Friday Moderate Hikes for February 2024

Last Revision 2/17/24

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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.

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.

Leaders: Elisabeth Zinser, 541.646.6109 and Kay Simmons, 202-870-3404.

February 2: Bandersnatch trail in the Ashland Watershed Meet at the trailhead at 9:00 AM.  
TH: Drive through Ashland Plaza, south on Winburn Way, then Granite Street. At 1.5 miles, veer left for a hairpin turn around the swimming reservoir. Take Glenview Drive 0.2 miles to parking area, marked as Bandergate. Description: Hike begins at the Waterline gate next to parking area. Walk along the Waterline for 0.1 miles, past gate and bird sculpture, to the Bandersnatch trailhead on the left. Trail switchbacks up 0.6 miles to a picnic table and vista for a deserved snack. Continue down and across a bike trail and then face another set of switchbacks up for about a mile; pass lower Red Queen and bear right either (a) to the Snark/upper Red Queen intersection to take Snark out and back, or (b) continue further up Bandersnatch to take an out and back on Gryphon. For either, return to Bandersnatch for return past picnic bench and down (past sculptures) to parking. Snark option: 4 miles RT. Gryphon option: 3 miles RT. Either will be over 1,000 elevation gain/loss. We’ll take it slowly.  Weather forecast.

February 9: Ashland Watershed - New Wonder Trail Meet at the trailhead at 9:00 AM.  
TH: Drive through Ashland Plaza, south on Winburn Way, then Granite Street. At 1.5 miles, drive straight into the parking area, called Fairy Ponds.  (Do not take the hairpin turn around the swimming reservoir that we drove last week).
Description: Hike begins across from the dirt parking area. Hike up the hillside trail to the “Old Wonder Trail” with great views and granite rocks.  Lunch at the top.  We can return back down the trail or via the Ashland Loop Road.  Total distance: 4.5 miles.  Weather forecast. Elevation gain about 500’.

February 16: Sterling Mine Ditch
TH. Leave Ashland Rite Aid Parking or Medford Albertson’s parking lots at 9:00 am. Alternatively, park behind Jacksonville Library.  Hike Leaders: Elisabeth Zinser and Kay Simmons
TH from Ashland: Head north on I-5 to exit 24 Phoenix exit. 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; turn left onto Sterling Creek Road. Go 7.2 miles (after MP8) to a left onto the Armstrong-Deming Road (BLM 39-2-8; a small brown sign by the fence corner on the right).  Drive about 200 yards to a “T” and bear left and drive 0.7 miles up a gravel road to Deming Gulch TH. EDT: 1 hour. RT mileage: 60 miles.
TH from Medford: Drive to Jacksonville; turn left on Oregon Street which becomes Applegate Street. Stay left at the fork. It soon changes to Cady Road. Drive a curving road for about 1 mile. Turn left onto Sterling Creek Road (sign on the right). Drive about 9 miles (just past MP 8) to a left onto the Armstrong-Deming Road (BLM 39-2-8; a small brown sign by the fence corner on the right).  Drive about 200 yards to a “T” and bear left and drive 0.7 miles up a gravel road to Deming Gulch TH. EDT: 1 hour. RT mileage: 60 miles.
Hike Description: Hike along the relatively level Sterling Mine Ditch Trail amongst a lovely forest and nice views of the valley.  Out and back for distance of 5 miles RT. Weather forecast.

February 23, 2024: Mt. Ashland Grouse Gap/Rabbit Ears—A Snowshoe hike (or Yaktrax hike if snowpack is firm). Meet at Rite Aid parking lot at 8:50 am for a 9 am departure.
TH: Drive up I-5, turn off for Mt. Ashland, drive up Mt. Ashland Ski Road to closed gate on FS Road 20, just beyond the Mt. Ashland Ski Area parking lot. A Sno-Park permit is required for each car (passengers should help pay for it). EDT: 30 minutes. Description: From the ski area back parking lot follow FS 20 to the intersection of FS20 and trail up to up to Rabbit Ears. We plan to head up to Rabbit Ears as our destination, but (1) a minimum of 3 may elect to proceed forward on FS20 for a flatter trail (with a turnaround time); or (2) from Rabbit Ears, a minimum of 3 may elect to climb up further to the Mt. Ashland summit (with  turnaround time).  Return the same way. Distance to and from Rabbit Ears: 4 miles RT; elevation gain 400 feet. NOTE: By exception, XC skis are fine if at least 3 participants prearrange to XC ski together and inform leaders in advance. Big Red SNOTEL. Weather Forecast. RT mileage: 40 miles.