How to Climb Mount McLoughlin

What you need to know

This flyover created in Google Earth is the route recommended by the Forest Service for ascending and descending Mount McLoughlin. The track displayed in the video was created from GPS data taken by the Mail Tribune on an expedition that was guided by a Forest Service wilderness ranger. Differences in the track's ascent and descent are due to the limitations in the accuracy of the GPS device. The Forest Service advises all hikers to go down the mountain on the same path they came up on.
Climbing Mount McLoughlin is not for beginners. Being in good shape and having some experience with easier climbs is recommended.

Check the weather before you go. The Forest Service’s recommended climbing season for Mount McLoughlin is from late May to October.

Start early. It can take from four to six and a half hours to reach the summit.

Plan on summiting by 1 p.m. You'll avoid bad weather and climbing uphill during the hottest part of the day.

You'll be in a designated a wilderness area. That means leave nothing behind and take nothing out. Don't litter or leave trail markers. Federal law prohibits traveling in groups larger than 12.

Stay close to the ridgeline above the tree line. The maintained trail ends at the tree line; traveling close to the ridgeline when above the tree line will ensure that you get back to the maintained trail on the way down. See the video above: (0:58-1:08)

Keep Fourmile Lake in view while going down. When above the tree line, if you can't see Fourmile Lake you might be straying too far from the ridgeline to return to the maintained trail.

Photos from the hike

View all photos

About the trip

Starting elevation: 5,655 ft.
Summit elevation: 9,495 ft.
Elevation gain: 3,840 ft.
Trail to summit: 4.68 mi.
Total distance: 9.36 mi.

Elevation Graph

Elevation (ft.) / distance (mi.)

Download this hike

Download as .KML for offline viewing in Google Earth.
Download as .GPX for your own GPS.

What to Bring

For your safety and comfort, make sure you have the following items when climbing Mount McLoughlin:
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Long pants
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Hat
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Sunglasses
  • Food
  • Plenty of water

Driving directions

Enter your address for driving directions to the trailhead:


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