China Ditch (Jacksonville Forest) 10-Mar-2019

Jacksonville Forest Park stands out in a hiking world that struggles to maintain existing trails much less build new ones. The park has added several new trails in just the short time we’ve been avidly hiking there. The Steep Canyon Rangers Trail and Grotto Trail extension opened in the last few months and the new Knobcone Pine Trail opened just a few weeks ago. We also found that the Arrowhead Pass Trail, which we’d first hiked last year, got enhanced with the addition of a loop called the China Ditch.

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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.

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Jacksonville Forest Park I (Oregon) 16-Feb-2018

Jacksonville Forest Park Oregon

The City of Jacksonville, Oregon styles itself The Hiking Capital of Southern Oregon. To bolster this claim, the City maintains the Woodlands Trails, a web of pleasant hiking, biking, and equestrian trails on 320 acres on the west edge of town, southeast of Highway 238. It also maintains an extensive network of more rugged hiking and biking trails in 1,100-acre Forest Park, northwest of town on the west side of Highway 238. Although we have been avid users of the Woodlands Trails since we moved here, the trails in Forest Park had thus far escaped the gentle caress of our boots.  Today we addressed this oversight (and the sloth accumulated during our recent week in South Florida) by tromping out a loop hike on trails around Norling Gulch. The few online maps we could find for these trails were often incomplete or inaccurate or both. The most complete and accurate (current) map proved to be the one obtainable at the park’s parking lot kiosks (and, presumably, from the City).

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