Klamath Mountains


Trinity Alps at Granite Lake in July 2005

The Klamath Mountains, sometimes called the Salmon Mountains, are a rugged, sparsely populated mountain range in the U.S., which runs to the south-western Oregon from northwestern California. Your northernmost part form the Siskiyou Mountains. The highest peaks of the Klamath Mountains are Mount Eddy ( 2750 m) in Siskiyou County, Thompson Peak ( 2744 m) in Trinity County, and Mount Ashland ( 2296 m) in Jackson County. They are characterized by changing geological conditions, in larger areas by serpentine and marble. Climatically influenced they are by moderately cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, rain poor summer. The special geology has led to the formation of a unique plant community, which is referred to as the Klamath Siskiyou Forests. This includes several endemic or near-endemic tree species, such as Lawson (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ), Foxtail pine ( Pinus balfouriana ssp. Balfourinana ), Brewer Spruce (Picea breweriana ) and Kalmiopsis ( Kalmiopsis leachiana ), which together one of the most species-rich conifer communities form the world. The area is also home to a rich fauna, for example, nine species of salmonids, also bears, large cats, and eagles.

Forests and protected areas and tourism

Large parts of the Klamath Mountains are national forests of the U.S. Forest Service, together comprise several million hectares: Shasta - Trinity National Forest, Siskiyou National Forest, Klamath National Forest, Six Rivers National Forest Mendocino National Forest.

In it, seven large-scale nature reserves on the type of Wilderness Areas, in addition to forestry forests used mainly on the California side embedded, the strictest category of protected area of the United States. They were established in 1984 and 1964 and together comprise about 5430 km ², where there is no infrastructure such as roads, buildings or other facilities. Trails are maintained partially rudimentary, hiking is also the only permissible method of travel in the territories, vehicles of all kinds, including mountain bikes, are prohibited. Within the statutory provisions, however, hunting and fishing are permitted.

Especially in the field of Russian Wilderness, established in 1984 with an area of ​​nearly 50 square kilometers, more conifer species than any other site found worldwide. More largely untouched and unspoilt by man areas are the Trinity Alps Wilderness (second largest Wilderness Area in California, 1984, 2130 km ²), Siskiyou Wilderness (1984, 740 km ²), Marble Mountain Wilderness (1964, 980 km ²), Yolla Bolly -Middle Eel Wilderness (1964, 730 km ²), Red Buttes Wilderness (1984, 80 km ², both sides of the border between California and Oregon ) and Kalmiopsis Wilderness (1964, 730 km ², entirely in Oregon ).

The transition zone between the southern Klamath Mountains, the Cascade Range and the desert region of the Great Basin is recognized since 2000 as the Cascade - Siskiyou National Monument, under the administration of the Bureau of Land Management. It is the first and only National Monument, which was made ​​primarily because of its biodiversity under protection. The touch of the three major ecological regions makes the area of about 215 square kilometers so exceptionally rich in species.

In the Klamath Mountains there is an extensive network of hiking trails (including the Pacific Crest Trail passes through these mountains ), recreation areas and both natural as well as well-equipped campsites.

Important rivers

Among the most important rivers include the Eel River, Van Duzen River, Klamath River, Trinity River, Mad River, Smith River, Salmon River, Rogue River and Scott River.



The river network of the Klamath Mountains provides important spawning grounds for a total of nine trout and salmon species, however, is the existence of some species, especially among the salmon has declined dramatically over the last 50 years. This is mainly due to the construction of dams, but also excessive deforestation. The logging on the steep slopes leading to the entry of large amounts of fine Schwemmmaterials in the river beds, which the spawning grounds affected because the fish exposed gravel need for spawning. Important fish species are next king salmon and silver salmon rainbow trout, brown trout, sockeye salmon, brook trout, crappie, bluegill, catfish, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

Other animal species

The vast forest areas in conjunction with the thin human settlement offer numerous animal species favorable living conditions. Among the mammals are found Puma, American Black Bear, Bobcat, lynx, raccoon, marten, fisher marten, beaver, gray fox, red fox, Northern flying squirrels and plenty of deer. In birds are to call Golden Eagle, Bald Eagle, Pileated Woodpecker, sheds neck dove, various hawk species as well as several large owls, including spotted owl. Previously arrived in the area that grizzly, wolf and Roosevelt elk. In the latter two, there are plans for resettlement, particularly in the less problematic as applicable Wapiti. From the most remote regions, there are sometimes reports of Bigfoot sightings; these also play a role in the legends of the Native Americans.


The Klamath - Siskiyou forests form a coniferous forest ecoregion of the Temperate Zone between northwestern California and southwestern Oregon, and comprise approximately 50,300 km ² in the mountainous region known as the " Klamath Knot". The ecoregion is home to a high biodiversity with several different plant communities, including rain forests of the temperate zone, moist inland forests, oak forests and steppes, mountain forest and alpine grassland. In the region of thirty conifer species occur ( including seven endemic), making the Klamath Mountains to one of the world's most species-rich coniferous forest regions. In the area several plant communities are also found that are adapted to specific soil conditions, especially serpentine.

Among the conifers include Douglas fir ( Pseudotsuga menziesii ssp. Menziesii), Lawson's cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), sugar pine ( Pinus lambertiana ), mountain hemlock ( Tsuga mertensiana ), Colorado Fir ( Abies concolor ssp. lowiana ), superb fir (A. magnifica ssp. shastensis ), Brewer Spruce (Picea breweriana ), coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), red cedar (Thuja plicata), and Pacific yew ( Taxus brevifolia ).

Typical species of the Trinity Alps, for example, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, superb fir, Colorado fir, California black oak, Quercus chrysolepis, Arbutus menziesii, Oregon maple, Aesculus californica, incense cedar, and Jeffrey pine. California's northernmost locations of white pine ( Pinus Sabiniana ) are located on the Südgabelung of the Salmon River.