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13. Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

One of the best ways to see the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is from the top of Pilot Rock.

Nestled at the junction of the Cascade, Klamath and Siskiyou mountain ranges, the monument was established in 2000 and expanded in 2016 to preserve the region’s vast biological, geological, aquatic, archaeological and historic treasures.

Pilot Rock, a stone’s throw from Mount Ashland, stands as sentinel over the monument, and several trails pass near the volcanic plug, including the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. The steep summit trail is about 1 mile long, and gains approximately 808 feet in elevation. From the summit, hikers can see Mount Shasta, the Trinity Alps, Marble Mountains and Mount McLoughlin.

To hike Pilot Rock, follow I-5 south to the Mt. Ashland exit at milepost 6. Follow Route 99 south for about 2.4 miles. Turn left at Pilot Rock Road 40-2E-33.0. Stay left at the first intersection and turn right at the second intersection. After 2.1 miles on this bumpy road, you’ll reach a former quarry that serves as the trailhead parking lot.

History buffs will be interested too in the many Native American archaeological sites found in the area, as well as traces of the historic Oregon/California Trail.

Another way to experience the 113,013-acre monument is by hiking the PCT, which meanders for 19 miles through the monument, or by reserving a campsite at the monument’s Hyatt Lake Recreation Area, southeast of Ashland.

To reach Hyatt Lake, turn off Interstate 5 at Exit 14 in Ashland and follow Highway 66 east for 17 miles to East Hyatt Lake Road.

Hikers approach the base of Pilot Rock. [Mail Tribune / file photo]