The Grizzly Peak Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Southern Oregon. It has broad views of Ashland, the Rogue Valley, Mount McLaughlin, Mount Shasta, and other Cascade Range and Klamath-Siskiyou peaks, and an impressive summer wildflower display.
Grizzly Peak Above Ashland in Southern Oregon
I live in Ashland in Southern Oregon, just north of the California border. While Grizzly Peak is not the highest mountain surrounding the Bear Creek drainage (Bear Creek is a major tributary of the Rogue River), its proximity on the east side of Ashland makes it a prominent landmark, and certainly the mountain I look at most, especially to gauge snow levels in winter.
Grizzly Peak Trail: Key Data
Distance: 4.8 miles
Type: Day hike
Elevation gain: 900 feet
High point: 5922 feet
Season: May to November; sometimes snow-free in winter
Contact: Bureau of Land Management, Medford District
Map: USGS Grizzly Creek; trail map in this post
GPS trailhead coordinates: N 42 16.332 W 122 36.371
Notes: Dogs allowed; toilet at trailhead
Driving Directions to Grizzly Peak Trailhead
Take Exit 14 off Interstate 5 in Ashland in Southern Oregon. Go east on Highway 66 in the direction of Klamath Falls for 0.7 mile and then turn left onto Dead Indian Memorial Road. Go 6.7 miles and then turn left onto Shale City Road (Road 38-2E-27). (This comes up suddenly: Shale City road has several mailboxes.) Take the paved road for 2.9 miles and then turn left onto Road 38-2E-9.2). Dodge dozens of huge potholes on the paved/dirt road to reach a three-way junction 0.9 mile farther; go straight on the largest, most obvious road for the final 0.8 mile to the trailhead, which has room for 20 or so cars.
Hiking The Grizzly Peak Trail
Pass the trail register at the very first bend. Just 100 feet later, stop at the next bend to get the best view of the Cascade Range of Southern Oregon, starting with Mount McLoughlin in the south and stretching north up to summits around Crater Lake, Mount Thielsen, and Three Sisters.
The path climbs gently in the shade of Douglas fir, grand fir, and white fir, with the occasional incense cedar. Pay attention for occasional sightings of Mount McLoughlin between the trees. Cross the spine of a ridge at 1.0 mile, pass open meadow areas, and reach a trail fork at 1.3 miles, the beginning of the loop portion of the trail.
Go left and do the loop clockwise. After another 0.3 mile you come to a trail fork. The official trail goes to the right, but an unsigned trail goes left 200 feet to quickly reach a spectacular vista point. From here you’ll see the Walker Creek drainage, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Mount Shasta, and Mount Ashland. The faint trail continues another 500 feet to rejoin the main trail, where you go left.
Continue through open forest, soon reaching the area scorched by the large 2002 East Antelope Fire. You’ll see dead tree trunks, but you’ll also see a vast array of colorful wildflowers taking advantage of the sunlight. From the main open area at 2.1 miles, views expand beyond those of the vista point you just left to include Ashland and the Bear Creek drainage, with Wagner Peak beyond to the west, with more distant peaks in Siskiyou Wilderness. Medford, the Rogue Valley, Roxyann Peak, Table Rocks, and a plethora of forested mountains stretch north.
My Youtube Video from Grizzly Peak
Here’s the video I shot a few years back from Grizzly Peak. You can find many more videos from beautiful natural area of Southern Oregon and Northern California at my Hiking the West Youtube channel.
The Summit of Grizzly Peak
Descend a bit to walk through the burned area. Eventually the trail undulates gently through unburned forest to pass on the left side of a large meadow. At 3.4 miles look to the left for an unmarked trail that goes 100 feet to a small rocky area surrounded by trees. That’s the summit. No views. Blink and you’ll miss it.
Reach the beginning of the loop portion of the hike at 3.7 miles. Turn left and descend the final 1.1 miles to the trailhead.
Your Take: Grizzly Peak Trail
Have you done the hike? What did you think? Share in the comments below.