Fremont National Recreation Trail (northernsegment)
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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).
In the northwest portion of the Fremont National Forest the Fremont NRT # 160 begins at the top of 8196 foot Yamsay Mountain. On this summit the views are spectacular. Panoramic vistas of Mt. Shasta, Fort Rock Basin, and numerous snowcapped peaks of the Cascade Range are spread out in front of the viewer. It is a photographers dream come true.
As the trail travels east it passes through a variety of environments including open ponderosa pine stands, alpine meadows, dense lodgepole pine stand, mountain mahogany thickets, trout-filled mountain streams, and colorful rock outcrops. It climbs to the summit of Hager Mountain. for more panoramic vistas of the mountains and the deserts of the northern Great Basin. The contrasts between the green valleys and sparkling lakes and the stark vertical rock formations like Table Rock and Winter Rim are striking.
Near Farmwell Trailhead the trail turns south and ascends to the top of Winter Rim which it follows for the next 30 miles. (14 miles constructed at this time, March 2000). The views along this section are primarily of the Summer Lake Basin and the high desert off to the east (photo). The viewers vantage point from atop Winter Rim is about 2000 feet above the valley floor on a nearly vertical fault block. It’s almost like being in an aircraft as you look over the edge of these spectacular cliffs.
Good trailhead facilities are found along the trail at intervals of from five to ten miles. 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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