Siskiyou Crest Film
Sagebrush to Sea: A Journey Across the Siskiyou Crest
a 47 minute film
by Luke Ruediger & Suzie Savoie
Learn more on the Sagebrush to Sea Facebook page
The Siskiyou Crest is a rugged, remote and spectacularly diverse mountain range straddling the border of northwestern California and southwestern Oregon. Little known, but incredibly wild and beautiful, the Siskiyou Crest is the only mountain range in the Pacific Northwest running east to west, connecting the volcanic Cascade Mountains to the Coast Range.
This vital habitat connectivity corridor extends from the sagebrush clearings and quaking aspen groves near Mount Ashland, to the fog drenched redwoods of the Smith River. From sagebrush to sea, the Siskiyou Crest is the axis for biodiversity on the West Coast and home to some of the most diverse conifer forests in the world.
In June 2019, partners Luke Ruediger and Suzie Savoie hiked nearly 200 miles through the wildlands of the Siskiyou Crest, starting on the Pacific Crest Trail at Interstate 5 near Siskiyou Summit on the western edge of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument above Ashland, Oregon, and ending 10 days later on the shores of the Pacific Ocean south of Crescent City, California. The journey traversed the beautiful Applegate River watershed, the headwaters of the Illinois River, the Smith River and many, many miles of the rugged Klamath River watershed.
We hope to bring you along on this visual journey across this wild and largely unknown region, through old-growth forests, lush mountain meadows, colorful rock gardens, and across the long, rugged spine of the Siskiyou Crest.
Although it’s taken us two years to put this video presentation together, it has been a labor of love, and has allowed us to share this journey with others who may never get to see it themselves, and deepen the understanding of the importance of the region.
Our route through the heart of the Siskiyous traversed two states, Oregon and California, five counties, two wilderness areas, three National Forests, including the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, the Klamath National Forest, and the Six Rivers National Forest, as well as the Smith River National Recreation Area and Redwood National Park.
With a portable solar panel for charging our phones and cameras for filming our journey we hiked through long hot days, cold, misty mornings, persistent summer downpours and windy afternoons in the high country, then dropped into a thick marine layer of fog to the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.
With our feet in the wet sand, we realized that a longer, harder journey still lies ahead, and that journey leads to the permanent protection of the Siskiyou Crest.
We hiked the following trails along our Sagebrush to Sea route.
- Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)
- Boundary National Recreation Trail
- Tanner Lakes Trail
- Roads from Tanner Lake Trailhead to King Saddle Trailhead
- Kings Saddle Trail
- Roads from Bolan Lake to Poker Flat
- Poker Flat Trail
- Youngs Valley Trail
- Clear Creek Trail
- West Fork Clear Creek Trail
- South Kelsey National Recreation Trail
- Little Bald Hills Trail
- Mill Creek Trail
- Roads to Crescent Beach
For detailed descriptions of our route, or to do the hike yourself, we recommend the following resources:
You can use the PCT Data Book to follow our route along the PCT from Siskiyou Summit to the junction with the Boundary National Recreation Trail on Devils Ridge near the Red Buttes Wilderness.
Sagebrush to Sea Reviews
“Watching From Sagebrush to the Sea, I was seized with the urge to send it to all my out-of-area friends and family. “See?! These are the Siskiyous! See why I love them so much?” Here is the whole range of the Siskiyou Mountains in all its wildness, beauty, and variety—the wildflowers, the peak-top vistas, the burns that have replenished the land, the steep climbs, the big-tree forests, and did I mention those amazing wildflowers? And the mystical waterfall and the bear just ambling out of camera range? This video of two people’s ten-day backpacking trek from one end of the Siskiyou Mountains to the other— from the sagebrush country of the eastern edge west to the redwoods and Pacific Ocean—with its gorgeous photography, day-by-day maps, and delightful narration, highlights the varied landscapes and important ecologies of this beautiful, wild, rugged land.”
–Diana Coogle, Author of many books, including Favorite Hikes of the Applegate, and the blog, From the Mountains Above the Applegate River http://dianacoogle.blogspot.com/ Applegate, Oregon
“What a gem this is, such a monumental gift of love for the earth, and what an education for armchair video adventurers hiking along across this wild, remote region for the first time, fully connecting the entire route. Hearing the wind, the sound of footsteps, the crunch of leaves under foot, the “nature guide” narrative along the way, and close-ups of rare wild flowers, and the naming of them — I could feel myself squatting to sniff and examine them!
I loved being able to stop and go back to especially gorgeous spots and look at the marvelous up-close photos of wildflowers rarely seen in such luminous detail. The accomplishment of traversing and documenting this wild, remote, largely untraveled region at all, totally on their own, in such an intimate way, with minimal equipment is awesome and wonderful. The photography, the big views and panoramas — an amazing accomplishment!!”
–Dot Fisher-Smith, Longtime social justice and environmental activist, artist, community organizer and great-grandmother http://anordinarylifethemovie.com/ Ashland, OR
“A spectacular visual journey! Luke and Suzie are the perfect tour guides during their walk across the Siskiyou Crest. En route, they share the region’s natural history highlighted by beautiful imagery and stories.”
Michael Kauffman, Author, educator and ecologist, as well as founder and president of the Bigfoot Trail Alliance, owner of Backcountry Press, and research scientist with California Native Plant Society