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Outdoor-activity

Local Hiking Trails in Ashland Oregon


Local Hiking Trails In and Around Ashland

This winter, between rainstorms, Jim and I found some time to explore the local hiking trails in and around Ashland. My goal was to expand my first-hand knowledge of trails that are dog-friendly [on-leash! ] and/or easy to get to from the Chanticleer Inn. The City of Ashland has some online maps of Ashland’s trails.

So far, we especially enjoyed the trails in Hald Strawberry Park and Ashland Watershed. Judging from the over-wintering plants, evidence of last summer’s growth, and evergreen trees, come springtime all of these trails will have an abundance of native flowers.

There will be more blog posts describing additional trails and walks in and around Ashland; meanwhile here are two hikes:

Hald Strawberry Park

This park is situated west of Lithia Park, uphill from Granite St. A small network of trails wend through the chaparral habitat with native madrone, manzanita, and oak. On the highest point you will find a bench which provides a view toward the Rogue Valley. From the park’s gentle hills there are many lovely views overlooking Ashland’s downtown with the Bear Creek Valley and the Western Cascades in the background.

To get to the park: from Granite St. take Strawberry Lane (it will be a bit steep uphill). The trail crosses Strawberry Lane just after Alnutt St. Take a right onto the trail — one can go left, but it will be a dead end before too long. Once on the trail going north, you will come to a fork, I would opt for left. After that, consult the map as the trails in this park crisscross and loop around a knoll. It not difficult to find one’s way out of the park, just go downhill, you will either come out the way you came, or onto Skycrest Dr. or Ditch Road.

One of Many Local Hiking Trails in the Ashland Watershed

This hike has a picnic table, so think about packing a snack. 

There is a collection of local hiking trails in Ashland’s Watershed, many of those closest to town (south and uphill) have Alice in Wonderland themed names. They are tightly networked and for the most part well marked, but I recommend bring a map. I always have a stack of the maps in the inn’s foyer.

For those who want approximately 1.5 to 2 hour roundtrip hike starting from and returning to the Chanticleer, here is one of several possibilities.

Similar to Hald Strawberry, but with more conifers, this area will have native wildflowers in the spring.

Directions: From the Chanticleer Inn walk uphill. It will be steep: just keep in mind you’ll be going back down on the return! Gresham St. ends at Holly St., turn right and make an immediate left onto Gutherie. Then take Herbert which veers off (forks) to the right. The trailhead will be on your left between two residential houses. This trail will bisect Cottle-Philips Property and end at Ashland Loop Road. Turn left onto the road and look on the right for the Red Queen trail. Once on the Red Queen, you’re in the Watershed, now choose one of the two below.

Shorter loop: continue on Red Queen, pick up JubJub and stay to the right. In a very short distance you’ll cross the BTI (this is the big red/white line on the map which is bike only), in a short distance turn right on Bandersnatch. Follow Bandersnatch as it switchbacks three times, evens out the trail, and crosses BTI again. A couple more switchbacks and you’ll be on a knoll with a picnic table. Continue downhill and you’ll spill out on Waterline. Continue downhill, you’ll get on Glenview and then right/back up onto Waterline. About a block or so, you’ll be back on Ashland Loop road and you can retrace your steps downhill to the inn.

Longer Loop: continue on Red Queen, turn left onto JubJub. In a short distance you’ll cross the BTI (this is the big red/white line on the map which is bike only), and almost immediately turn right/south onto Bandersnatch. Bandersnatch will parallel BTI going south for ~.25mi then cross BTI again and turn west and follow the switchbacks uphill. You’ll once again cross over the BTI, in a couple more switchbacks and you’ll be on a knoll with a picnic table. Continue downhill and you’ll spill out on Waterline. Continue downhill, you’ll get on Glenview and then right/back up onto Waterline. About a block or so, you’ll be back on Ashland Loop road and you can retrace your steps downhill to the inn.

Ground cones on local hiking trails

Easy to walk by thinking “that’s a pine cone” but it’s really Kopsiopsis (Boschniakia) strobilacea, or ground cones. Not uncommon on the local hiking trails. Photo by Ellen Campbell

 

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Dog Friendly Parks and Trails in Ashland Oregon


Dog Friendly Parks and Trails

Frequently, guests who like to hike and walk with their dogs are disappointed when they discover Lithia Park is off limits for dogs — even on leash. The sidewalk and the multi-purpose trail around the park is dog-friendly. Go here for a close up map of Lithia Park and the uphill trails west of the park, showing where you may walk with Fido. Additionally there are a number of city parks throughout Ashland, and trails up on the watershed that are dog friendly. There is also an off-leash dog park. Many trails and parks are easily accessible from the inn and downtown.

