Plan Your Visit
The United States Congress designated the Soda Mountain Wilderness in 2009 and it now has over 24,700 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Oregon and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
The Soda Mountain Wilderness in southwestern Oregon is an ecological mosaic where the state's eastern desert meets towering fir forests. Prior to designation as wilderness, the Clinton administration designated 53,000 acres of federal land in the area as the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in June 2000 to protect this extraordinary biological reserve.
To download YOUR copy of the Soda Mountain Wilderness Area brochure, click here (PDF).
The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and the Soda Mountain Wilderness is located immediately north of the California/Oregon border near Interstate 5. The easiest access is Hwy 66 near the town of Ashland, Oregon.
Scattered parcels of private land are interspersed with monument lands and at times the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail passes through private lands with permission of the land owners. Please stay on the trail when passing through private land.
Hiking is one of the best ways to explore the Soda Mountain Wilderness Areas' ecological diversity. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail provides the easiest access for day hikers and is the only designated trail in the monument. A hike along the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail winds through oak woodlands, old-growth ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests, grasslands, and ceanothus-filled shrub-lands. Cross country exploration by foot or on horseback is allowed in Cascade-Siskiyou NM and the Soda Mountain Wilderness. Please follow Leave No Trace principles.
Know Before You Go
From October to April, the Cascades and the Siskiyous bring moisture from Pacific storms, resulting in snow covered mountains in the higher elevations (above 3500 feet) to rain in the valleys. Depending upon the year and number of storms, snow can blanket much of the Monument's mountains well into May. Hiking and access to popular trails such as Pilot Rock, Hobart Bluff or parts of the Pacific Crest Trail may not be possible until late May or early June. Winter weather can vary greatly across the monument, due to the diversity of aspect and elevation of the terrain. It may be snowing at the Green Springs Summit, raining at the Emigrant Road Trailhead and be overcast and comparatively balmy at the former Box O Ranch.
From May to September, rainfall tapers off and a drying trend begins with warmer days. Many areas of the Monument are still covered in snow and may not be entirely accessible during the month of May and into June. Summer months are normally warm and dry with daytime mountain temperatures reaching the 80s - 90s in mid-summer, while night time temperatures cool down to the upper 40s-mid 50s. Lower elevation south facing exposures have been known to reach a 100 degrees and above some years.
Visitors can help in protecting this fragile ecosystem by adequately planning and by arriving prepared! Knowledge of the area, weather, terrain, and common sense can help to ensure you have a safe, fun, and memorable trip to the wild. Trail junctions are generally unsigned, so you should carry a map and a compass. And always be sure to bring your ten essentials!
Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace refers to a set of outdoor ethics that emphasizes principles designed to promote conservation in the outdoors—it also makes good common sense. Leave No Trace is built on Seven Principles: Plan Ahead and Prepare, Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces, Dispose of Waste Properly, Leave What You Find, Minimize Campfire Impacts, Respect Wildlife, and Be Considerate of Other Visitors.
Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
Dispose of Waste Properly
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in "catholes" dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the "cathole" when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
Leave What You Find
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.