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Grayback Mountain Trail

 2.5 (2)

8.7 Miles 14.0 Kilometers


76%

Runnable

4,204' 1,281 m

Ascent

-676' -206 m

Descent

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

46%

Max Grade (25°)

6,630' 2,021 m

High

2,848' 868 m

Low

Shared By Bruce Hope

Conditions


Unknown

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This trail provides access to Grayback Mountain and the northern Siskiyou Crest

Bruce Hope

Dogs Off-leash

Features Views

The upper section of this trail is usually snow-covered between December and May.

Runner Notes

This trail is part of the Pine to Palm 100 mile point to point race, which starts in Williams, Oregon and ends in Ashland, Oregon. It is usually done annually in early September.

Description

NOTE: Do not confuse this trail with the Little Grayback Trail #921 on the Rogue-Siskiyiou National Forest (near Oregon’s Applegate Lake), the “Little Grayback Trail” on the Klamath National Forest in California, or the O’Brien Creek Trail #900, also on the Rogue-Siskiyiou National Forest, which is the usual approach for a climb of Grayback Mountain.

This trail was constructed by the Bureau of Land Management, with the help of local volunteers, between1989 and 2006; it crosses BLM adminstered lands and is not in a national forest. Grayback Mountain is, at 7,048 feet, the tallest peak in Josephine County, Oregon. This trail climbs the long ridge of Grayback Mountain up to Windy Gap, a saddle at about 6,500 feet just north of the summit.

This trail is accessed from a trailhead south of Williams, Oregon, off Rock Creek Road. Two miles up Rock Creek Road (BLM Road 39-5-14) you’ll reach a BLM sign and a gravel pullout area on the right - the Grayback Mountain Trail starts here. If you want to shorten the run by a mile, continue on up BLM Road 39-5-14 to a wide spot where another road goes sharply to the left and the road straight ahead is blocked by a yellow gate. Park here (don’t block the road) and run past the gate and up the road for a mile to join the Grayback Mountain Trail.

From the junction with the road, the trail rolls up and down for the first couple of miles. It soon climbs moderately, but steadily, along the southeast side of the ridge through forests of madrones and then pines. At about 4,400 feet, there are a series of long switchbacks where you'll first views of the Williams Creek Valley to the north. The trail continues to traverse the ridge before reaching another set of tight switchbacks in an area called Grayback Glades. At 5,700 feet, the trail turns southeast and climbs several more steeper switchbacks that go over the east ridge of Big Sugarloaf Peak (6,679 feet) and the drops down to its end at the Windy Gap saddle.

This trail does not go to the summit—no official trail does—but it’s a straightforward, almost brush-free, cross-country scramble from Windy Gap to the summit. The best views are from the summit of Big Sugarloaf.

Flora & Fauna

There may be poison oak and ticks.

Contacts

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Trail Ratings

  2.5 from 2 votes

#23044

Overall
  2.5 from 2 votes
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Rankings

#722

in Oregon

#23,044

Overall
61 Views Last Month
480 Since Nov 20, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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Above maybe 5000', someone got a bit over enthusiastic marking every tree along the trail with bright pink paint. My best guess is that the Pine to Palm race organizers are responsible as it marks only the uphill route. It distracts from the beauty of the forest and is nothing less than vandalism. Dec 19, 2017
Bruce Hope
State of Jefferson, OR
Bruce Hope   State of Jefferson, OR
Sorry to hear about the pink paint. It might have been the P to P people but you don't see this on other trails they use for the race. A couple of years ago there was pink tape along part of this route and then the next year blue paint - some of these markings cut cross-country through the Grayback Glades (starting at 5,600'). People other than runners use this trail so it's possible these other users made these markings for whatever reason. Dec 19, 2017
After talking to the organizers, it doesn't sound like it's from the race. Dec 26, 2017

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