Photos and story by Thom Larkin A view from the top of Pilot Rock into California with Mt. Shasta in the distance.

The Rogue Valley's Hike of the Week

Pilot Rock

Warning:

Make sure your car has good clearance from the ground. There are lots of large rocks on the dirt roads that can damage cars.

How to get there:

Leave Ashland from Exit 14, and head southeast on Interstate 5 nine miles to the Mt. Ashland Exit 6. Continue on this road past the Mt. Ashland turn and continue under the freeway overpass for a total of 1.9 miles. Take a left on Pilot Rock Road 40-2e-33. At mile 2, turn right onto road 41-2e-3 and at mile 2.7 keep right at an unlabeled road junction. At mile 2.9 is the Ridge Crest, where the Pacific Coast Trail crosses the road. Drive until Pilot Rock trail signs are on the left of the road and a parking area is on the right. When you see them, park and begin your hike.

Brief info:

This is a great hike for those who enjoy rock climbing and great views of the valley. The hike begins at the Pacific Crest Trail below Pilot Rock at an altitude of 5,120 feet and reaches 5,910 feet at the summit. It takes about an hour.

The hike gets very steep with loose dirt and rocks along the path, so be careful. Follow the steep uphill paths to the right to the base of Pilot Rock. From there, follow the trails to the left leading to a gully, which rises to the summit.

There are two 6-foot ledges that you will have to climb along the left wall, which has the safest footing. Make sure to take your time and be safe for these steep parts of the hike; several people have been injured from slipping off exposed slopes to the right. —

After the climb, you will reach the summit with amazing views of Southern Oregon and Northern California, with Mt. Ashland, Mt. McLoughlin and Mt. Shasta in the background.

Make sure to bring sunscreen, because there isn't a lot of shade once you begin your climb. Also, water is a must; you don't want to do this hike without any. In addition, beware of falling rocks if climbing with a group.