Tunnel Time Hiking: Trails with Tunnels
Tumbling down the rabbit hole with Alice or observing our nation’s fascinating train history, tunnels have an undeniable intriguing allure. Whether seeking a historical hike or simply a new trail to try, these hikes that include tunnels will not disappoint. Of course, use caution around tunnels, as trains are still active, tunnels not always stable, and entering tunnels or treading on train tracks is considered trespassing. We advise observing from a distance.
Tunnel 13 near Ashland: This tunnel’s claim to fame is that it was actually the site of the most recent train robbery in the United States back in 1923. Three brothers set the mail car on fire, and murdered the postmaster, which they were all prosecuted and imprisoned for. The last of the brothers to be released from prison wrote a book on the experience in 1961. There are old bunk houses and maintenance sheds along the hike as well, the abandoned Siskiyou Station, recalling the bustle of railways of yesteryear. A gorgeous view of the Colestin Valley is also visible along the way. To get there, take I-5 South to the Mt. Ashland off-ramp (gravel area) and the hike is up the hill. Check out greatoregonoutdoors.com for a map.
Tunnel 9 near Hugo: Pictured here, Tunnel 9 near Hugo is located in a lush, green wonderland. While requiring a bit a drive on paved and gravel roads before the hiking begins, the view from the vehicle is almost as scenic as the hike. During the season, stop and check the creek for commuting salmon.
To get there from I-5 heading North from Grants Pass, take the Hugo exit. Turn left onto Pleasant Valley Road, a right on Three Pines Road, a left on Hugo Road, and finally a right on Quartz Creek Road. Quartz Creek Road continues up the mountain, connecting to multiple hiking trails the farther up you go. Note that there are private residences on this road, so be sure to stay off private property. Check out hugoneighborhood.org for a good map of the area.