Illinois River Trail

Illinois River from Illinois River Trail

  • Easy (to York Creek)
  • 5 miles round-trip
  • 450 feet elevation gain
  • Open all year
  • Use: hikers, horses

  • Moderate (to Pine Flat)
  • 10.6 miles round-trip
  • 1650 feet elevation gain

  • Difficult (to Bald Mountain)
  • 20.6-mile loop
  • 4125 feet elevation gain
  • Open late April to early December

The Illinois River rages through a Wilderness canyon so rugged that the Illinois River Trail has to climb over a 3975-foot mountain just to get through. Following this trail up Bald Mountain is a classic backpacking adventure through some of the wildest country in Oregon. But day hikers can sample the trail’s scenery, too—either with an easy walk to York Creek or with a longer hike to Pine Flat, where the green river boils over aptly-named Boat Eater Rapids.

The massive 2002 Biscuit Fire began with a lightning strike at Florence Creek in the midst of this hike’s route. Surprisingly, although the blaze overswept the entire area, many of the large trees survived. Even in the small areas where the fire burned so hot that it left only snags, the trees have sprouted back with a vengeance. The pines reseeded naturally. Deciduous trees such as scrub oak, tanoak, and madrone simply sent up fresh shoots from the roots.

From Grants Pass, follow …

Other Hiking Options

With a car shuttle you can …

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