Layton Ditch Mine Trail 3-22-21

Photos by Darryl, Jerry and Randy

The weather gods smiled on us and held off showers until well after lunch. So 10 hikers were able to thoroughly explore this new hike. We came together on Panther Gulch Road above the rural community of Williams, Oregon some 40+ miles from Ashland off Highway 238.

The ditch trail is leftover from hydro-mining back in the 1860s. The entire trail runs about 21 miles from Panther Gulch to Ferris Gulch. We were doing a 7 mile out and back along the Upper Layton Ditch Mine Trail. It's mostly level as the ditch transported water at elevations between 2200' and 2400'.

This first hike of Spring began yielding wildflower sightings almost as soon as we hit the trail. The red Indian Warriors were springing up on the trail and in the ditch. Then came the bright blue blooms of the Hounds Tongue; and the sharp purple of the tiny Henderson's Shooting Stars.

We, also, met a six person trail clean up crew representing the Williams Community Forest Project and AmeriCorps VISTA.

About half way into our hike the group was surprised to find the remnants of two former Marijuana farms right on the trail! No plants remained, so we had 100% attendance at Boomtown post-hike.

Our destination and lunch spot was the historic “Chinese Wall.” Chinese laborers, who built the ditch system, faced a large rock outcropping that blocked the advance of the ditch. Using dynamite they blasted through a rock ditch and used the rock fragments to build retaining walls that allowed the water to continue flowing forward along the ditch.

At lunch we discovered new flowers growing out of the rocks including the yellow with red dot Monkey Face. With the wind picking up some of us took shelter in the rock ditch which was more than 6' deep.

Heading back after lunch the group veered off to explore a newly installed trail in Cherry Gulch that bypassed the pot farms.

Back at the cars, Liz suggested that we visit Pennington Farms Bakery on the outskirts of Williams on Highway 238. After some scrambling on country roads we all arrived and bought treats to take home.

Celebrating our new hike later at Boomtown, it seemed everyone had a great time.

Cheers,
Rich

Track download: Layton Ditch to Chinese Wall 3-22-21.gpx

Ashland Hiking Home

01-X1 Layton Ditch TH .jpg
01-X1 Layton Ditch TH .jpg
02-X2 Handsome Group of Hikers!.jpg
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03-X3 And our sweep.jpg
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