Go adventuring on Brown Mountain for a breath of fresh air and great ski slopes. This is a terrific location for winter sports, as the thick layer of snow smooths the jumble of lava rocks and makes the summit and slopes perfect for gliding down. For experienced backcountry enthusiasts, Brown Mountain is ideal in that it’s remote, pristine, and offers terrific slopes to snowshoe or ski down.
There are a myriad of routes up the slopes of Brown Mountain, and not all are marked, so either use the Pacific Crest Trail and trek on your own path, or come via the Summit Sno-Park, where a marked winter trail travels under a row of powerlines. This is the trickiest part of the journey, so be sure to mark your path, bring a GPS, and watch out for steep snowbanks caused by snowplows.
Up on the slopes of Brown Mountain the terrain is softly undulating, gentled by thick layers of snow. Enjoy the dramatic pockets of coniferous forest against open lava fields. Remember that Oregon is volcano country, and you’re hiking up a cinder cone, so watch out for steam vents and hot rocks as you cross the lava fields. It’s a steep stretch up to the summit block, and you’ll know you’re close when the trees start to thin.
As a reward, the summit plateau is wide, with several high points. Find the best viewpoint, and take a break while enjoying the view of Mount McLoughlin across the way. On clear days the surrounding landscape is rich with hills and mountain peaks. And since you’re now at top, why not strap on those skis and whip down across the snow?
Brown Mountain is easy to find. Take Hwy 140 from Klamath Falls and head west, or from Medford head east. Hwy 140 crosses the Cascades and passes between Mt. McLoughlin and Brown Mountain.
In the winter when snow closes all the access roads off of Hwy 140, you need to park along Hwy 140 near the summit. There's also a large snowpark parking area about ¼ mile west of the highway summit.
Note that a Snow Park permit is required to park along Hwy 140 from November 15 through April 30.