Go here for the City of Ashland’s map of the dog friendly parks and trails.

This winter, weather permitting, Jim and I have been exploring some of the local close to the town trails. We especially enjoyed these walks: Hald Strawberry Park and Red Queen-Bandersnatch trails. For more detailed description of these trails, please follow the links.

Ashland Watershed

Ashland watershed stretches quite a bit south and west from Ashland, totaling 15,000 acres, it includes Mt. Ashland (7,533′) at the furtherest south and four other peaks (ranging from 4,650′ to 7,253′) circling the watershed to the west and south. In future blog posts, I will describe more of these trails and how to get to the trailheads.

Dogs on leash are welcome throughout the Ashland Watershed which is uphill and south of the town. The trails closer into town are very accessible from the Chanticleer inn on foot. They are well maintained. Some are hiking-only, some are biking-only, and others are mix use. Be sure to ask me for trail maps. The Chamber of Commerce hands them out for free.

Many locals do not respect the leash-only rules. Some dogs stay close and will obey ‘come back’ commands. Unfortunately, many do not. The rules are in place for the safety of the dogs, other hikers, and wildlife. There is abundant wildlife in the hills, some will be dog aggressive: bear, cougar and deer.

All of the watershed trails that are close to town have names of characters and creatures in Alice in Wonderland. No one has been able to tell me why or when that naming tradition got started, but it does make one feel like a true local when talking about the trails.

ready for dog friendly walking

My favorite “puppy” Reba

 

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Charles St. Pierre Fly Tying and Casting Classes


Charles St. Pierre, presenter at Bug ‘n Brew 2017

charles st. Pierre

Charles St. Pierre

Pierre is best known for his signature patterns like the Hoh Bo Spey fly. Pierre is also a veteran Kanektok King Salmon fisherman, an Olympic Peninsula steelhead junky, and owns Northwest Spey Casting. He is one of the most talented and patient Spey instructors around.

Saturday, March 4, 2017 

1-4 pm
Steelhead Tying Class: CSP’s Signature Flies ($50)

  • Learn to tie the popular and deadly Hoh Bo Spey, Foxy Dog, and GP Spey.
  • 4-6 pm: Steelhead Confidence Flies (Free!)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

  • 10am to 1 pm: Spey Clinic w/ Charles St. Pierre ($95)
  • Spey Tune-Up and Winter Steelhead Tactics

All Steelhead Tying Classes and Free Presentations will be held at the Ashland Fly Shop on 399 E. Main St. Ashland OR, 541 488-6454. Spey Clinics will be held at Tou Velle Park on the Rogue River.

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Raft Rogue River Ecology Trip August 21, 16


Rogue Undammed: River Ecology from a Raft

What happens to a river and its habitats once the dams go away? Find out as you raft Rogue River and immerse yourself in its ecology during this removal and restoration adventure.

Raft rogue river

Siskiyou Field Institute image of the Raft Rogue River class

The session will start at approximately 9 am at the TouVelle State Park boat launch area (north side of river downstream from Table Rock Road bridge). After a short introduction, the group will raft Rogue River for approximately 6 miles (river mile 131 to river mile 125), stopping along the way to observe and discuss river processes such as sediment movement, habitat complexity, river channel features.

The group will stop near Bear Creek for lunch and the site of the former Gold Ray Dam to see and discuss restoration and monitoring actions since the dam was removed in August 2010. Float will then proceed to the take out point.

Instructor: Craig Tuss, M.S.
Date: Sunday, August 21 , 2016
Location: Meet at TouVelle State Park boat launch
Tuition: $155

About Siskiyou Field Institute

The mission of the Siskiyou Field Institute is to increase the understanding of, and connection to, the Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion through education, scientific research, and public engagement.
SFI provides the means for the region’s leading scientists and naturalists to share their passion and deep knowledge with the general public with dynamic field courses and youth education and Naturalist Certification programs.
The Institute is where people of all ages and educational background come to learn about and explore the remarkable Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion.
The Institute provides a wide variety of courses on topics from lichen identification to snorkeling with local salmon!

