If you find yourself in southern Oregon and need a break from the big climbs and descents around Ashland, these rolling trails in Jacksonville may be just the ticket! This hike uses portions of several trails to provide a fine sample of the Britt Woods trails. Expect it to be hot and dry in the summer, cool and damp in the winter. History buffs will appreciate the many interpretive displays showcasing the area's mining past.
These trails are popular with mountain bikers and horseback riders; please be respectful of other users.
If you visit from June to September, catch an outdoor concert here; info at brittfest.org.
From the south edge of the Britt Park parking area at the end of Fir Street in Jacksonville, head up the Britt Canyon
to where it meets the Rich Gulch
; go left on Rich Gulch
and watch for Panorama Point
on your left. After an easy ascent up and over Panorama Point, descend towards the west down to a clearing in a broad saddle where several trails converge.
Finding the sign for Petard Ditch
, follow that, keeping left where it forks. A moderate ascent through the oak and madrone forest, with glimpses of Mt McLoughlin off in the distance, leads you over a high point, then down to a junction with Liz's Trail
on the left. Head south out Liz's Trail
. At a fork, you can go around the loop either way.
Goung left (clockwise) is perhaps the more physically demanding direction to hike this loop. Take your pick, and after completing the loop, return to finish the Petard Ditch
back to the clearing. Turn left here, past another interpretive sign, and continue for a short distance to pick up the Jane Naversen Trail which brings you around to the Jackson Forks
Trail. A right turn here, then a left on Britt Ridge
, will bring you back to where you parked.
This hike leads through beautiful oak and madrone forest characteristic of the Jacksonville, OR area.
Jacksonville got its start as a gold rush town. Gold was first discovered at Rich Gulch
in 1851. As the news spread, the area was inundated by gold miners seeking their fortunes. Before then, the area was populated by the Upland Takelmas Native American Tribe.
Fast forward to recent times: In 1989, alarmed by the prospect of development destroying the scenic wooded hillsides surrounding their National Historic Landmark City, the citizens of Jacksonville, Oregon rallied to form the non-profit Jacksonville Woodlands Association. During the past two decades the Woodlands Association has preserved 22 parcels of forested open space (320 acres) and has constructed 18 miles of connecting interpretive and recreational trails surrounding 70% of the town's historic district. The Association's preservation efforts have attracted national attention and has set the standard for community land preservation in Oregon.