Fish Mountain is ranked #110 on the Oregon Prominence List
with 1,769 ft of prominence and is located in southern Oregon in the Umpqua National Forest
. It is north of Medford, east of Roseburg, and northwest of Crater Lake National Park. Fish Mountain is also the highpoint of the Rogue Umpqua Divide Wilderness
, that separates the drainages of the famous Rogue and Umpqua Rivers
The Rogue Umpqua Divide Wilderness covers about 33,000 acres and is heavily forested with many different species of trees. The Umpqua National Forest employees have identified “sugar pine, grand fir, mountain hemlock, western white pine, incense cedar, subalpine fir, western redcedar, white fir, ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, Alaska-cedar, shasta red fir, lodgepole pine, pacific silver fir, western hemlock, and whitebark pine” in the wilderness. The wilderness has several lakes with Fish Lake being the largest and most popular destination for hikers, anglers, and campers.
Views are beautiful but limited from the summit of Fish Mountain. Views are primarily to the south, west, and east. Northern views are blocked by the forest near the summit.
For details on the hiking trail see the Route
I approached Fish Mountain from Hwy 230. Hwy 230 starts near milepost 56 on Hwy 62 (Crater Lake Highway) just north of the Union Creek Campground and ends when it meets Hwy 138 (Diamond Lake Highway) near Mt Thielsen. From the cutoff to Crater Lake, travel about 12.2 miles north on Hwy 230 to the turnoff for Hamaker Campgound. If you are traveling from the north Diamond Lake area, it is about 11.4 miles from the intersection with Hwy 138. Do not turn east towards the Hamaker Campground, instead turn west towards the Rogue Umpqua Divide Wilderness on forest road 6560.
Stay on the main track of forest road 6560 as it climbs westward. When you go over a little pass at about 5,000 ft and 4.0 miles from hwy 230, the road crosses the national forest boundary and you leave the Rogue River National Forest and enter the Umpqua National Forest. The road then becomes road 37. Continue down to about 5.9 miles from Hwy 230 and you will see a fork to the right that is uphill and signed as road 800. Take this fork.
Road 800 is not a nice as road 37, but an ordinary vehicle should have no problem following the road all the way to the end at about 14.3 miles from Hwy 230. The road changes to road 870 at about mile 9.5 as it enters the Rogue Umpqua Divide Wilderness. This is a unique road in my experience in wilderness areas. There is no motorized anything allowed in wilderness areas, but this road is through a 400 ft wide corridor for 4.5 miles deep into the wilderness that has been specifically eliminated from the wilderness and is not subject to the wilderness regulations. There are several campsites developed by hunters along this road and there are a couple of trailheads also. Ignore all of that and just drive all the way to the end where there is parking for 5-6 vehicles. The end of the road is the trailhead for both Fish Mountain and Castle Rock
that is just north of the parking area.
This area gets lots of snow in the winter and the roads are not accessible from the first snow storm in November until probably late June or early July before the snow melts from the road.
No red tape, no northwest forest pass required, no fires permitted. Hunters like this area for elk and deer. Wear your day-glo orange stuff during October and November.
Camping is in abundance in this area from Diamond Lake to Crater Lake and everywhere in between. There are several spots on the driving approach to camp, so take your pick.
There are lots of places to backpack camp in the area. Your only limitation here is probably your imagination. The Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness is laced with trails and camp areas are plentiful. On the south ridge on Fish Mountain, there aren’t any flat spots that I would recommend for camping.
The mountain is not accessible in the Winter and Spring because of snow. During the Summer and Fall, the area is subject to thunderstorms and you should check the weather forecast before hiking. The closest towns are Medford and Roseburg.