Two Spring Mushrooming Class May 29 & June 5, 16


Mushrooming Class Given by Siskiyou Field Institute

Mushrooming! Learn all about the spring-fruiting fungi, including morels and more. Class emphasis will be identifying edible mushrooms as well as inedible and toxic species. The class will start with a brief spring mushroom overview at the Ashland Co-op Community classroom on Pioneer between B and A streets, in Ashland’s Railroad District, short walk from the Chanticleer Inn. Afterward the class will car pool up Highway 66 to foray near Howard Prairie Lake.

Morel mushrooming

Mushrooming for morels

Instructor: Mike Potts
Date: Sundays, May 29 and June 5, 2016
Location: Meet at the Ashland Food Co-op Community Classroom in the Railroad District
Tuition: $55

About Siskiyou Field Institute

The mission of the Siskiyou Field Institute is to increase the understanding of, and connection to, the Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion through education, scientific research, and public engagement.
SFI provides the means for the region’s leading scientists and naturalists to share their passion and deep knowledge with the general public with dynamic field courses and youth education and Naturalist Certification programs.
The Institute is where people of all ages and educational background come to learn about and explore the remarkable Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion.
The Institute provides a wide variety of courses on topics from lichen identification to snorkeling with local salmon!

Darlingtonia californica, carnivorous plants


I am frequently asked if there is anything to see while on the Hwy 199 (aka the Redwood Highway), which is the road that connects the coastal towns of Crescent City or Brookings, at the California/Oregon border, to the Rogue Valley.

There are of course the coastal redwoods, not to be missed! Then there are the Oregon Caves, and one could stop at a winery or two as well, but there’s a little known botanical attraction that I feel worth a small amount of time to see — that is Darlingtonia californica. It’s not common in North America to find carnivorous plants in the wild, and that’s exactly what you get to see!

Where are these beauties? One of the quickest and easiest stops is the Darlingtonia Trail. This stop is just off Hwy 199 at mile marker 17.9 (yeah, I know 17.9, but if you get to mile marker 18 or to 17 you would have missed it). When I say just off, I mean the driveway is the parking lot.

The Darlingtonia Trail

The trail is an easy level stroll; and short, a mere 0.3 miles. The pull out is between Panther Flat Campground and Grassy Flat Campground, on the north side of the highway. For more information.

Setting off on the loop trail, interpretive signs will inform you with the details about the Darlingtonia as well as the trees and shrubs you are seeing along the path, including Incense Cedar, Douglas Fir, salal, evergreen huckleberry and in the right season sweet smelling western azaleas and trilliums.

About Darlingtonia californica

The Darlingtonia californica or otherwise known as California Pitcher plant, or Cobra Pitcher plant is most unusual and uniquely endemic to Southern Oregon and Northern California. It grows in bogs and seeps with cold running water. This plant is designated as uncommon due to its rarity in the field.

Darlintonia is the only species in the genus. The plant was “discovered” in 1841 by the botanist William D. Brackenridge at Mount Shasta, CA. In 1853 it was described by John Torrey, who named the genus Darlingtonia after a Philadelphia botanist. In common with most carnivorous plants, the cobra lily is adapted to supplementing nitrogen through carnivory, which helps compensate lack of available nitrogen.

Because many carnivorous species live in hostile environments, their root systems are commonly as highly modified as their leaves. The cobra lily is able to survive fire by regenerating from its roots, but despite this ability the plants roots are delicate. So please stay on the trail.

The cobra lily is unique among American pitcher plants. It does not trap rainwater in its pitcher. It regulates water inside by releasing or absorbing water into the trap that has been pumped up from the roots. The efficiency of the plant’s trapping ability is attested to by its leaves and pitchers, which are, more often than not, full of insects and their remains.

 

Darlingtonia californica

Darlingtonia californica, closeup

Darlingtonia californica aka Cobra Pitcher plant

Darlingtonia californica

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Rogue River Preserve Wild Flowers April, 17 ’16


Rogue River Preserve Botany Walk

Follow my favorite local botanist Kristi Mergenthaler to explore vernal pools, oak woodlands, chaparral and magnificent floodplain forest of the Rogue River Preserve near Eagle Point and Upper Table Rock. Just 35 minutes north from the Chanticleer Inn, makes for an easy day morning/afternoon hike. Afterwards, while in the neighborhood, one can do some wine tasting or cheese/chocolate tasting in Central Point.

