Memories of Siskiyou Summit Road

Golden-Crowned Kinglet - Regulus satrapaI have family in Central Point Oregon that I like to visit as often as possible. During my stays there I like to explore the surrounding region. Above the Rogue Valley, where most of the population in southern Oregon resides, there are forestry roads penetrating the high country. One such road is National Forest Road 20, or the Siskiyou Summit Road. This unpaved road traverses the Siskiyou Mountains from Mount Ashland to the Applegate Valley to the west. There are side-roads intersecting USNF-20, some of which dead-end or become impassable, some providing alternate routes leading down to the valley floor, and some that loop back to rejoin USNF-20.

During my explorations, when snow drifts aren’t a factor, I’ve not found any roads that a normal vehicle could not pass if care and caution were your guide. Including all the side roads on a journey here, the possibilities for rewarding encounters with nature as nearly limitless. The habitats this route offers along its way varies from rocky alpine slopes, grassy meadows, tall conifer woodlands, and all things in between.

I’ve made journeys here hoping I’d meet Gray Jays (okay, Canada Jays), but I’ve not found them, though it seems like it would be a good place to find them. While the Jays have eluded me, I’ve enjoyed many other avian encounters along this route. Even if bird-life is not your thing, the scenery from the high ridges can provide rewarding “top-of-the-world” vistas as far as the eye can see in all directions.

Mountain Bluebird - Sialia currucoidesI blogged about my past visits. Each of these excursions provided a unique experience. Those stories can be read by following these links:

  • My first visit included a trip to Dutchman’s Peak. I saw Red-Breasted Nuthatches, Yellow-Rumped Warblers, MacGillivray’s Warblers, Green-Tailed Towhees, Lazuli Buntings, Brewer’s Sparrows, Calliope Hummingbirds, Mountain Bluebirds and Golden-Crowned Kinglets

  • On my second visit snowpack prevented my crossing from Applegate to Ashland, but I had a nice encounter with Nashville Warblers. Hermit Warblers and other birds stayed high in the canopy, and I didn’t get images of those birds.

  • My third trip started in Ashland and I crossed all the way to Applegate. On the Ashland side, the highlights were the Juvenile American Robins I met. I remember missing my chance to capture an Evening Grosbeak, but with Chipping Sparrows, Juncos, Hairy Woodpeckers, House Wrens, Red-Breasted Nuthatches, bees, butterflies and flowers, I was more successful.

Below are some of my images from these excursions.

These meetings along the Siskiyou Summit Road (FS-20) between Ashland and Applegate did not yield as many birds as I’d hoped, but the bugs and flowers were a nice consolation prize.

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