Whetstone Butte



Country: United States

Location: Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon

Round trip: 3 km

Start elevation:1250 m

Final elevation: 1350  m

Maps: Grants Pass USGS 1:100,000

Contributor: David Sellars

getting there

Take US 199 south from Grants Pass and just beyond Selma turn right onto Eight Dollar Mountain Road (Forest Road 4201).  Cross the Illinois River Bridge and ascend on a good gravel road to the divide between Fiddler Mountain and Hungry Hill.  turn right and descend slightly to a large parking area at the edge of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.  

featured plant

Lewisia cotyledon

partial plant list

Achillea millifolium

Penstemon rupicola

Lewisia cotyledon

Lilium bolanderi

Calochortus tolmei

Brodiaea elegans

Rhododendron occidentale

Darlingtonis californica

Erigeron klamthense

Allium parvum

Monardella purpurea

Eriodictyon californicum

Viola hallii

Viola cuneata

Xerophyllum tenax

Zigadenus venenosus

Allium falcifolium

Fritillaria glauca


It is worthwhile driving slowly on the road up as there are many interesting flowers including Calochortus tolmei, Brodiaea elegans, Lilium bolanderi, (photo to the right above) Rhododendron occidentale and Darlingtonia californica.  West of the divide, the area was badly burned in the Biscuit Fire of 2002 but a few trees on the ridge tops fortunately escaped the flames. The trailhead is marked by this sign.  The start of the trail is indistinct and is to the left of a slightly descending road blocked by a ditch.  If you follow the road (to the right in the photo) it shortly ends and you have to climb back up to the left to find the trail on the ridge top.

On gaining the ridge top the rocky outcrop of Whetstone Butte can be seen just ahead. The ridge has excellent flowers and when we were there on July 7, 2010, Lilium bolanderi was emerging. This rare lily was in flower lower down on the road.  The year 2010 was a late year so in a normal year it would be advisable to go a week or two earlier.   Leaving the trail, it is easy to scramble to the top of Whetstone Butte on the right of the trail.  The summit rocks are festooned with Penstemon rupicola and Lewisia cotyledon.

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