ApproachDifficulty: Easy Class 1
Distance: 3.4 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain: 742 feet
To get to Bolan Mountain, take Highway 199 south of Grants Pass, OR or Highway 199 north of Crescent City, CA. Seven miles south of Cave Junction you will want to turn east onto Waldo Rd. Follow this road for 5 miles until you reach a stop sign located at an intersection. Continue straight onto Happy Camp Rd for another 12.5 miles. You will reach the crest of the hill and will see a Bolan Lake Campground sign. Follow this road that is off to your left. It will be Road 4812. At this point it would be a good idea to set your trip odometer to keep track of miles driven. Follow Road 4812 for 1.8 miles, there will be a couple of roads veering off along the way, but stay on the main road. When you reach the 1.8 mile mark you will want to stay to the right side of the road which goes slightly downhill. Drive for another 2.4 miles until you reach another intersection that will have a sign pointing you to Bolan Lake Campground. Follow this road for another 1.8 miles to the terminus at the campground. When you reach the campground stay to the left portion of this looping road. Keep your eye out for the trailhead sign, "Bolan Lake Trail 1245." There is space enough to park just up the road from the trailhead sign. Not much more room than for 1-2 cars.
Route DescriptionFor the first mile the trail climbs through the trees with an occasional glimpse to the north. For the last quarter portion of the first mile you will have some rocky cliffs off to your right side. Very pretty, also a good spot for a mountain lion perch, keep a look, as I did see big cat tracks in the snow. When you reach the top of the trail at the one mile mark you will follow it down for about 200 more yards to a couple of pointers pointing you back to the lake or to Kings Saddle. Off to you right of that pointer is a 4x4 post that I imagine used to point you in the direction of the lookout. Follow the trail off to your right at this point for another 0.7 miles. The trail will meander through some trees and will also have a few meadowy openings. You will reach one more pointer before you reach the summit. When you see this pointer it is less than 1/4 of a mile to go. Follow the trail the rest of the way and you will be to the lookout in no time at all. There are stone steps leading up to the lookout and great views as well.
Essential GearFor summer climbing, your basic hiking shoes and daypack will do. I would even bring a fishing pole for Bolan Lake. I saw trout swimming while I was standing near the shore.
For winter, snowshoes should do nicely. An ice axe may be a good idea, but I did not need one when I climbed.