This was my second hike of Stein Butte and my first time making a loop out of it by using the New London trial and road 1050. The hike total was approximately 10 miles with 3 miles of dirt road. I got the idea to do a loop from Luke Ruediger’s book The Siskiyou Crest. The Applegate area is a good place to hike in the winter when other areas are not accessible due to snow. I’m not saying that it’s not also good other times of the year but it can be dry and hot in summer months for sure. I personally wouldn’t do this hike or others in the area on days were the temperature will exceed 60 degrees.
The Stein Butte trail is a well maintained trail that gets regular use by hikers and bike riders. I’ve not seen any others hikers or riders on it yet but have only hiked it twice so far. There’s a good area to park at the trail head just off a paved road that’s accessible year round. The New London trail head is about 3 miles from the Stein Butte trail head via road 1050. Although at the time I hiked this the New London trail is not accessible in a vehicle because road 1050 is closed just a short distance from the California/Oregon border. There a few private residences on road 1050 just past the closed gate. It appears that only they are able to unlock the gate. The New London trail doesn’t appear to get much use any more. The trail looks like it’s not maintained and is not much more than a game trail in places. It wasn’t difficult to follow though and there was only one downed tree blocking it. It is a very steep trail though and I wouldn’t recommend using it as a way up to Stein Butte.
I don’t think I’ll do this loop again. I will hike Stein Butte again for sure but New London isn’t for me. If you do try this loop take lots of water and chose a mild day. Also watch out for ticks, I found one on me after I got off New London trail. If you have plenty of time and energy after you finish the New London trail you can go left away from Stein Butte trail head a few miles to Harlow Cabin. I believe its about 2 miles from the New England trail head via road 1050. I was going to hike to it but I wasn’t sure how far away it was.