OverviewMount Harriman lies in the Mountain Lakes Wilderness in Southern Oregon. Mount Harriman is ranked at #91 on the Oregon Top 100 Peaks at 7979 feet of elevation. Aspen Butte (8208 ft) and Mount Carmine (7882 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 Harriman from the north start at the Varney Creek Trailhead.
To find the Varney Creek Trailhead, locate Lake of the Woods and follow OR Highway 140 east. About 0.8 mile beyond milepost 47 turn left onto FSR 3637 signed "Varney Creek Trailhead". Follow FSR west and turn left at 1.7 miles onto FSR 3664, also signed "Varney Creek Trailhead". Continue straight on FSR 3664 at 2.1 miles and park at the large parking area at the end of the road just beyond the Varney Creek Trailhead at 3.7 miles (5560 feet).
Red TapeThe Varney 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.
Check the Fremont-Winema National Forest website for up-to-date permit requirements, fire restrictions, and forest alerts.
CampingCheck 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.