Roxy Ann/Prescott Park is one of those "close to home" hiking parks that we don't do postings on too often. However, since this hike was on a new trail, so new it wasn't even named or signed yet, we decided to let everyone in on the secret.
|A portion of the new trail near the start|
August here in Southern Oregon is usually known for two things: hot weather & smoke from wildfires. On the day we hiked, we knew we would have to start early to beat the heat but late enough to allow the first gate on the drive up to be open. So we arrived at 8:00 am and planned on a 2-hour hike . (a little Gilligan's Island music please)
|The trail was in the shade on the west side of Roxy Ann Peak|
The trail starts right at the second gate area where everyone parks. It is on the left side of the road and takes you slightly downhill from the main road but for the most part parrallels the road. Since it was early, most of this porton of trail was still in the shade. After about a mile the trail begins a series of long switchbacks downhill till your reach the saddle area between Roxy Ann Peak and Little Roxy Ann.
|Little Roxy Ann|
After the switchbacks the trail begins entering the more forrested portion of the hike which was our favorite part. The climbing and descending were mixed in with flat portions as the trail wound its's way around trees and manzanita bushes. We came across deer a few times during this portion and there were different spots on the trail that afforded great views of both Table Rocks.
|Slowly the trees begin to appear......|
|Even the manzanita were subject to the trail cutters.|
The trail eventually made it way to the north-east side of Roxy Ann where the landscape is an Oak Savannah and mostly out in the sun. We saw numerous large dead woodpecker trees and their residents along the trail and had some great views of Roxy Ann in one direction and Mt McLoughlin in the other direction.
|Must be a few woodpeckers in the area|
|VIew of Roxy Ann Peak as the trail heads out into the sun|
The trail ends by tying in to the loop road near the Rock Quarry. The distance from the start of the trail to this point is 4.3 miles. So for most hikers, you would take a left onto the loop road and walk it around and down to get back to your car. It would be about a 6 mile hike. Or if you are into long hikes, taking a break where the new trail joins the loop road and then hiking back the way you came on the same trail would take you back to your car for an 8.6 mile hike.
|View of the end of the trail|
|View of end of the trail from the loop road - no sign, no name, just a trail|
However, both of those options are not what we did, but then you probably don't want to do what we did, at least not on a hot day. When we arrived at the loop road we saw another new trail right across the road and thought it was a continuation of the trail we had hiked and that it would take us back to our car. (Jaws music please). At least that is how Glenn heard it told, but maybe those Fred Meyer shoppers weren't honest???? Anyway, that other trail we took consisted of a series of switchbacks that go uphill to the very top of Roxy Ann, which was not on our agenda today. So after hiking two-thirds of the way up and then realizing where this trail was going, we jumped onto the Manzanita trail to get back down. That trail by 10:30 am was in full sun and it was a long..... hot....... descent and our hike turned into a 7 mile "way too hot and long" hike in which we drank all of our water. Good thing there was a Starbucks on the way home!!
But don't let our misadventure scare you away. This new trail (the first one) is a very nice 4.3 mile trail and we really enjoyed hiking it. The soil is loose in many sections due to it being new and not yet packed down, so do watch your step. It is open to hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding ---- at least there was evidence that all 3 groups have used this trail. Matter of fact, we hope to hike it again in the Autumn or Winter and will probably try to do the out and back hike for 8.6 miles.
There are plans for even more trails and facilities to be built at Prescott Park, so for those of you in the Southern Oregon area, keep your eyes and ears open for any updates. In the meantime, we'll keep exploring any new nameless trails we find and keep you updated through our blog.
Glenn & Carol