To find Old Blue Mountain you have to get on Old Highway that parallels Interstate 5 and the Rogue River between the town of Rogue River and Gold Hill. Old Highway 99 is on the south side of the river in this section and you need to find Foots Creek Road. Foots Creek Road is about 1.4 miles north of Exit 43 from Interstate 5, it is signed and paved. Once you are on Foots Creek Road rest your odometer to 0.0 and go south about 1.4 miles and then turn right onto Right Fork Foots Creek Road. At 3.9 miles the pavement ends and there is an intersection where you want to take the left fork. This is a good road and any 2WD vehicle should be able to access the trailhead. Stay on the main gravel road to a locked yellow gate at mile 5.4. For me this was the trailhead at about elevation 1,900 ft. This gate may be open at times during the year, but it was locked when I wanted to climb Old Blue. These mountains are good hunting grounds for deer and bear.
The trailhead is on a nice gravel road that is gated at about 1,900 ft elevation. If you are lucky and the gate is open, go ahead and drive up the road to where the off-road portion starts. If you are like me and the gate is locked, park on the left side of the road where it is wide enough to accommodate 2-3 cars about 100 ft before the gate. Start hiking up the road and ignore all minor forks. Stay on the main road.
At about 1.3 miles from the gate stay left and at 1.6 miles there is a sharp switchback uphill to the left. Stay on the road as it passes all the way across the north side of Old blue. At 3.0 miles you reach a saddle (elevation 3,590 ft) on the east side of Old Blue. Continue around to the south side and go west on the same road. You are heading directly at Old Blue now, but you can’t quite see it yet. At about 3.3 miles the road reaches its highpoint at about 3,680 ft. There is a steep roadcut embankment on your right and you need to climb up to the large oak trees that you see on top of the embankment. This is only about 15 ft, but it is almost vertical in spots. I found a little game trail that I followed up. If you can’t find a place to climb up, continue on the road around the nose of the little ridge and find a place to climb up to the large grassy slope.
Once you see the open grass covered slope, you will be able to see Old Blue as the highpoint on the other side of the grassy slope. Climb up the grassy slope and cut across it also. You will see a couple rocks protruding and a large pine tree above them. Aim for a point above both of these. As you get closer you will see a large oak tree on the far side of the grassy slope. You should aim for just above the oak tree. On the other side of the oak tree the grassy slope ends and the forest begins. If you climbed high enough, you will find an old abandoned trail heading towards the saddle on the north side of Old Blue. Whether you find the old trail or not head directly west towards the saddle on the north side of Old Blue. The footing is just a little better on the old trail, but it is not bad off the trail either. Once you cross about .3 mile through the forest you will be at the north saddle of Old Blue. Turn directly south and climb the last .3 of a mile up to the summit avoiding as much brush as you can. There are some old logging skid roads that help lead to the summit. The summit area is timbered and brushy. The first point I came to was a rock next to a cedar tree and this may be the summit. However, I walked the length of the ridgeline and about 150 ft further south I found a small rock outcropping with a pack rat nest on top. I think this rock outcropping is about 2 ft higher than the rock at the north end of the summit ridge.
I returned to the trailhead the same way I came. Total hike was 8.4 miles, gained 2,300 ft in elevation, and took 4 hours.
The 10 essentials are always required or my list of these 25 things: Common Sense, Map, Compass, Flashlight/Headlamp, Extra Food and Water, Extra Clothing, Sun Glasses, First-Aid Kit, Pocket Knife w/Tools, Waterproof Matches, Firestarter, Water/Filter/Bottles, Whistle, Insect Clothing/Repellent, Sun Block & Lip Balm, Cell Phone, more Common Sense, Watch, Emergency Blanket/Bivy Sack, Mirror, Duct Tape, Extra Socks, Gloves, Orange Vest during hunting season, and most importantly Common Sense.
There is no water on the trail, so take all you need.