East Applegate Ridge Trail 2-23-18

Photos by Bob

5 members of the Monday Group did the 30 miles to the trailhead off Sterling Creek Road. The parking area is about 1/4 mile from the road and it is huge and at about 3,000'. There are maps and explanations at the trailhead and the very good trail is well-marked, with no obstacles.

For most of the way we had about 1/2-1 inch of snow. We climbed through the forest and it soon opened up to spectacular views, from Wagner Butte to the Red Buttes, following Sterling Creek Road. The trail took us to about half way then turned right and over the ridge at 3,300' towards Highway 238. 

The second half descended through the forest and eventually we emerged about a mile from Highway 238. We decided to do the whole length and return but the trail turned into slippery mud. It had just happened because the trail was smooth. After giving it a try we decided to return and find a lunch spot in the woods. The snow had melted in the open areas.

Takeaways: We were very impressed with the hike. It would be over 9 miles return but less than 10. There is ample elevation gain. You can have a big climb right away or after lunch, depending which end you start from. Starting from the north end gets the big climb out of the way in the morning and there is a big picnic table at the south end trailhead. Then mostly downhill after lunch. The south end trailhead was easy to find, just past the 4 mile marker on Sterling Creek Rd and well signed. 

We definitely will include it in the Monday schedule once the trail dries out. The south end will dry out sooner because the trail is on rock with a bit of soil versus deep soil at the north end. 

Ashland Hiking Home

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