Welcome to Insight to Ashland

In the Shadow of Mt. McLoughlin on South Lake of the Woods Trail


In the Shadow of Mt. McLoughlin on South Lake of the Woods Trail

If the winter weather’s fairly warm in the Rogue Valley and you’re looking for an afternoon outing, consider a visit to Lake of the Woods. Picnic tables on the lake side of the Marina Pizza Parlor let you soak up the sun outside just a few feet from the shoreline.

The lake is nearly eight miles in circumference, 3.5 miles long and nearly a mile at its widest point. Spring runoff from the surrounding mountains flows through Billie Creek, Dry Creek, and Rainbow Creek. At nearly 10,000 feet, Mt. McLaughlin looms over the northern rim.

Park above the marina, get your permit from the gift shop, and head west for a 1.75 to 2.0 mile (or longer) round trip hike. Head north and stop for a moment at the first pier to savor spectacular lake views. From some angles, you’ll see McLaughlin and its reflection.

Continue into the woods along the nearby shore in a northerly direction from the marina. This is South Lake of the Woods Trail, which essentially runs parallel to Highway 140. (The name makes perfect sense if you start from Fish Lake)

During winter, you can choose your path and avoid the groomed trail, winding between and among debris, logs, etc. You’ll pass a few “landmarks” (restaurant, gazebo, lodge, day use area, etc.) in the first half mile or so.

Lake views are present most of the time as you meander through the woods. Rippling fast moving water flashes near the shoreline even though the rest of the lake is frozen.

After the Aspen campground, you’ll find a riparian pond and signage explaining its inhabitants and significance. Just past the bridge, the trail continues to Fish Lake, about 7.4 miles one way.

In February 2014, during a dry spell between storms, the ground had patchy ice and snow. Among the aspens, fir, pine, and willows, there are hardy dark green leafed shrubs. Look for tracks and you might see signs of dogs, humans, rabbits, deer, bobcat, or elk.

Directions: Head out of town from the center of Ashland down Siskiyou Blvd to Ashland St, where you will take a left. Follow Ashland St. over I-5, and just after half a mile take a left on Dead Indian Memorial Highway. Follow this road until just before it dead-ends, and you will see signs for Lake of the Woods Resort. You will take a left to enter the resort.

Additional Information: The day use fee at Lake of the Woods is $5.00. Bring your pole if you like to fish for bass, catfish, salmon, and trout. For more information, visit: http://www.lakeofthewoodsresort.com/about_this_resort.php.

Camping: Stay overnight summer through fall at the Forest Service’s Aspen or Sunset Campgrounds in Fremont National Forest. Aspen has 40 sites that can be reserved in advance. Sunset is located 2.5 miles from the junction of Highway 140 and Dead Indian Memorial Road. Standard sites accommodate recreational vehicles, tents, and trailers.

Outdoor Recreation Safety Note: Please be sure to read our safety note on our Outdoor Recreation home page.

Mt. McLoughlin from Lake of the Woods

Mt. McLoughlin from Lake of the Woods