(Siskiyou) Coast to Crest Trail Proposal - Poker Flat to Bolan Lake

The California Conservation Corp at work along 
the South Fork Smith River.

Only approx. 7.5 miles of new trail construction/ reconstruction is needed along the Oregon - California border to complete the proposed Poker Flat to Bolan Lake Trail, which would create a route linking the Siskiyou and Red Buttes Wilderness areas. The trail from Poker Flat to Bolan Lake is needed to complete the 100+ mile (Siskiyou) Coast to Crest Trail (SCCT) and the 400 mile Bigfoot Trail.

The SCCT would provide connectivity between the California Coastal Trail in Crescent City, California and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), near the Red Buttes Wilderness. When completed, the three trails would create a route circling the entire state of California. The proposed Jack-Ash Trail, would link the PCT to Ashland and Jacksonville, Oregon, creating a route from the Rogue Valley to the Pacific Ocean.

The proposed Poker Flat to Bolan Lake Trail would greatly benefit hikers along the Bigfoot Trail. This long distance route explores the incredible biodiversity of the Klamath Mountains; boasting 32 conifer species, 400 miles, 6 wilderness areas, and 1 national park. 

From Crescent City, California, the (Siskiyou) Coast to Crest Trail (SCCT) goes through Redwood National Park, following the Bald Hills Trail to the South Fork Smith River, where it connects with the Old Kelsey Trail to Bigflat Campground. The route continues along the South Kelsey Trail through the Siskiyou Wilderness, before dropping down into Clear Creek. The route follows Clear Creek upstream to it's headwaters in Youngs Valley, and connects with the trail to Poker Flat, which lies on the western edge of the Siskiyou Wilderness Area. From Poker Flat, the proposed Poker Flat to Bolan Lake Trail heads north to Little Grayback Mountain and then west to Bolan Lake (see below). The SCCT continues south on existing trails through the Red Buttes Wilderness Area to the Pacific Crest Trail. 
Old Kelsey Trail (SCCT) along the South Fork Smith River.

The (Siskiyou) Coast to Crest and Bigfoot trails are becoming increasingly popular, and every year, more and more people are hiking them. Efforts have been underway since the early 1980s to establish a route between Redwood National Park and the Pacific Crest Trail. The Redwood National Park Trail and Backcountry Management Plan (2009) highlights the importance of the (Siskiyou) Coast to Crest Trail. "Two of the best-known long-distance trails in the western US, the California Coastal Trail (Coastal Trail or CCT) and the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (Pacific Crest Trail or PCT), can be linked by construction of trail segments... Construction of a trail linking the California Coastal Trail with the Pacific Crest Trail would create a route circling the entire state of California. Both the California Coastal Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail originate in San Diego County.”

In 2011, the Del Norte Triplicate reported progress on the (Siskiyou) Coast to Crest Trail; thanking Clarke Moore, the Rose Foundation, Six Rivers National Forest, and the California Conservation Corp, with funding from the California River Parkway Grant Program, for their work to advance the project. Livingston (2011) announced, "Now work has been completed on the entire 7-mile stretch between Boulder Creek and Big Flat Campground (S.F. Smith). It is ready for visitors to walk, bike or ride horses on any part of it, or use it to connect with the Coast to Crest Trail linking the Coastal Trail with the Pacific Crest Trail."
Harrington Lake in the Siskiyou Wilderness Area.

"The historic route that the Kelsey Trail follows runs along the Smith River and into the Siskiyou Mountains. It was originally followed by native people, and then in 1855 Ben Kelsey was contracted to construct a trail from Crescent City to Fort Jones to keep the fort supplied with food and essentials. It also connected Scott Valley, Yreka and other Siskiyou mountain camps.

