Description - The Butte Falls Ranger District encompasses over 130,000 acres on the West slope of the Southern Cascade Mountains, including the Skylakes Wilderness. The elevation ranges from 2,500 feet to the top of Mount McLoughlin, at 9,495 feet. The headwaters of Middle Fork and South Fork of the Rogue River are located on the North end of the district within the Sky Lakes Wilderness. On the South end is the Big Butte Springs Watershed, encompassing 41,752 acres of National Forest Land. The Big Butte Springs system is the primary source of domestic water for the city of Medford and surrounding communities.
Camping opportunities on the Butte Falls Ranger District will appeal to those who like to get away from it all. The Sky Lakes Wilderness offers peace and tranquility, and the developed campgrounds, Fourbit Ford, Snowshoe, Parker Meadows, Lower South Fork and Imnaha are small, rustic and secluded. The biggest and most developed campground is Whiskey Springs with 35 spots, piped water and pit toilettes. There is a day use area adjacent to the campground and a nature trail which is one of the stops on the Discovery Loop Tour. Whiskey Springs is only 10 miles from the town of Butte Falls and offers fishing, swimming and boating opportunities within a few minutes drive. No shower or hookup facilities are available at any of the campgrounds, and fees vary according to services provided. The camping season begins with Memorial Day weekend and usually ends Labor Day weekend.
A unique camping experience found on the Butte Falls Ranger District is the Willow Prairie Horse Camp. Equestrians will find a beautiful setting, clean and cared for facilities and 17 miles of maintained horse trails. Willow Prairie Horse Camp is on a reservation system that takes place early in the year, so please contact the Ranger Station to get on a mailing list.
Imnaha Guard Station is a summer only rental. It is a small three-room cabin in a pristine forest setting where the headwaters of Imnaha Creek bubble up from the ground. Contact the Butte Falls Ranger District for reservation information.
The Butte Falls Ranger District is also the gateway to the Sky Lakes Wilderness. Hikers will find a wide variety of trails ranging from easygoing to difficult, and from day hikes to week-long excursions. Weather and limited trail maintenance resources are a factor every season, so please call the Ranger Station for the latest trail information. Horse trails are also available, and we will be glad to mail you the brochures we have describing procedures for taking horses in to the Sky Lakes Wilderness.
- This Ranger District features the Sky Lakes Wilderness and the 9,495 foot Mount McLoughlin. The campgrounds in this area feature a secluded camping experience, and numerous trails provide opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and backpacking.
Recreation - Activities include hiking, camping, backpacking, horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing and swimming.
Climate - Climate on the Rogue River National Forest changes with elevation. Much of the precipitation comes from October to April in the form of rain at the low elevations and as snow in the higher elevations where very cold temperatures are possible. Although snow is possible in the lowest elevations, it is infrequent. Late spring, summer and early autumn tend to bring clear, sunny days with moderate temperatures.
The Butte Falls Ranger District is located about 30 miles east of Medford, Oregon and may be accessed via County Road 821 and Primary Forest Routes 34 and 37.