East Applegate Ridge Trail (Southwest Oregon) 19-Feb-2022

After 5 days out-of-town sitting in cars and planes, some trail time was needed. With The LovedOne catching-up on her volunteer duties at the library, it was my call as to where boots would meet dirt. Rain and snow are (again) expected here next week – and these are no less critical now than in months past. But today was forecast to be cold (at least at first), clear, and sunny, so I decided to partake of the huge views of the Applegate Valley and the surrounding peaks available from the East Applegate Ridge Trail (East ART). As penance for all that sitting around, I embarked on an out-and-back hike from the lower trailhead.

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East Applegate Ridge Trail (Southwest Oregon) 28-Feb-2021

I first hiked the East ART, solo out-and-back from the (upper) Sterling Creek Trailhead, soon after the trail opened in 2017. In 2019, after the lower trailhead on Highway 238 was finished, I coxed The LovedOne into a one-way downhill shuttle-supported hike between the two trailheads. The excellent weather we had on both these hikes favored the huge views of the Applegate Valley and the surrounding peaks you get from the upper half of this trail. When today was forecast to be cold (at least at first), clear, and sunny, we decided to reprise my first hike here, only this time out-and-back from the lower trailhead.

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East Applegate Ridge Trail (Oregon) 11-Oct-2019

I first hiked the then new East Applegate Ridge Trail (East ART) in late 2017. The LovedOne couldn’t join me then due to pressing fiber projects (there’s a pun in here somewhere). Today was, however, a sweet spot for her between the library and the fiber, so we were off to enjoy the East ART in absolutely perfect hiking weather. 🙂 One thing I love about this trail – in addition to its great views – is its passage through a variety of our signature plant communities. Oak woodland, pine forest, madrone forest, grassy meadows, buckbrush thickets, alluringly colorful poison oak – this trail has them all.

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A Cabin in the Wildlands (Oregon) 23-Apr-2019

There is an old cabin deep in Southwest Oregon’s Wellington Wildlands. Likely an old miner’s cabin. A low structure. More of a dugout really; now with a partially collapsed roof. Nestled in a grove of spindly tall madrones adjacent to a perennial water source. Probably built in the 1920s or 30s. Now a reminder of those who sought (usually in vain) to draw riches from the fickle geology of this region. The cabin is located far from any trail or road and getting to it is quite a cross-country adventure.

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Wellington Butte (Ruch, Oregon) 13-Dec-2018

The collection of short, but view-filled, trails near Mount Isabelle in the Wellington Wildlands west of Ruch, Oregon includes the Isabelle Peak and Spring Trails, the Sundown Trail, and the Heart Trail, the latter planned as a principal part of the central section of the Applegate Ridge Trail (ART). With rain due in tomorrow, I used today’s bluebird weather to hike the Heart Trail and take in the view from atop Wellington Butte (3,710 feet). After yesterday’s snow frolic, The LovedOne decided she needed to stay home and sew another blouse.

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Sundown Trail (Ruch, Oregon) 06-Dec-2018

A week or so ago, we hiked up Mount Isabelle in the Wellington Wildlands near Ruch, Oregon. The views from the summit were, as promised, excellent, as was the day. The Applegate Trails Association has developed other trails in this area, in conjunction with their work on the still evolving Applegate Ridge Trail (ART) system. One of these is the Sundown Trail, which runs along a ridge south of Mount Isabelle. We had to wait out several days of much needed rain (and snow – Mount Ashland opens tomorrow! 🙂 ) before we could give this trail a try.  But today’s sunny, cold, and cloudless break between storm systems was our chance to get in a little hiking absent “full conditions.”

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Mount Isabelle (Ruch, Oregon) 25-Nov-2018

Our persistent search for yet another new hike eventually took us to a short loop on Mount Isabelle, in the Wellington Wildlands near Ruch, Oregon. The views were reported to be spectacular (and they were 😀 ). The Applegate Trails Association has developed several trails in this area, in conjunction with their work on the still evolving Applegate Ridge Trail (ART) system. Since the route to the summit is only a mile long, we added a short cross-country section to connect with the Isabelle Spring Trail, which we used for our return.

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East Applegate Ridge Trail (Southern Oregon) 14-Nov-2017

East Applegate Ridge Trail Oregon

Whatever else you might say about 2017, it was a great year for new trails in Southern Oregon!  Several hiking, biking, and equestrian trails came online in Prescott Park, Phase I of the Jack-Ash Trail was opened by the Siskiyou Upland Trails Association, and then the Applegate Trails Association weighed in with the East Applegate Ridge Trail, another addition to the still developing 50-mile long Applegate Ridge Trail (ART) system.  It’s hard to keep up with all this trail activity and we were out fiddling with Point 5648 when Glenn & Carol and Richard ventured out along the new east ART trail.  I hesitate to say that they “gushed” about their hike (even though it did rain some) but they were clearly captured by its smooth tread, vast views, open meadows, and transits of oak, madrone, and pine forests. We were consumed with envy.  When today looked to be (and was) an amazingly bluebird perfect break in the atmospheric river of wet that has been coming our way lately, I went for it. The LovedOne stayed behind to make a dent in her growing number of fiber art projects, thus missing a great hike.  So sad…

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Sterling Mine Ditch Trail (Tunnel Ridge) 05-Oct-2013

Sterling Mine Ditch Trail Oregon


We were down in Jacksonville, Oregon on business (and enjoying the sun) but had time for a quick hike (there are many to chose from in this area). After consulting the guide and a local, we decided on doing a portion of the trail that follows along the abandoned Sterling Mine Ditch – which has now been restored as a hiking trail. This is Hike #62 in Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon (Third Edition). The full hike is 17.1 miles but we went for the 4.7 mile loop that included a hand-dug, through-the-ridge tunnel. This is a very nice trail and it was somewhat encouraging to find ones’ tax dollars actually being used for something constructive and fun.

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