Jacksonville Forest Park IV (Oregon) 02-Apr-2018

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon

Well, maybe we went a little out-of-bounds this time but, having done a lot of hiking in Forest Park recently, we were looking for some new trails to explore. Plus there were some geocaches hidden out in the wilds that seemed like they’d be fun to hunt for. Plus The LovedOne’s knee was still saying “no long hikes or I’ll hurt you..” So when we were offered a bluebird –  perfect-for-hiking – sunny day, we were off for yet another hike in (and out of) 1,100-acre Forest Park.

As we’ve noted before, making sense of the 20+ miles of trails in this park is much improved by possession of a trail map (obtainable from a parking area kiosk or the city). The unexplored trails and geocaches of interest were high on the west side of the  park, so we started hiking from the P-7 parking area, near the head of Norling Gulch. Parts of Norling Road up to the P-7 are steep and deeply rutted, so it was nice to be driving a high clearance vehicle.

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon
Parked at the P-7 trailhead on Norling Road

From P-7, we walked a short distance up Norling Road, then took the Atsahu Trail to the Jackson Ridge Trail and descended that to the old road (now a bike trail) along Jackson Creek. Last time we were on the ridge trail, it was covered with several inches of snow!

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon
Descending the Jackson Ridge Trail

It was at this point that we started into perhaps forbidden territory by walking up the old road along Jackson Creek and past the park boundary. The road was open – but festooned with motorcycle tracks – until we came to some salvage logging of burned forest that had strewn trees and debris on the road. The motorcycle tracks by-passed this blockage by going in to and directly up the creek bed!

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon
Salvage logging of a burned forest
Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon
The motorcycle trail emerges from the creek bed

After being forced to climb up the creek bed too, we soon rejoined the road as it turned south above Lennox Gulch.

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon
On the old road

After a short hike south on this road, we turned southeast on yet another old road – well defined by motorcycle tracks – that climbed directly up the northwest ridge of Point 3455. Here we think we crossed back into the park but, frankly, we haven’t been able to find a recent map that accurately depicts these old roads, the park’s boundaries, private versus public lands, etc.

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon
Climbing the ridge toward Point 3455

The old road goes directly over Point 3455 and offers some limited views of the Red Buttes to the south and of Medford and Mount McLoughlin to the east.

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon
Mount McLoughlin (arrow) from the old road over Point 3455

We continued south on this road, going up and down, up and down as it stuck to the top of the ridge, all the while trying not to slip into the deep motorcycle ruts.

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon
Along the old rutted road south of Point 3455

South of Point 3455 we went outside the park again, crossed upper Norling Road (Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Road 37-3-26.1), passed the head of Norling Gulch, climbed another set of motorcycle ruts,

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon
Ruts with a view

and reached a junction with yet another old road. As near as we can tell, this was the original Arrowhead Pass Road (there’s a newer one downslope to the south that some maps label as this road).

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon
The old Arrowhead Pass Road

We followed this old road due east,

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon
Along the old Arrowhead Pass Road

which offered up a view as far northeast as Diamond Peak, Mount Bailey, and Mount Thielsen.

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon
Looking northeast from the old Arrowhead Pass Road

At some point, we crossed back into the park and reached an unsigned junction with the southern end of the park’s Arrowhead Pass Trail (another old road). After passing an immense trench in the road (more of a hinderance to hikers than to motorcycles), we followed it back down to P-7, crossing the Atsahu Trail on the way.

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon
Descending the Arrowhead Pass Trail

The LovedOnes knee held up for most of this short (5.2 miles) but steep (1,400 feet of elevation gain [up and down]) hike, but was complaining by the end. So more rest and more knee exercises. But, all in all, a good hike to unexpected places on a beautiful day. And we found a few geocaches too!

Jacksonville Forest Park Arrowhead Pass Trail Oregon
Our track on trail (red) and old roads (black dash), in and out of the park boundaries (brown/white dash)

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2 thoughts on “Jacksonville Forest Park IV (Oregon) 02-Apr-2018

  1. Wow, you went “to infinity and beyond”! Got to love those “rut” trails. We are hoping to get back to the Forest Trails in April and try to log a 10+ hike from P1 up to the Grotto and back. Think we will stay within the boundaries though.

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    1. From P-1, out via the Siskiyou, Halls of Manzanita, The Grotto Trails; back via the Jackson Creek, Boulder, and Ol’ Miners Trails. That should get you to about 10 miles and you’ll feel like an “ol’ miner” when you’re done! 🙂

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