The Soda Mountain Wilderness in southwestern Oregon is an ecological mosaic where the state's eastern desert meets towering fir forests. The biodiversity of the area includes fir forests, sunlit oak groves, meadows filled with wildflowers, and steep canyons. The area is home to a spectacular variety of rare species of plants and animals including Roosevelt elk, cougars, black bears, golden and bald eagles, goshawks, and falcons. Elevations here range from approximately 3,000 to 5,800 feet. Summer months are normally warm and dry with daytime mountain temperatures reaching the 80s - 90s in mid-summer, while night time temperatures cool down to the upper 40s-mid 50s. Lower elevation, south facing exposures have been known to reach 100 degrees F and above some years. From October to April, snow covers the ground at higher elevations (above 3,500 feet) and rain falls in the valleys. Depending upon the year, snow can blanket much of mountains well into May. From May to September, rainfall tapers off and a drying trend begins with warmer days. There is a total of 8 miles of trails in Soda Mountain Wilderness.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Soda Mountain Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 - Public law 111-11 (3/30/2009) An act to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes.
Scattered parcels of private land are interspersed with monument lands and at times the PCT passes through private lands with permission of the land owners. Please stay on the trail when passing through private land.
Contact: Dennis Byrd, Recreation Planner, 541-618-2369
Hiking is one of the best ways to explore the Soda Mountain Wilderness Areas' ecological diversity. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) provides the easiest access for day hikers and is the only designated trail in the monument. A hike along the Pacific Crest Trail winds through oak woodlands, old-growth ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests, grasslands, and ceanothus-filled shrub-lands.
Cross country exploration by foot or on horseback is allowed in Cascade-Siskiyou NM and the Soda Mountain Wilderness. Please follow Leave No Trace principles.
Climate and Special Equipment Needs
From October to April, the Cascades and the Siskiyous wring moisture from Pacific storms, resulting in snow covered mountains in the higher elevations (above 3500 ft) to rain in the valleys. Depending upon the year and number of storms, snow can blanket much of the Monument's mountains well into May. Hiking and access to popular trails such as Pilot Rock, Hobart Bluff or parts of the Pacific Crest Trail may not be possible until late May or early June. Winter weather can vary greatly across the monument, due to the diversity of aspect and elevation of the terrain. It may be snowing at the Green Springs Summit, raining at the Emigrant Road Trailhead and be overcast and comparatively balmy at the former Box O Ranch.
From May - September, rainfall tapers off and a drying trend begins with warmer days. Many areas of the Monument are still covered in snow and may not be entirely accessible during the month of May and into June. Summer months are normally warm and dry with daytime mountain temperatures reaching the 80s - 90s in mid-summer, while night time temperatures cool down to the upper 40s-mid 50s. Lower elevation south facing exposures have been known to reach a 100 degrees and above some years
Want to Volunteer for Wilderness?
Citizens who volunteer their time to steward our wilderness areas are an essential part of wilderness management. Contact the following groups to inquire about volunteer opportunities.