Fremont National Recreation Trail (Government Harvey Pass to Cox Pass)
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The Fremont National Recreation Trail (NRT), also known as the Southern Oregon Intertie Trail, is still under construction. Once this trail is completed it will traverse the entire length of the Fremont National Forest from north to south and it is planned to eventually connect the Pacific Crest Trail to the Desert Scenic Trail. The Fremont National Forest has been actively working on this trail since 1987 and the project is nearing completion, with only two gaps of about 15 miles each left to be constructed at this time (March 2000).
The portion of this trail between Government Harvey Pass and Cox Pass is approximately 50 miles long. From Government Harvey Pass the trail runs south along the crest of Winter Rim, a fault block rising more than 2000 ft. above the Summer Lake basin. Some spectacular vistas of the Summer Lake basin and the high desert to the east of it are available from this portion of the trail. In this vicinity the trail offers access to the Slide Mountain Geologic Area via a short (1 ” mile) side trip on a primitive road. (photo 106k) Fishing opportunities are found along several miles of this trail as it descends Bear Creek and again when it reaches the Chewaucan River (16 ” miles south of Govt. Harvey).
After crossing the Chewaucan River (photo 120k) the trail ascends another high ridge. It climbs 2424 feet over the next 10 miles to reach the summit of Morgan Butte. Here, if they wish, trail users can visit with the Forest Service employee who staffs the fire detection lookout located there. The panoramic vistas for up to 150 miles in all directions at this point “have to be seen to be believed.”
From Morgan Butte it is another eight extremely scenic miles to Moss Pass Trailhead. From Moss Pass to Cox Pass is an interesting and relatively easy 15 mile trip with great views of Abert Rim, one of the highest fault block scarps in North America.
This 50 mile segment of the Fremont NRT offers just about every type of environmental landscape the Fremont has to offer; including high elevation subalpine vegetation, colorful lichen encrusted rimrocks, open ponderosa pine stands, dense stands of lodgepole pine, lush meadows, deeply shaded mixed conifer old growth stands, and sagebrush/juniper covered rolling hills. Seasonal wildflowers abound throughout the route. Environmental changes are frequent and the views are stunning as the user travels this portion of the Fremont NRT.
The trail is well signed and is marked with grey diamonds and red, white, and blue NRT logo reassurance markers. Pack stock watering chances are located along the route every two or three miles. Sites suitable for primitive camping are common. There are a number of road access points available for shuttle vehicle parking on this route for users who do not wish to travel the entire distance (see Forest visitor map available at all Fremont NF offices).
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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.
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