Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Applegate Ridge Trail - East

October 1, 2017

Here in Southern Oregon there have been many trails added during the year for us locals to hike. New segments have been created at the Jacksonville Forest Park to bring their trail count to 25.  Prescott Park has added new trails as they begin their upgrade and expansion which includes a new parking area and kiosks throughout the park. But our goal today was to try out the new Applegate Ridge Trail East - "The ART".

Time to go hike the ART!

The Applegate Ridge Trail is currently a work in progress.  The goal is to have a trail from the Cathedral Hills trail system in Grants Pass to the Jack-Ash (Jacksonville to Ashland) trail located in Jacksonville.  When completed, this would be over 50 miles of trail from Grants Pass to Ashland.  But don't worry, there are plans for various trailheads along the route that would allow access for day hikes.

First view of the Applegate Valley from the trail
 That is where our hike today fit in. Our friend Richard drove down from Roseburg to join us as the lure of a "new" trail was too much to pass up. We began our hike at the trailhead off Sterling Creek Road to try the this just completed 5.6 mile segment which ends at Route 238 near Ruch.  There are plans to have a trailhead at the Route 238 junction in 2018.

Hiking along the trail with a view of the trail crossing the ridge up ahead.
The first 3 miles or so offered us incredible views of the Applegate Valley with the Autumn colors of the grasses, poison oak, and a few trees that have begun to change colors. Richard was hooked on this trail within minutes and exclaimed "this is why we hike!"  The varying weather of sun, clouds and even a little rain, only enhanced the color and beauty that surrounded us as we hiked along the ridge.

Some of the Autumn color we saw along our hike

At times the trail led us into forested areas and offered a contrast and change of view from the ridge portion, but was still just as beautiful to hike.  After the first 3 miles or so, the trail begins to slowly descend on its way down to the Route 238 junction.  We did not hike all the way to the end, but found a spot just a half mile short of the end where we took a nice break and told old hiking stories. Richard did not bring a banana for our dog Katie, so she had to suffer by eating jerky and dog biscuits.

Peeking through the oaks from the trail

A tree that has seen better days, but still beautiful.

Our return hike began with climbing back up to the more level ridge segment and allowed us once again to take a deep breath and enjoy the quiet and beauty of the surrounding hills, mountains and woods.  When we finished our hike, we had logged 10.5 miles.  Richard  enjoyed the trail so much that he is hoping to bring the Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club down to try a shuttle hike of this segment.

Great views on a beautiful Autumn hike!

If you are interested in a shorter distance, there was a bench at about the 2.5 - 3 mile mark which had an incredible view and allows you to sit down and take a break before hiking back.

Looking up the ridge from the trail
If you are interested and want more information on the ART, Jack-Ash and other trails in the area, be sure to check out the website for the Applegate Trail Association and the Siskiyou Uplands Trail Association.  Their websites have great information, maps, and updates and you can also sign up to receive emails/newsletters from both.  Happy Autumn Hiking!!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol


  1. That was an awesome hike! Thanks for inviting me

    1. Glad to have you along on the hike. Hopefully we will get out there again in the Spring. Let us know if the club hikes the ART and when, would love to join them.