Brown Mountain Lava Flow 9-8-23

Photos by Kay and Tysen

Ashland Hiking Home

Starting at the Summit Snow Park, we took the spur trail to the PCT.  We were surprised to first hear, and then see the Cascade Canal full of rushing water.  This small canal carries water from the Four-Mile Lake reservoir to Fish Lake, and is part of the Medford irrigation system. 

We turned left onto the PCT going south and followed the crashing water, crossing Highway 140 and continuing to the intersection of the PCT with the High Lakes and Fish Lakes trail.  Then, our group of ten hikers continued south on the PCT up onto the Brown Mt. lava flow.  Big piles of lava stones appeared resulting from a lava flow approximately 2000 years ago.  The trail of powdered cinders climber across mounds and mounds of lava stones. 

Jackie climbed up the lava to check out a pipe sticking out of the lava.  There, she found a U.S. geological survey marker from 1922 on top of the pipe.  Views of Mt. McLaughlin appeared as we climbed higher.  We saw a lake through the trees that Kate identified as Fish Lake.  We had met no other hikers until we settled down on lava rocks for lunch.  Then, two through-hikers came down the trail, one from Germany and the other from the Czech Republic.  They had been hiking from Mexico for several months and were heading to the Canadian border.  One had a swollen arm from an insect bite and asked if we had anything to help.  Our resourceful hikers shared a pill and then the through-hikers bounded down the trail. 

Shortly afterwards, we hiked back down the lava flow trail, enjoying the perfect hiking temperature and the clear sky. We hiked almost 5 miles with an elevation gain of about 300’.  The trail head at Summitt Sno-Park is off Highway 140 near mile post 32.