Preston Peak

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Preston Peak
Preston southface.jpg
South face of Preston Peak
Elevation 7,313 ft (2,229 m) NAVD 88[1]
Prominence 2,509 ft (765 m)[2]
Location Siskiyou County, California, U.S.
Range Siskiyou Mountains
Coordinates 41°50′06″N 123°36′43″W / 41.835064822°N 123.611937922°W / 41.835064822; -123.611937922Coordinates: 41°50′06″N 123°36′43″W / 41.835064822°N 123.611937922°W / 41.835064822; -123.611937922[1]
Topo map USGS Preston Peak

Preston Peak (Karuk: keech'íihyan),[3] is a dominant feature of the Siskiyou Wilderness in the Klamath National Forest.[2] Many peaks in the wilderness rise to over 6,000 feet (1,800 m) but none come to within 500 feet (150 m) of approaching the height of Preston Peak. From the summit on a clear day, the Pacific Ocean is visible along with peaks in the Klamath Mountains and Cascade Range.

John Hart, in his book Hiking the Bigfoot Country says of the peak:

"At a mile and some above sea level it is by no means the highest peak in the Klamath Mountains...Yet there is no mountain in northern California which I remember with more pleasure. They say that early travellers on the Klamath River, glimpsing the mountain above them, thought it was 10,000 feet tall.

Getting There

Young's Valley Trailhead:

This Trailhead provides the easiest access to the Northwest Ridge and less strenuous access to the West Slope.

30 miles up US 199 from Crescent City (or 49 miles over From Grants Pass) Turn on Knopki Creek Road (Forest Route 18N07). 11 miles up Knopki Creek road turn right at the junction with the road to the Young's Valley Trailhead. 1.5 miles farther will put you at the Young's Valley Trailhead.

Doe Flat Trailhead:

By far the most popular trailhead in the Siskiyou Wilderness. This Trailhead provides access to the West Slope route. 24 miles up US 199 from Crescent City (or 55 miles over From Grants Pass) Turn on Forest Route 16 / Little Jones Creek Road. After 10 miles turn left on Forest Route 16N02. Follow this road for 3 miles to the trailhead."[4]

Preferred Hike Route: Northwest Ridge Via Raspberry Lake

Approach: Young's Valley Trailhead 18 miles and 5800 feet of elevation gain round trip

Most Ascents of Preston Peak take place by this route. Begin at the Young's Valley Trail head and hike 3 miles to Young's Valley. Pass the junction with the Clear Creek Trail and continue toward Raspberry Lake. The Trail begins as an old road bed until reaching an old chrome mine 6 miles in. After the mine the trail becomes much narrower, the last mile to the lake is much more rugged. Raspberry lake is 7 miles from the trail head.

Summit Route The lake is where the real fun begins. Begin traversing along the west side of the lake. Ascend the ridge on a large rockfall area on the west side of the lake. Now follow the crest of the ridge to a large gargoyle shaped outcrop. Traverse high on the east side of the ridge to get around this outcrop. Cross the ridge and traverse level on the west side of peak 6121 until the saddle between peak 6121 and Preston Peak is attained, cairns mark the way. (Be sure to sign the Guest Book at the Summitt)

From the saddle between Peak 6121 and Preston Peak the route is much more obvious, simply follow the Northwest ridge to the summit. Ascending the ridge involves crossing a variety of terrain including; heavy brush, dirt gullies, boulder hoping and some scrambling on granite slabs. A more detailed description of this route can be found [4]


The Forest Service designated the peak and watershed around the peak the Preston Peak Botanical and Geological Area because of the rare plants and associations of plants that can be found. Here the Alaska cedar and noble fir reach the southern terminus of their range[5] and share habitat with the northwest California endemic Brewer spruce and Port Orford cedar. There is also an interesting population of high elevation Pacific yew on the peak that, along with a few other population in the Klamath Mountains, may justify reclassification as at least a subspecies.[6] A few other rare plants living on or around the peak are the phantom orchid and Siskiyou frittilary.


  1. ^ a b "Preston Pk". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  2. ^ a b "Preston Peak, California". Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  3. ^ Bright, William; Susan Gehr. "Karuk Dictionary and Texts". University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  4. ^ a b Hart, John (1975). Hiking the Bigfoot Country. San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books. p. 182. ISBN 0-87156-127-1. 
  5. ^ Sawyer, J. O. (2004). "Conifers of the Klamath Mountains". Vegetation Ecology, Proceedings of the second conference on Klamath-Siskiyou ecology, Siskiyou Field Institute (Cave Junction, OR: Siskiyou Field Institute): 128–135. 
  6. ^ Burns, Russell M.; Barbara H Honkala (1990). Silvics of North America. Volume 1, conifers  (PDF). Agriculture Handbook 654. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Forest Service. ISBN 0-16-027145-2. 

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