OverviewMount Carmine lies in the Mountain Lakes Wilderness in Southern Oregon. Mount Carmine is ranked at #97 on the Oregon Top 100 Peaks at 7882 feet of elevation. Aspen Butte (8208 ft) and Mount Harriman (7979 ft) are also located in this wilderness and are listed in the top 100 Highest Peaks of Oregon.
The Mountain Lakes Wilderness is located in the Fremont-Winema National Forest between Medford, Oregon, to the west and Klamath Falls, Oregon, to the east.
"Before its eruption and subsequent transformation into a large caldera (a broad, craterlike basin formed by volcanic violence), the area we call Mountain Lakes Wilderness was a 12,000-foot mountain, one of the giants of the southern Cascades. Glaciation then carved up the caldera, leaving a scattering of small alpine lakes instead of one enormous body of water, such as Crater Lake National Park to the north. Only eight prominent peaks remain of the caldera's rim. Unique to the National Wilderness Preservation System, this area is the only Wilderness with a perfectly square boundary. Long appreciated for its wonder, Mountain Lakes was one of the three original Primitive areas created in 1930 in the Washington-Oregon region. Mosquitoes fly thickly from snowmelt to mid-August, snack food for the rainbow and brook trout in the lakes."
"The 8.2-mile Mountain Lakes Loop Trail winds along the southern rim of the caldera, connecting three trails in the interior of the Wilderness: the Clover Creek Trail (4 miles) from the south, the Mountain Lakes Trail (6.5 miles) from the west, and the Varney Creek Trail (4.5 miles) from the north. Beyond the eastern boundary lies private land."
Getting ThereTo access Mount Carmine from the south start at the Clover Creek Trailhead.
To find the Clover Creek Trailhead, locate Lake of the Woods near OR Highway 140. Follow Dead Indian Memorial Road south from OR 140. About 8.3 miles south of OR 140 turn left (east) onto Clover Creek Road. Follow Clover Creek Road east for 5.9 miles, then turn left (north) onto FS Road 3852, signed "Clover Creek Trailhead".
Follow FS Road 3852, a good gravel road, bearing left at 1.9 miles and reaching the Clover Creek Trailhead at 3.2 miles. The road forms a loop at the trailhead and there is parking for several vehicles. (5750 feet).
The Forest Service website provides alternative directions: from Klamath Falls, head West on US Highway 66 11 miles towards Keno. Before you cross over the Klamath River, take a right on Clover Creek Road. Go approximately 15 miles until you reach FS Road 3852 on your right.
Red TapeThe Clover Creek Trail is open for hiking, and horseback riding, with group size limited to 10 "heartbeats" (people and animals). No recreation pass is currently required at the trailhead. Please register at the trailhead.
Check the Fremont-Winema National Forest website for up-to-date permit requirements, fire restrictions, and forest alerts.
CampingPrimitive campsites are available at the trailhead. Check the Fremont-Winema National Forest website for National Forest campgrounds. The Mountain Lakes Wilderness has several camping options.
When to ClimbLate Summer and Fall are the best times to hike in the Mountain Lakes Wilderness. In late Spring and early Summer you will typically encounter melting snow on the trails and clouds of mosquitoes. Winter travel will require snow shoes or cross country skis.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is not permitted anywhere in the Mountain Lakes Wilderness.