Our Guidelines and Instructions:
Scheduled for Fridays, year-round, the Moderate Group is one option under the Ashland Hiking Group. It is for those who need or desire a lightly paced, shorter hike than is customary in the other AHG options. These hikes feature an easy pace for 4-6 miles (occasionally 7) and typically under 800’ elevation gain. Winter snowshoeing distances and elevation gains will be less.
We take a leisurely lunch break to socialize and sometimes share a short poem or other form of inspiration (voluntary but welcomed). On the trail, we stay together for safety and enjoyment. If a hiker wants to stop short of the destination, at least one fellow hiker will join. We recommend a hiking pole or two, and sturdy hiking boots. When driving a distance, we may have a voluntary post-hike experience in the area or on our return drive. Bring lunch, plenty of liquids, sunscreen, hat, and basic first aid items. Seasonal items include bug repellent, raincoat, winter attire and snowshoes.
Meet at 8:20 AM at the Rite Aid parking lot on Ashland Street for an 8:30 AM departure (unless informed otherwise for a given hike). Plan a full day, unless the hike location is close to Ashland. Carpooling is by personal choice, arranged at Rite Aid parking. All hikers must sign a liability waiver, provided by the hike leader, before their first hike with an Ashland Hiking Group, which covers liability for any of the AHG hike options.
While the Covid 19 Pandemic is with us, hikers must be fully vaccinated and bring masks for use when close to others or indoors, and while driving together in an enclosed vehicle.
October 1: Upper Rogue – Union Creek to Natural Bridge
TH: Take Highway 62 north from Medford towards Union Creek. Park in the lot just before Becky's on the left.
Description: Follow Union Creek down to its junction with the Rogue River. Make a left and follow the Rogue down to the Bridge to Nowhere. Cross the river and follow the trail on the west side down to Natural Bridge. Cross back across the Rogue, lunch at the Natural Bridge TH and then head back to Union Creek on the trail on the east side of the river. Distance: 7 miles; elevation gain: 500 feet. Weather forecast. RT mileage: 150 miles.
October 8: Toothpick Trail to Gyre Loop, Ashland Watershed
TH: Turn right onto Ashland St. (Highway 66) and then a left at 1st stoplight onto Tolman Creek Road. Drive up Tolman Creek Rodd almost 4 miles to the Toothpick trailhead. EDT: 20 minutes.
Description: Hike the heavily forested Toothpick trail to Lamb Saddle. Then take Caterpillar up to the Gyre/Gimble/Lewis Point. intersection. Turn left and walk out on a stunning ridge to the Gimble Loop. There are views of Mt. Ashland, Mt. McLoughlin and down to Ashland. Hike will be 4.5 – 5 miles with an elevation gain of 500’. Weather forecast. RT mileage: 10 miles.
October 15: Grouse Gap via PCT at Mt. Ashland
TH: Take I-5 south toward Siskiyou Summit and take the Mt. Ashland exit 6. Drive 0.7 miles paralleling the freeway; turn right on Mount Ashland Ski Road (#20) and continue past the Ski Area to where the pavement ends at the back parking lot. Take dirt FS-20 for about 1,000' to the first left and head downhill about ¼ mile to the PCT crossing which will be the TH. If parking is limited on road, some will park on FS-20 and walk down ¼ mile to TH. EDT: 35 minutes.
Hike Description: The trail takes us up across a broad meadow directly below Mt. Ashland, wrapping around an alpine bowl to Grouse Gap. Reaching a side road off of #20, we turn left down to the Shelter for snacks or lunch. We return the same way. Distance: 4 miles; Elevation gain: 100’. Weather forecast. RT driving mileage: 50 miles.
October 22: Oredson Todd Woods in Ashland Watershed
TH: Right out of the parking lot to a left on Tolman Creek Road and drive 1.2 miles, crossing Siskiyou Boulevard. Turn right on Green Meadows Way for 0.3 miles; turn left on Lupine and drive to a parking area.
Hike Description: We’ll walk on a path and keep right at trail junctions to climb 0.5 mile to a mapboard at the start of the Mike Uhtoff Trail behind the board. We’ll follow this Trail (hikers only), twice crossing the White Rabbit trail (shared with bikes). We’ll take it slowly on the switchbacks and come to the end of the Queen of Hearts’ switchbacks coming up from the other side. We’ll pause there for lunch and return the same way (or down White Rabbit, alert to bikes). Distance: 4 miles; Elevation gain: about 1,000’ (a bit more than usual for us, so we’ll take it easy and bring poles). Weather forecast. RT mileage: 10 miles.
October 29: Trick or Treat Hike--The Buck Rock Tunnel in the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument
TH: From Rite Aid in Ashland, turn left onto Highway 66. Travel Highway 66 East for 7.9 miles (just past milepost 9) and take a slight right (0.4 mile) on to Buckhorn Springs Road and keep right to continue on 39-2E-34 for 2.1 miles on a road with potholes (doable; go slowly). Turn right onto 40-2E-11 for 39 feet to destination on right. EDT: 30 minutes.
Hike Description: A 4.2-mile RT hike with about 800’ elevation gain, to Tunnel #13, an unfinished/abandoned tunnel for a railroad route, essentially a cave. The mostly wide trail is primarily used for hiking and horses. In wet weather, it is muddy. The ‘payoff’ is visiting this historic site in the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument. A perfect spot for a pre-Halloween lunch break. Weather forecast. RT mileage: 30 miles.