Difficulty: Easy Class 1 Distance: 3.4 miles round-trip Elevation Gain: 742 feet
Bolan Mountain sits in the Western Siskiyous and has wonderful views of Mount Shasta and the surrounding Siskiyou mountiain range, as well as a glimpse of Mount McLoughlin and a gorgeous view of Bolan Lake, which sits right at the base of Bolan Mountain. The route to the summit is followed by taking the Bolan Lake Trail for 1.7 miles. The trail is an easy to moderate grade for the first mile and then it flattens out slightly for the last 0.7 miles. If you are climbing this peak during the spring/summer months expect to see some wildflowers.
Perched atop Bolan Mountain is a fire lookout tower, which can be rented during most of the summer months. The tower can hold up to four people a night. There is a gated access road that leads up to the tower but it can only be accessed by the lucky people renting it after they have gotten keys from the Illinois Valley Ranger District.
Climbing this peak during the summer would be very straightforward. Hiking shoes and a day pack would be all one would need. For winter climbing, the surrounding views are more spectacular and one would definately need a pair of snowshoes. This trail struck me as relatively safe as long as you stay away from the cliff sides. An ice axe may be a good choice to take with you, but when I climbed it there was no need. This area gets probably 4-5 feet of snow in the winter time so road access may be limited anyway.
To get to Bolan Mountain, take Highway 199 south of Grants Pass, OR or Highway 199 north of Crescent City, CA. Seven miles south of Cave Junction you will want to turn east onto Waldo Rd. Follow this road for 5 miles until you reach a stop sign located at an intersection. Continue straight onto Happy Camp Rd for another 12.5 miles. You will reach the crest of the hill and will see a Bolan Lake Campground sign. Follow this road that is off to your left. It will be Road 4812. At this point it would be a good idea to set your trip odometer to keep track of miles driven. Follow Road 4812 for 1.8 miles, there will be a couple of roads veering off along the way, but stay on the main road. When you reach the 1.8 mile mark you will want to stay to the right side of the road which goes slightly downhill. Drive for another 2.4 miles until you reach another intersection that will have a sign pointing you to Bolan Lake Campground. Follow this road for another 1.8 miles to the terminus at the campground. When you reach the campground stay to the left portion of this looping road. Keep your eye out for the trailhead sign, "Bolan Lake Trail 1245." There is space enough to park just up the road from the trailhead sign. Not much more room than for 1-2 cars.
Beware!! If you are driving during the winter, you will want to have a high clearance vehicle and will want to check on the road conditions with the Illinois Valley Ranger District (541-592-4000). This road only gets plowed occasionally and can get very icy. Sometimes the road is only plowed up to the Sno Park. Which is several miles before the campground.
According to the Illinois Valley Ranger District, no passes are needed to gain access to the campground. However if you are visiting the Sno-park at Page Mountain, you may want to check to see if a Winter Recreation Pass is needed there. There are signs along the road stating that one is needed from November 15th-April 30th. But as far as Bolan Mountain goes, no passes are needed.
When To Climb
This mountain can be climbed anytime of the year depending on your ability to access the road to the campground. The road to the campground is only plowed on occasion. Sometimes it is only plowed to the sno-park at Page Mountain which would add several miles to your climb. During the Spring/Summer is a good time to see wildflowers blooming. Fall/Winter is also a good time to climb due to the beauty of the surrounding snow. You would definately want snowshoes for this hike in the winter though.
There is a campground that sits right next to Bolan Lake complete with Picnic tables, fire rings, grills and vault toilets. Camping is allowed year round. Overnight charge is $5 per night.
For further information contact:
Siskiyou National Forest
Illinois Valley Ranger District
26568 Redwood Highway
Cave Junction OR 97523
If you are looking for a more spectacular overnight stay, the lookout tower on top of Bolan Mountain is available for rental during the snow free season. Normally early July - October 30th.
The cost to stay here is $40 per night and a group of up to four people can stay up to 5 consecutive nights.
Reservations are able to be made starting January 1st of each new year.
No refunds are allowed as it is a popular lookout to stay at.