Mule trains of 30–40 animals were used to carry supplies through the rocky river canyons and over steep passes. Unlike a horse’s scraping hoof, a mule’s gait stamps straight down with all its weight, making it the ideal weight-bearing beast for the narrow and winding trail that was the original Kelsey route. A side-effect of the mules was compaction of the trail from their hooves into such a dense surface that much of the original trail from over 100 years ago is still intact and visible today with no vegetation growing up through it.”

The proposed Poker Flat to Bolan Lake Trail, which would link the Siskiyou and Red Buttes Wilderness areas, is currently awaiting approval from the Rogue River - Siskiyou National Forest. The route has been flagged and much of the work has already been done. To the many volunteers, current and retired Forest Service officials, and others, who spent countless hours to advance the project, THANK YOU!!!. The project has involved officials from Klamath, Six Rivers, and Rogue-River Siskiyou National Forest, Roger Brandt and Kenny Houck from the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization, and others. More information can be found below. Please consider making a call or writing a letter in support of this project!

The (Siskiyou) Coast to Crest Trail (SCCT) follows the South Kelsey Trail along the South Fork Smith River. From the Bigflat Campground, the route follows sections of the original Kelsey Trail, downstream for 7 miles to Boulder Creek. 

Biodiversity abounds in the Siskiyou Mountains and nearby Coast Range.

The Proposed Poker Flat to Bolan Lake Trail - Connecting the Siskiyou and Red Buttes Wilderness areas!

From Poker Flat (bottom), the trail would connect to the Red Buttes (at top), via Bolan Lake.
The new trail would end here at Bolan Lake, shown from atop Bolan Mountain, which has great views and camping options. From Bolan Lake, the trail connects to the Red Buttes Wilderness via the Kings Saddle Trail and Tanner Lakes.

Sweeping views along the divide between the Klamath and Illinois rivers can be found on the proposed Poker Flat to Bolan Lake Trail. The trail would connect the Red Buttes and Siskiyou Wilderness areas. A section of the trail follows an historic route, that by 1851, went from Happy Camp, California, over the Siskiyou divide to the Illinois Valley, in Oregon. Little Grayback on the right was used by Native Americans for centuries to navigate across the landscape.
The following maps show the proposed Poker Flat to Bolan Lake Trail, which would help complete the (Siskiyou) Coast to Crest and Bigfoot trails. Trails in green are already existing. Blue represents new trail construction/ reconstruction. Orange represents roadways that would be utilized for the route. Only approx. 7.5 miles of new trail is needed to complete the route!
This map shows the route crossing the Oregon - California border. The trail crossing Indian Creek is optional. As an alternative, there is enough margin along Happy Camp Road to safely accommodate hikers.
This map shows the old road (orange) and proposed new trail construction (blue) south of Little Grayback Mountain. Below the spring, the route follows an historic trail south to just above Poker Flat.
Only a short section of trail needs to be constructed north of Poker Flat and the Siskiyou Wilderness Boundary to connect to existing historic trail.

Coast to Crest Trail links and background information:

The Final Eight miles: Coast to Crest Trail Proposal: http://www.highway199.org/projects/coast-to-cascade-trail/

The South Kelsey Trail (more info below): http://smithriverwatershed.wordpress.com/south-kelsey-trail/

Rose Foundation Coast to Crest Trail Construction (CA): http://rosefdn.org/programs/previous-programs/coast-to-crest-trail/

The Bigfoot Trail: 32 conifer species, 400 miles, 6 wilderness areas, 1 national park. http://www.bigfoottrail.org

Redwood National Park Trail and Backcountry Management Plan (2009)

Walk Your World: Destination: Old Kelsey Trail. Haven Livingston, October 10, 2011. Del Norte Triplicate.

The Kelsey Trail, by Barry Evans, The North Coast Journal. November 20th, 2014

The 1,200 mile proposed California Coastal Trail is already roughly half-way completed!

Del Norte Trail Planning Report. 2008-09. http://www.dnltc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/TrailPlanningFinal2009.pdf

Pacific Crest Trail Association: http://www.pcta.org/discover-the-trail/
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