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Easy Epics: 17 Drive-up Campsites a Backpacker Will Love

Combine the best of car camping (spacious tents, comfy chairs, frosty margaritas!) and the best of backpacking (deep solitude, outrageous scenery, swimming holes!) with these 17 accessible hideaways.

Rouge-Siskiyou National Forest
Forest Road 20

Get Mt. Shasta views and Oregon wildflowers.

Even from a distance of 55 miles, 14,162-foot Mt. Shasta awes. Fixing the giant mountain squarely in sight is one of your goals while shopping campsites on the Siskiyou Crest in southern Oregon. The other? Proximity to the Pacific Crest Trail. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to fulfill both objectives from Mt. Ashland Campground and pull-offs along smooth Forest Road 20, which plays tag with the PCT for some 20 miles. This might just be the best established camping in America. Each campsite offers a variation on this theme: clusters of big-diameter firs, alpine grasses and meadows, and rocky jumbles of volcanic rock boulders. It’s free, and traffic is light. Too busy for your taste? Just head down the road for more options. Views from camp are of the rocky crest of Mt. Ashland to the north and the snowy crown of Mt. Shasta (in California) to the south. Snow-capped peaks may dominate the skyline, but from late June through July, the subalpine wildflowers are the Siskiyous’ real treasure: Enjoy a rainbow of colors from monkshood, penstemon, Indian paintbrush, larkspur, beargrass, and phlox. Hike the PCT south for more blown-open views from Siskiyou Pass and 6,800-foot Big Red Mountain.

Get there From I-5 south of Ashland, take exit 6 and head west, following the signs to Mt. Ashland. Go .7 mile, then turn right on Mt. Ashland Rd./FR 20 and follow it for 9.3 miles to reach the campground. UTM 10T 0523613E 4658203N
Map Rogue River National Forest ($9, fs.fed.us)
Contact fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou; (541) 618-2200

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