Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

Butte Falls Ranger District

Welcome to the Butte Falls Ranger District of the Rogue River National Forest. Our Ranger Station is nestled in the town of Butte Falls, located about 35 miles Northeast of Medford, Oregon in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range.

To get to Butte Falls from Medford, travel North on Highway 62 about 15 miles to the Butte Falls Highway turn off. Turn right on to the Butte Falls Highway and travel East for 15 miles and you will enter the town of Butte Falls. Once there, you will find a gas station, two eating establishments and a general store where you can pick up supplies as well as hunting and fishing license. The elevation is about 2,500 feet, and the average rainfall is 30 - 35 inches a year.

Butte Falls is an historic logging town, and if you visit the falls you will see remnants of the saw mill built by the Butte Falls Sugar Pine Company in 1907. The old railroad line shows where the Pacific and Eastern ran an excursion and freight train. While excursions and freight runs continued for several years, the real importance of the Pacific and Eastern Railroad in this area was that it provided access to the large body of timber just East of Butte Falls. During this booming logging era Butte Falls inhabitants numbered 1,400, as compared to about 400 now.

Another unique feature about Butte Falls is that it is the starting point of the Discovery Loop Tour. This is a half-day drive by car that includes history, plant and animal life, and breathtaking panoramic scenery.

The Butte Falls Ranger District encompasses over 130,000 acres on the West slope of the Southern Cascade Mountains, including the Skylakes Wilderness. The elevation ranges from 2,500 feet to the top of Mount McLoughlin which is 9,495 feet. The headwaters of Middle Fork and South Fork of the Rogue River are located on the North end of the district within the Sky Lakes Wilderness. On the South end is the Big Butte Springs Watershed, encompassing 41,752 acres of National Forest Land. The Big Butte Springs system is the primary source of domestic water for the city of Medford and surrounding communities. To insure water quality and quantity there is limited access to the watershed, and some simple common sense rules to follow.

- Haul out trash or place in disposal facilities provided.

- Camp overnight only in designated areas.

- Prevent sewage wastes from entering the ground.

- Be careful with fire and never leave a campfire unattended.

Camping opportunities on the Butte Falls Ranger District will appeal to those who like to get away from it all. The Sky Lakes Wilderness offers peace and tranquility, and the developed campgrounds, Fourbit Ford, Snowshoe, Parker Meadows, Lower South Fork and Imnaha are small, rustic and secluded. The biggest and most developed campground is Whiskey Springs. It has 35 spots, piped water and pit toilettes. There is a day use area adjacent to the campground and a nature trail which is one of the stops on the Discovery Loop Tour. Whiskey Springs is only 10 miles from the town of Butte Falls and offers fishing, swimming and boating opportunities within a few minutes drive. No shower or hook-up facilities are available at any of the campgrounds, and fees vary according to services provided. The camping season begins with Memorial Day week-end and usually ends Labor Day week-end.

A unique camping experience found on the Butte Falls Ranger District is the Willow Prairie Horse Camp. Equestrians will find a beautiful setting, clean and cared for facilities and 17 miles of maintained horse trails. Willow Prairie Horse Camp is on a reservation system that takes place early in the year, so please contact the Ranger Station to get on a mailing list.

Imnaha Guard Station is a summer only rental. It is a small three-room cabin in a pristine forest setting where the headwaters of Imnaha Creek bubble up from the ground. Contact the Butte Falls Ranger District for reservation information.

The Butte Falls Ranger District is the gateway to the Sky Lakes Wilderness. Hikers will find a wide variety of trails ranging from easy-going to difficult, and from day hikes to week-long excursions. Weather and limited trail maintenance resources are a factor every season, so please call the Ranger Station for the latest trail information. Horse trails are also available, and we will be glad to mail you the brochures we have describing procedures for taking horses in to the Sky Lakes Wilderness.

The Pacific Crest Trail runs through the Sky Lakes entering from the South off of Highway 140 just East of Fish Lake, and exiting the Wilderness in the North directly into Crater Lake National Park. No wilderness permit is required for hiking the PCT in the Sky Lakes Wilderness. Self-registration at entry points into National Forest Land is voluntary, and is intended to provide the Forest Service with valuable Wilderness use information. For entry into Crater Lake National Park, a permit is required. Self-issuing permits are available at the two points where the PCT enters the park. Maps of the PCT and the Sky Lakes Wilderness are available through this office.

If you can't make it to the wilderness but want to hike, the Lower South Fork Trail is a ten mile hiking trail that runs South along the South Fork of the Rogue River, from the South Fork Dam, to the Upper South Fork Bridge. The upper 5 miles of this trail is for hiking and mountain bikes, and the lower 5 miles is hiking only. It is an easy going gently rolling trail.

For further information about the Butte Falls Ranger District please drop in, write or call. Our business hours are 8:00 to 4:30 M-F.

Butte Falls Ranger District
Joel King, District Ranger
800 Laurel Street, Butte Falls
Oregon 97522-0227
Voice: (541) 865-2700
FAX: (541) 865-2795