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.
Leave the Rite Aid parking lot on Ashland Street at 8:30 AM (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 7: Toothpick Trail Leave at 9:00 AM
TH: Turn right onto Ashland Street (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 on the right. 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 up to a stunning ridge on 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 14: Mt. Ashland Ski Road (MP 7) to Grouse Gap on the PCT
Note: Depart Rite Aid Parking at 9:00 AM
TH: Take Mt. Ashland exit 6 off I-5; turn right on Mt. Ashland Ski Road. Parking area for PCT is just around the bend from mile marker 7. EDT: 30 minutes.
Description: Hike south on the PCT to Grouse Gap (one forest road crossing). We’ll have lunch at a view in shade. Return the same way. Distance 6.8 miles RT; elevation gain of 870 feet.
Weather forecast. RT mileage: 30 miles.
October 21: Union Creek to Natural Bridge Leave at 8:00AM
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 28: East Applegate Ridge Leave at 9:00 AM
TH: Head up I-5 to exit 24, Phoenix. Left into Phoenix and then right on OR-99. Turn left onto Stage Road then left on Griffin Lane. In about a mile turn right onto West Griffin Creek Road for 2.9 miles which becomes Poorman’s Creek Road for another 1.1 miles to a T junction and left onto Sterling Creek Road. Go 4 miles to the 4 mile marker and the trail is well marked 100 feet past the sign. We will do an out and back of about 7.5 miles with about 800 feet of climb. Exceptional views. EDT: 35 minutes. Weather forecast. RT mileage: 70 miles.