Klamath National Forest
Klamath National Forest
Notes by J. Zimmerman, Ph.D.
Forest and Tree Home,
What trees can you see in the heavily-wooded Klamath National Forest, beside
Douglas fir? What are some of the most spectacular hikes? And how else can you
enjoy this Forest?
Statistics - "what and where."
- Includes 1.7 million acres of mountains, valleys, river canyons, and
- In north-central California along the Oregon border.
- Klamath, Salmon, and Scott Rivers are 200 miles of the National Wild and
Scenic Rivers System.
- Elevations range from 700 feet to more than 8500 feet.
- Temperatures swing from near-zero lows in winter to 110-plus in the
- Total precipitation varies from 20 to 115 inches annually. Typically, over
90% occurs from October through April.
- Tree species varying with elevation. The heavily forested Klamath Forest
includes Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, incense cedar, white and red
fir, and a variety of hardwoods including tan oak and madrone.
- 22% wilderness. Includes Marble Mountain and Russian Wilderness, and
portions of the Siskiyou and Trinity Alps Wilderness.
- Russian Wilderness is a craggy, granitic ridge system with prominent
peaks, cirques, and U-shaped valleys. A
- Created by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905.
Trees of Klamath National Forest along the Klamath River.
River Manager at Happy Camp in Klamath National Forest, summarizes what trees
you will see is you follow the river corridor along the Klamath River:
"Starting from interstate 5 and heading west floating on the Klamath River
you will encounter juniper and sage blending into the mixed forest of ponderosa
pine, oregon white oak, and black oak covering the hillsides.
Further west the mixed evergreens take over, ponderosa pine, douglas fir,
sugar pine, incense cedar along with pacific madrone, canyon live oak, bigleaf
maple, and tanoak. Understory trees include redbud, pacific dogwood, hazel.
Riparian species include several species of willows, red alder, oregon ash,
cottonwood, bigleaf maple, fox grape, and blackberry. Of course we can not
forget, poison oak. It is abundant in the river canyon.
If you go far enough west you will eventually encounter the redwood forest
(which here includes red and white alder) near the Pacific Ocean and the mouth
of the Klamath River."
For details on these, see
Classic Hikes in Northern California by John R. Soares & Marc J.
- 6-mile round trip to Bear Lake in the Siskiyou Mountains.
The hike passes through the Dillion Fire
of 1997. Many burned trees. Much brush recovery taking place. Lots of
Washington lily in summer. Road to trailhead goes through Swillup Fire of
- Trees at start of trail: Douglas fir, white fir, incense cedar.
- Trail climbs through understory of Sadler oak, huckleberry oak,
manzanita, and tobacco brush.
- Higher trail passes red fir, western white pine, and the rare Brewer
- Spectacular views of mountains and lakes.
- High point: 5550 feet.
- 15-mile round trip to Paradise Lake in Marble Mountain Wilderness portion
of the Forest.
- From Kelsey Camp, hiker soon enters a Douglas fir forest with a few
sugar pines and incense cedar.
- The mid-stretch of the ascent has canyon live oak with a few black oak.
- The last part of the trail has a small grove of black cottonwoods edging
- High point: 6180 feet.
- 18-mile round trip (loop trail) to Sky High Lakes and Summit Lake in
Marble Mountain Wilderness.
- From Lovers Camp, hikers walk through dogwood, Douglas fir, sugar pine,
and white alder.
- 6 miles in, white fir, and hemlock dot the shore of Frying Pan Lake.
- Take a spur trip at about mile 10.6 to Summit Lake (edged with willow
and white fir).
- Continue back to trailhead on Red Rock Valley Trail through a hemlock
and Douglas fir forest.
- High point: 6700 feet.
- Cave exploring. Marble Mountain and Russian Wilderness includes 227,000
acres of steep, mountainous terrain, and one of the west's deepest and most
complex limestone cave systems
- Fishing for salmon and steelhead in the Klamath River.
- Fishing for trout in creeks and high mountain lakes.
- Float trip -- a slow, relaxed opportunity for wildlife observation and
- Whitewater boating (from class I to V)
- Hunting of deer, goose, duck, and quail, in autumn and winter. Check with
the Forest on restrictions, safety guidelines, etc.
- And much more! Including camping, picnicking, mountain biking, geology,
botany, horseback riding, skiing, snowmobiling, and mountain climbing.
Bird and Wildlife watching.
- bald eagle
- golden eagle
- great blue herons
- mountain lion
- peregrine falcon
- waterfowl. Migration peaks in October with an estimated 3 to 4 million
birds in the eastern part of the Forest.
- wild horses
- common juniper (Juniperus communis), sometimes called dwarf
- incense cedar
- white fir
- subalpine fir
- Shasta red fir
- Brewers spruce
- Engelmanns spruce
- whitebark pine
- knobcone pine
- foxtail pine
- Jeffrey pine
- lodgepole pine
- mountain hemlock
- sugar pine
- ponderosa pine
- western white pine
- Douglas fir
- Pacific yew
About 450 other plant species.
Wildflower Show on Mother's Day.
Check out the National Forest's annual
wildflower show held each Mother's Day in Yreka.
Forest and Tree Home,