Uhtoff & Lewis (Ashland, Oregon) 06-Apr-2021

Five years. Five years and change since our first and only hike of the Mike Uhtoff Trail on the south edge of Ashland. Then we got distracted by other trails and other adventures. Unless trying to find toilet paper and hand sanitizer count, we’ve been real short of other adventures for the last year or so. Sigh. Staying with the staying local theme and all that, we decided it was time to revisit the Uhtoff. In the intervening years, the Ashland Woodlands and Trails Association has constructed an interactive trail guide with maps that you can use to make sense of all the hiking and biking trails south and west of Ashland. We used that to piece together a route from the Oredson-Todd Trailhead to the Lewis Loops and back.

The day was faintly hazy, cool, and sunny; perfect for hiking. 😎 Not so perfect if what you really, really need is a lot more water from the sky, a lot more. We’re currently in a drought and the dryness was apparent as we made our way along trickling Clay (or Hamilton) Creek to the Mike Uhtoff Trail and up that through an un-lush forest to the Caterpillar Trail. Then south along the Caterpillar to the first of the Lewis Loops (Gyre). We whipped around that and made a brief foray out toward the second loop (Gimble) before caving-in to a snack and a sit. Then back the way we’d come, but descending the White Rabbit Trail rather than the Uhtoff.

Starting out along Clay Creek on the upper Oredson-Todd Woods Trail
Red-Flowering (Oregon) Current
The diminished cascade on Clay Creek
Up the Mike Uhtoff Trail
A view of Ashland
Continuing on up the Uhtoff
The Caterpillar and several other trails collude at Forest Road 2060
Continuing on the Caterpillar
Approaching the junction with the first Lewis Loop
Roxy Ann Peak (arrow) from the Caterpillar/Lewis junction
Mount McLoughlin
Going over Point 3862 on the Gyre Loop
Mount Ashland (note NEXRAD ball on top) from the Gyre Loop
Bark
Returning along the Caterpillar Trail
Down the White Rabbit Trail
Ashland from the White Rabbit
Milkmaids (Tooth Wort)
Back to the Oredson-Todd Woods Trail

Lots of trees, a few constricted views of the classics (Mount Ashland, Mount McLoughlin), and a wildflower here and there. It’s still early season but this year’s lack of sky water probably isn’t helping the bloom. Still, good exercise – 7.4 miles (11.9 km), with a heart-warming 1,700 feet (518 m) of gain – on a soothing day in the woods. 🙂

Our Uhtoff & Lewis route
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2 comments

  1. Mike was before our time but his legacy lives on in this trail and in the memories of you and others. 🙂 It’s nice to have separate trails for hikers and bikers. Sadly, the drought is bad again this year – Howard Prairie is only about 8% full (when 50-60% is “normal” for this time of year) – and we’re looking at a very short season for irrigation water. 😦

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  2. Great hike in our old stomping grounds. Not sure if you ever met Mike Uhtoff, but he was a good friend and did so much for the Rogue Valley. It’s scary to hear about the drought so early in the season.

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