Polar Bear Gap

(to Polar Bear Gap)
5.2 miles round-trip
1000 feet elevation gain
Open mid-June to mid-November
Use: hikers, horses

Difficult (to Private Lake)
14.3-mile loop
3600 feet elevation gain 

Left: Private Lake.

This corner of California’s Siskiyou Wilderness is so remote it’s accessed via Oregon. A well-graded trail traverses Black Butte’s dry forests to Polar Bear Gap, a bare saddle strewn with bright red, green, and white rocks. Views extend east to Mt. Shasta. For a grander adventure, however, continue on a much rougher loop trail across Twin Valley to a rarely visited cirque lake surrounded by the crags of The Lieutenants. If you plan on using a campfire, be sure to pick up a permit from the Forest Service ranger stations in Cave Junction or Gasquet.

To find the trailhead, drive ...

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon.

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