In the class/hike, Kristi will acquaint you with the language of botany while looking at the native plants that live on the Rogue River Preserve — a 353-acre valley floor property, including the rare White Fairypoppy, Winged-water Starwort, and White-flowered Navarretia.

We’re also likely to see Lewis’s and Acorn Woodpeckers. Part of the class fees will be donated towards the acquisition of this beautiful place for conservation by Southern Oregon Land Conservancy.

Fields of Gold on top Table Rock, where vernal pools can be seen!

Fields of Gold on top Table Rock, where vernal pools can be seen!

Instructor: Kristi Mergenthaler
Date: Sunday, April 17, 2016
Location: Meet at the Dollar Tree store in White City, 7338 Hwy. 62
Tuition: $55
Go Siskiyou Field Institute’s website for information

About the Rogue River Preserve

Located along the banks of the Rogue river in Jackson County, Oregon, the historic Rogue River Preserve is an oasis of land and water that has been in the same family for over 70 years. The Southern Oregon Land Conservancy is currently working with the MacAuthor family to buy the property and thus ensure its protection for generations to come. The 352 acre property hosts diverse and rich habitats (many are endemic and endangered), oak savanna, vernal pools, meadows, oak-pine woodlands and chaparral, along 1.5 miles of riverbank. Additionally the property is the second largest riparian gallery forest on the Rogue River upstream of Galice. No wonder hundreds of species call this land home! Its permanent protection will ensure that the extraordinary scenic, wildlife, recreation and habitat values will continue to be a community resource far into the future.

Rogue River Preserve vicinity map

Vicinity of Rogue River Preserve in Jackson County Oregon

About Siskiyou Field Institute

The mission of the Siskiyou Field Institute is to increase the understanding of, and connection to, the Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion through education, scientific research, and public engagement.
SFI provides the means for the region’s leading scientists and naturalists to share their passion and deep knowledge with the general public with dynamic field courses and youth education and Naturalist Certification programs.
The Institute is where people of all ages and educational background come to learn about and explore the remarkable Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion.
The Institute provides a wide variety of courses on topics from lichen identification to snorkeling with local salmon!

Mount McLoughlin View from Grizzly Peak


Mount McLoughlin from Grizzly Peak’s Trail Head

Mount McLoughlin

Mount McLoughlin

Mount McLoughlin, easily viewable from the Rogue Valley, is a “Fujiyama-esque” lava cone built on top of a composite volcano.  For most years, and sometimes all year round, there usually is snow on top.  Lately however due to the lack of winter rains, this mountain is bare and brown — like too many other peaks in the Cascades.

Its elevation is about 9,495 feet.  When I see that number, I always think, surely a team of burly and determined youths should haul up rocks and dirt to obtain an extra 5 feet so the height would be a nice round 9,500 ft.

 

 

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Hiking in Ashland: the TID Ditch Today


Hiking in Ashland

Rocks, Moss and Madrones while hiking in Ashland

Hiking in Ashland

It’s easy to do hiking in Ashland … go out the front door and walk uphill a few blocks.  There are wonderful trails and country roads all throughout the “water shed” — an area that forms the foothills of Mt. Ashland.
Today I walked along “the ditch”, as the locals refer to the Talent Irrigation District Ditch.  A water way source that comes from the mountain lakes in the Cascades, the ditch was built in the early part of the last century for agricultural use around Ashland.  Now it’s a back up source, if/when the water from Mt. Ashland dips too low.

I love hiking in Ashland, you can get out into the country within mere minutes.

For more information go to the Ashland Trails Organization website

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Lithia Park Nature Walks — Free


Lithia Park Nature Walks

Ashland Creek

Guided Lithia Park Nature Walks — Free

From May to September, no matter the weather, a trained docent naturalists will lead a fun, informative and easy 1.5 hour nature walk through Ashland’s gem — Lithia Park.

Topics include: trees, flowers, birds, climate, water and history of the park.

Days: Sunday, Wednesday and Friday (Saturday in July and August)
Time: 10 am
Meeting point: park entrance nearest the Plaza

And yes, you can do it all!  You can enjoy the Chanticleer breakfast and get to the nature walk on time without being rushed.