ApproachDifficulty: Class 1
Distance: 4.2 miles round-trip during summer or 7.2 miles round-trip during winter
Elevation Gain: 800 feet during summer or 2300 feet during winter
Differences in distance and elevation gain are due solely to the road being snowed in during the winter
From Interstate 5 take the Ashland Exit 14 and head East onto Highway 66 for 15 miles. The access road to Soda Mountain will be approximately 200 feet or so before the Green Springs Mountain Summit Sign. As long as you are looking for the Soda Mountain Road, you shouldn’t have a problem finding it. This road will be marked as Soda Mountain Road 39-3E-32.3. When the road is accessible after the snow melts, you will follow it 3.7 miles to some powerlines that cross the road. There is minimal parking beyond the lines. At this point you will see Pacific Crest Trail markers to both your right and your left. Continue straight on this road which will still be Soda Mountain Road, shortly you will reach a fork in the road (there will also be a wooden fence at this fork), take the right fork of the road following the summit lookout pointer. If hiking to the summit of this peak in the Winter time follow the same directions to Soda Mountain Road. This is where it changes a little. Most likely the road will be plowed up to about 2.2 miles. From here you will have to hike the additional 1.5 miles to where the Pacific Crest Trail meets with Road. From the junction of the Pacific Crest Trail you will climb about 800 feet in 2.1 miles to reach the summit. Prior to that though you will gain about 1500 feet in 1.5 miles just hiking the road up.
Route DescriptionThe service road is probably the better option during the winter as the Pacific Crest Trail was completely covered and it meets up with the service road later anyways. The views from the service road are well worth it. See the overview section to see more about the views. The road appears to be somewhat maintained or packed by what looked like sno-cat tracks. From the Junction where the Pacific Crest Trail breaks off from this road it is another 800 feet elevation climb over 2.1 miles. So not to strenuous.
Essential GearSUMMER: Sunglasses, sunblock, hat, plenty of water, bug spray, daypack, tennis shoes and most definately a camera.
WINTER: Compass, Map, GPS, Sunglasses, sunblock, at least two layers suitable for winter weather. Daypack should be sufficient for a nice day, but I always pack for overnight during the winter (i.e. stove, fuel, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, something to boil snow in), for anything longer than 4 miles round trip. This may be a little overkill, but I get more exercise carrying a heavier pack and I am more prepared for what could happen. Boots that are rated for winter climbing and SNOWSHOES ARE A MUST. Oh, and don't forget your camera.