OverviewThis is a nice dayhike that should take 3-4 hours.
Getting ThereBrown Mountain is easy to find. Take Hwy 140 from Klamath Falls and head west, or from Medford head east. Hwy 140 crosses the Cascades and passes between Mt. McLoughlin and Brown Mountain.
In the winter when snow closes all the access roads off of Hwy 140, you need to park along Hwy 140 near the summit and start your hike from there. The highway summit is at about 5,100 ft and I parked on the south side of the highway just west of the summit at elevation 5,075 ft. You can also park at the large snowpark parking area about ¼ mile west of the highway summit. This snowpark parking area is on the north side of the highway and also serves as an access point to the
In the summer, you can hike from the highway also, but be prepared for a lot of rock hopping on talus. If you want the shortest route possible, take the turn off from Hwy 140 that accesses the west side of Lake of the Woods. There is a sign on for this turn on Hwy 140 for Camp McLoughlin and Camp Esther Applegate. Take the first gravel road to the right and continue for about 3 miles to an elevation about 5,600ft and you are only about 1.4 miles from the summit. Find a place to park off the road and mark your location with your GPS. You will need it on the descent to find your car.
Route DescriptionThe route to the summit of Brown Mountain is a straightforward cross country hike. The brush is sparse and there are stands of trees up the flanks of Brown Mountain between the lava flows. The most important thing to remember is to mark the location of your car with your GPS before you start the hike. This may sound like a trivial thing, but knowing where the car is can literally save your life.
During the summer take the path of least resistance and stay off of the lava as much as possible. The footing seems to be better near the trees. During the winter the snow seems to be firmer under the trees than out in the open. The talus lava rocks are not all cemented in place. Some of these move under your weight, so be careful that you don’t twist an ankle. When the snow is thin, there are hidden holes as you post hole through the snow to the rocks below.
Since there is no trail, the directions in all seasons are to just head uphill. Once you get to about 6,800 ft elevation, the slope increases and you have to stretch out your calves to climb the final 500 ft to the summit. There are no problem areas, it is just steep. The summit highpoint is on the northeast corner of the summit area.