun.

4 months ago

the road in is terrible half to go 5mph its so rocky. the hike is short but steep not to bad. i almost got stuck in the south west face as another person on here said happened to him dont go up that way. i was by myself unaware of how sketchy it was to get to the summit it was very steep but i made it and it was awesome once i got to the top. the only reason its not a 5 star for me is because i was unprepared but now that i know what to expect id do it again

5 months ago

Great hike. First time there and will go back over and over. Very diverse for such a short hike. I did hover scare the living crap out of myself cause I didnt go all the way up the crack at the top. I instead wondered out on the South or Southwest face....havent scared myself that bad in 20 years. After I figured it all out I felt like a turd. I am going back often. Do people really take their pups up there?

8 months ago

Awesome trail!

8 months ago

Well maintained especially considering the tough winter. Spectacular views with the day being so clear yesterday.

9 months ago

Quite the hike. I accidentally added a few more miles making it just at 11 miles. If you want a great workout? This is for you. A little slippery at the top with the shale rock but the views and scenery are amazing! The wildflowers are so beautiful. I started just passed the Mt Ashland turn off.

10 months ago

Really nice view from the top. Definitely worth climbing up.

10 months ago

Better than grizzly

10 months ago

If you are wanting to work out your butt, this trail is it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

can hike the PCT up to a certain point -- then, heading up to the top of pilot rock is awesome but requires technical maneuvering / scrambling -- careful especially if ice present. beautiful view of marble mountains & Shasta if clear weather.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Stopped at the rock by snow but great views along the way.

Monday, October 10, 2016

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.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

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.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

This hike is my nemesis. I've never made it to the top top. But I keep trying.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

a great scramble at the top with awesome views

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Fun hike with gorgeous views from the top!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Beautiful view! The rock scramble is somewhat sketchy. Be sure of your abilities.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Great trail, the scramble up the rock wall is dangerous and you should proceed with caution. Be careful! The views are worth it!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Love this trail and the final climb to the top!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

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!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Incredible views!

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

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.

rock climbing
Monday, November 02, 2015

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

Monday, October 19, 2015

cold but enjoyed it!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Amazing and absolutely beautiful! It was a pretty easy hike till you get to the Rock and then your climbing skills come into play I didn't go to the top for being scared coming down it is crazy epic but totally worth going to

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Quick trail. Note that alltrails distance is off. It's more like 2.8 RT. The scramble isn't too bad, make sure to stay left and go up through the narrow chute. I would call it a class 3-4, grade 3 scramble with moderate exposure. Going around to the right as the trails look to head is class 3-4, grade 2, extreme exposure and deadends at a cliff.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Absolutely amazing! Been doing it for years, but the trail leading to the base of the rock has recently been redirected and vastly improved. Pretty intricate and challenging...I love it! For those who have yet to climb...please do not be intimidated. It is not a technical climb...just stay in the crevice and use the rock to push against while you shimmy up. However...I just noticed today that a section of the rock had fallen down right where you go up. I don't know if it was nature or done on purpose, but it does make a section of the ascent and descent easier. Just be a little wary, regardless. Best hike in the Rogue Valley, though, and I'm a 15 year resident. Cheers!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The trailhead is easy to miss if you aren't paying attention. The road to the trailhead is a gravel/dirt road that winds through the Siskiyou ridges.

The trail to the base of the volcanic plug is moderate. Expect to start off in a pine forest on an ATV trail. A little ways down you will see a sign for the PCT. Follow the PCT until you come to the junction for the Pilot Rock Trail. This will lead you to the plug.

The total trip to the rock is only about a half-mile, but it can be a bit strenuous. The real challenge comes when you climb the plug to the top. There are three gaps that have to be overcome, but when you do, the rest of the climb is pretty easy.

Bring plenty of water and take your time on the Rock. The view from the top is miraculous and well worth the time given!

One of my favorite hikes in Oregon!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Great hike into the clouds. Lots of wild flowers.

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