Hike Difficulty: hard
Trail Length: many miles – the sign said 6….
Elevation Gain: 2000 ft
My Rating (out of 5): 4.0 – Well, this was one of those days when I didn’t end up going to the same trail that I planned on. I wanted to explore more to the west of Medford, so I decided on Kerby Peak. It was only after the 1+ hr drive that I found out that they’d closed the gate for the season, effectively adding 5 miles (10 round-trip) to the hike if I still wanted to do it. I guess Kerby will have to wait until the spring.
I happened to see a sign for Grayback Mountain on my way to Kerby, and knowing that it was an alternate trailhead from the one I had used Friday, I gave it a go. Basically, to get there I followed the sign south from Williams until Rock Creek Road, where I followed another sign and took a right. The trailhead is hard to miss. It really looks more official than the O’Brien trail.
Reflecting on the two different attempts at Grayback Mountain, I know now that the O’Brien trail entrance is really a lot better. It puts you closer to Grayback and actually gives you a chance at conquering it. The Rock Creek version of the Grayback Mountain trail that I took today showed me some beautiful trees, but it took so much time winding around that I never even got close to Big Sugarloaf Peak’s summit. It put me through a lot of climb, yet never gave me that payoff shot from the top. There were just too many miles to cover and too many feet in elevation gain. I ended up turning around when I looked up and saw that I was still three mountains over from where I needed to be.