Once More the Forest (Southwest Oregon) 03-Apr-2020

Today was our second day of sunshine before the next Spring storm is supposed to roll in.  We took advantage of this sunbreak with a short loop hike in one of our favorite local spots – Jacksonville Forest Park.  Given the present situation, we were hesitant to do this hike given the park’s popularity.  But we figured that with 30+ miles of trail and 7 trailheads spread over 1,080 acres, we could configure a route that kept us from encountering too many other people.  Plus today was a weekday – something that always helps with crowds.  We’ll skip going to this park on weekends for the foreseeable future.

We parked at the P-5 Trailhead and went up the Twin Peaks Trail to the overlook on Twin Peaks.  On the way up we passed one woman with two dogs.  Then we descended and took the Atsahu Trail past the Norling Mine and on up to the top of Jackson Ridge.  Here we saw, some 50+ feet away, one man and a dog.  From the ridge we went down to Jackson Creek on the Jackson Ridge Trail, then down the Jackson Creek Nature Trail and back to P-5 on the Canyon Vista Trail.  We passed one woman, a small boy, and a little dog on the Canyon Vista Trail.  Both the boy and the dog seemed to have vast amounts of energy to expend and were busy doing so.  Ah, youth!

We leave P-5 in sunshine
Climbing the lower Twin Peaks Trail
On the upper Twin Peaks Trail
The view from Twin Peaks; the top of Mount McLoughlin (arrow) reaches just above the clouds
On the Atsahu Trail
Colors from last season…
Along a barren Jacksonville Creek…
Which will be this verdant in just two months
But only Western Trillums were in blossom at the moment
Through the madrones on the Canyon Vista Trail
Madrone abstract

In the end, a pleasant six mile loop with 1,000 or so feet of gain during which we passed three people and saw one.  So success in avoiding crowds!  Less success with sunshine.  It was sunny when we arrived at the trailhead and sunny when we got back to it but mostly overcast when we were actually on the trail.  Oh, Sun, how fickle art thou?  Now we can hunker down (like shelter-in-place but with cocktails) for a few days while the out-of-doors is lashed with waves of rain and snow.  Then the pursuit of obscure, uncrowded hikes will continue… 🙂

Our loop through the forest
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3 comments

  1. Thanks for the quick reply, I sent Wellington an inquiry. Funny I have lived in the area a long time and have been all over the forest creek area and never even knew it existed. Havent seen a cabin quite like it either. Thanks for the posts, I too am going to see as much as I can while my legs can still carry me there!

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  2. It’s good to see you’re getting outside! And thanks for liking the pictures! 🙂

    There used to be a USFS trail sign where the Mule Mountain Trail meets Applegate Road but that was taken down after the easement was lost. But, while the USFS website for this trail makes it clear that you’d now be trespassing (as did the duty ranger at the Star Ranger Station), there is no sign to this effect at the old trailhead itself. It would be clearer for everyone if the USFS would invest in putting a “no” sign here.

    I usually share directions, but with the cabin, I was given directions to it on condition that I not reveal those directions – which is why my write-up is vague and there’s no map. You might contact the Wellington Wildlands people to see if they can share directions.

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  3. Hi My wife and I recently hiked Jacksonville Forest Park, and your charlie buck route, including to the top of Baldy, quite nice views from Charlie Buck. We also hiked in from the Squaw lakes side to Baldy. Have also hiked the Mule creek loop to Baldy. There were no signs saying to keep out on the easment portion last time we drove by.
    Im interested in visiting the old miners cabin you mentioned in post which is in the Wellington Butte wildlands. Would appreciate any other hints as to where it is located. Love your pictures, they are very well done.

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