GO HERE: Apple, Pumpkin, Cinnamon: Colors Abound for Fall Hike Season
There’s nothing more invigorating than a hike through a colorful autumn forest on a crisp day, and Oregon trails are quite showy. Grab your coat, boots and water to enjoy nature’s palette on these local trails.
Natural Bridge: A popular scenic viewpoint just north of Prospect is Natural Bridge, where the Rogue River flows underground through ancient lava tubes. Easy hiking trails wind through fiery western azalea, autumn dogwood and striking vine maple, and save time for Crater Lake Park only minutes away. Be alert to swift river conditions and keep children and dogs safely on trails.
East ART: Completed in 2017, the 5-mile non-motorized East ART (Applegate Ridge Trail) offers panoramic views of the Applegate Valley. Originating from Sterling Creek Road in Jacksonville or Hwy 238, this new, easy-to-moderate trail affords visitors a panoramic fall photo opportunity and meditative splendor from its yet unpopulated 3000 foot elevation.
PCT: If all of the hubbub about the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) has you curious, try this day hike near Mt. Ashland Ski Park. Just a half mile past the ski area you’ll reach the 40S15 dirt road junction. Park and walk the dirt road approximately a half mile to the PCT and turn right onto the trail. The Grouse Gap shelter junction is two miles further, where you’ll depart the PCT and head south toward the shelter’s well-kept picnic area and bathroom. This out-and-back hike leads you past aspen groves, alpine meadows and terrific views of Mt. Shasta. At over 6000 feet, don’t forget warm clothing!
Northern Sky Lakes Basin Loop: A great introduction to the Sky Lakes Wilderness is via the Northern Sky Lakes Basin Loop. This 17-mile trail explores the pristine and untouched land, including the serene Puck lakes and splendid fall foliage. Considered a long day-hike or a leisurely 2-3 day excursion, this loop is moderate-to-rugged and begins from Nannie Creek Trailhead off of West Side Road near Klamath Lake. Some research beforehand is advisable for appropriate gear and precautions, and be aware it’s hunting season.
This article originally ran in the 05.18 issue in 2018.