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Mount McLoughlin Trail

HARD 261 reviews
#1 of 16 trails in

Mount McLoughlin Trail is a 9.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Butte Falls, Oregon that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 9.5 miles Elevation Gain: 3,740 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

fee

$5 mandatory parking fee When you get up onto the East ridge, take a look at the pinnacles within the Eastern Bowl.

hiking
fee
rocky
scramble
25 days ago

Stellar weather today! Beautiful views you have to WORK for. The last two miles to the summit are not a “walk up”, as the app suggests. They are often hand-over-foot scrambling and hikers should be prepared for it. The views are worth it though! We could see Thielsen to the north and Shasta stood in full glory to the south. A few inches of snow is left in the shade, and the trail following the ridge is fairly dangerous if taken in the shade on the north side (plus it’s windier there!). If following the south side of the ridge keep as close to the top of the ridge as possible both going up and going down, and look for white dots, occasional wire, and a couple of pink arrows. On the way down it should feel like you’re looking right over 4 mile lake when it’s time to turn right and head down. Leave a note or trinket in the summit register box- one of my favorite things about this climb. For fun, my son and I took a side trip to Freye lake on the return trip. What a nice surprise it was. My recording stopped before my hike was over, due to low battery. My Garmin recorded 10 miles including Freye lake, the shortest distance I’ve done for McLoughlin out of three times.

hiking
26 days ago

Hiked 09/11/2019 Trail conditions were perfect, make sure you stay high on the ridgeline while descending. There are a lot of fake downhills from where rocks fell or other people got confused. Stay high on the ridge and head towards four mile lake.

hiking
bugs
rocky
1 month ago

Great hike...did it twice in July. Challenging and long day...fun though!

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
1 month ago

Hiked 10/27.. there was a tree down on the NF Road 3650 that leads to the trailhead from HWY... NF road 3661 is open. 50+ mph winds from the ridge line to the summit and felt like 10°.. this was a good test with these conditions but be dressed accordingly. Took 7 hours total and a little more than 11 miles

hiking
2 months ago

Reviews made me nervous about getting off trail but it really wasn’t that bad (without snow). I had a gps but didn’t have to use it. Note, the white dots you follow are small but just follow the ridge line at the top (basically keeping 4 mile lake in sight). Going up is not terrible if you’re in shape, may need to use all 4s occasionally. Going down on the scree is what made this hike hard. Summit time 3.5 hr, descent 3 hrs. Overall, great hike. I’d do it again!

hiking
rocky
scramble
snow
2 months ago

Did this hike yesterday. I knew it was rated difficult, but had no idea just how physically taxing it would be. The last few miles are brutal, and it's super easy to lose the trail. There are tiny white dots, like from a bingo blotter, along rocks to follow. And a few cairns. Stay along the ridge. The snow made it rough to climb along the cliff, bring gloves because you end up using your hands on the final climb and the ice made it real cold. Lunch on top of the world with incredible views takes your mind off the super steep, snowy, rocky descent you have coming. Bring a jacket so you can enjoy the top without freezing.

hiking
2 months ago

As many have written in their reviews, this is a bigtime elevation hike in the last 1.5 miles. You know something big is coming when your first 3 miles only gains about 700 feet. The water recommendations are spot on at a minimum of 2 liters. I especially like the Pedialyte suggestion and am gonna try that in the future. For this hike, I summited in 3 hours with a 2:45 descent. I veered off the ridge to the right, but found my way back to the main trail using visuals and my gps. This veering made for some offtrail fun but also added time to the descent. All worth it in the end. Was pretty wiped when I got back to trailhead, mostly because I did 23 miles and 4700 elevation gain the day before. Hit In-n-Out Burger in Medford about 45 minutes away for 4 cheeseburgers & 2 fries. It tastes even better after a wicked hike like this one. Oh, at the very last 200 feet before summit, you can choose boulders or scree. Just don't fall off the edge, otherwise your hike won't be as fun.

hiking
scramble
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

This hike was breathtaking... literally. The trails were pleasant and well marked until you got above the tree line. The trail after that is not well marked but manageable if you make it a point to follow the ridge line where you can see the bowl off the other side while summiting. I would bring a minimum of 80 ounces of water. Make sure your shoes have aggressive tread for traction. The running shoes used by one in the party would keep slipping on all loose dirt. Depending on your fitness level plan between 7-10 hours for the hike. Finally, trekking poles are not a must but are definitely useful because of all the loose rock and dirt throughout the entire hike. Worth every ache and pain afterward. :)

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

hiking
no shade
off trail
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

This was my first mountain climb. Despite reading every review I could, I wasn’t mentally prepared for this climb! I am so thankful that we purchased trekking poles the night before we got on the trail. They helped during the climb with providing leverage and stability and were tremendously helpful on the way down - I would have eaten it hard a few times without them. From the start up to the summit, you’re slowly climbing elevation. If you’re moving at a quick pace, you’ll get your heart rate up and a good exercise going quick. There are quite a few switch backs in the forest and above the tree line. Like everyone else has mentioned, follow the white dots, and piled rocks - stay on the path. The last mile was grueling, it requires climbing with hands and feet. Remember to stop and look back as you climb as the views are incredible. The summit was absolutely amazing. We hung out for maybe 30-45 minutes and enjoyed the views and of course rested. Take lots of water, small snacks, and a lunch. Head out early so that you’ve got plenty of time with sunlight and don’t have to rush down. Take breaks and enjoy it!

rock climbing
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

Beautiful place to meet. The journey is quite long and is in good condition. Bring at least 2 liters of water.

hiking
2 months ago

Started at the trailhead right off the 140. Mild elevation gain for the first 5 miles then the big boy of a hike begins. Added some milage as training prep for My. Whitney next month.

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

Many of the reviews hit the high points. Hiked early September. No water on the trail bring 2-2.5 liters per person. We drank 2+ liters on an overcast 80 degree day with limited sun. Watch the white dots and arrows on rocks to follow the trail when you get above tree line (especially on the way down). Near the top ridge it's easier to climb left on the boulders than up the loose shale to the right. 360 views from the top are awesome on a clear day. Took us 8 hours with many stops due to asthma (4.75 up and 3.25 down). If coming from Hwy 140 the road can be rough. Recommend and will do it again.

hiking
2 months ago

Altitude sickness crept in and got close to summit before stopping. Trail extremely hard to follow on the ridge.

hiking
2 months ago

Started at 6:30am and was able to summit by 11:00. Once you break the tree line it is deceptively easy to lose sight of the trail, keep your eyes out for the white dots painted on rocks along trail. This is especially helpful during descent! The last mile or so was grueling, but views at the summit were well worth the challenge. Bring plenty of water. Overall, a rewarding experience with some of the best views available in the cascades.

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