Hiking the fringes of the monument

Hiking the fringes of the monument

The Soda Mountain Wilderness Council this weekend will launch its annual series of spring hikes around the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, highlighting some of the unique features of these wildlands east of Ashland.

Six hikes planned over five weekends will take visitors into areas on the fringes of the national monument, including areas the wilderness council believes should be included in the monument, says the council's Dave Willis.

"We're trying to advocate protection for....

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6 Southern Oregon hikes you won't forget

6 Southern Oregon hikes you won't forget

Spoiler alert: Southern Oregon has some of the best hikes around.

The problem is narrowing it down, because there are so many amazing places to explore. Do you want mountaintops or waterfalls? River trails or big trees? Rock formations or wildflowers?

Here are six hikes to help relieve some of your hiking angst.

 

Mt. Ashland's Pacific Crest Trail section

Picture this: a view where you can take in Mount McLoughlin and Mount Shasta in one...

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Lithia Park tours offer glimpse of history

Lithia Park tours offer glimpse of history

Lithia Park is one of Jackson County's most popular destinations, and if you've ever wondered about its rich history, just show up for the free guided walking tours offered throughout the summer.

Arrive at 10 a.m. each Sunday, Wednesday or Friday from now through Sept. 30. In July and August, you can get the same tour on Saturdays, as well.

“It takes about an hour and a half or more for the walk,” said Tom Foster, who leads many of the tours. “We average 10...

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Hike of the Week: Black Butte Trail in the Siskiyou Wilderness

Hike of the Week: Black Butte Trail in the Siskiyou Wilderness

Spring is my favorite time in the mountains. The peaks are (hopefully) snowcapped, the nights are cold, the creeks are full and nature is just starting to shake off the winter doldrums.

Recently my trusty dog, Zola, and I pitched camp at an open serpentine knob with spectacular views near the Black Butte trailhead at the very northern end of the Siskiyou Wilderness Area. Both our camp and the trailhead were about 4,900 feet above sea level and offered sweeping vistas of the East Fork...

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View from above

View from above

Well maintained trails are still a novelty to me.

On the South Coast where I grew up, a seemingly endless wall of blackberry bushes made exploring much of the southern Coast Range a decidedly prickly proposition. Since moving to the Rogue Valley six months ago, I've made a point to tackle as many of the area's less-traveled trails as my work schedule will allow.

The other weekend, Mail Tribune digital copy editor Forrest Roth and I decided to make the trek up Wagner Butte, a...

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An unexpected trail

An unexpected trail

Fungi were sprouting from the side of a massive redwood tree like tiny white umbrellas. My wife and I stopped to inspect, marveling at how delicate yet sturdy the stems and caps appeared.

Just a half-mile away, in busy Simpson-Reed Grove along Highway 199, such leisurely scrutiny might be considered rude. We would probably be blocking the way of someone coming up from behind us.

But the trail we were on was deserted, except for us. It didn’t even have a name, as far as we.....

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Hanging out at Hanging Rock

Hanging out at Hanging Rock

In 2005 I was caretaker at the Rogue River Ranch, a historic public property nestled on the Wild Rogue River. I quickly turned my back on the busy river corridor and started looking up into the 35,000-acre wilderness surrounding it for a little solitude from the hundreds of visitors we'd see during busy days.

It turns out I was a lousy caretaker who let the weeds get tall. I wasn't around a lot to field important visitor questions, and I got caught inner-tubing down Mule Creek Canyon...

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Proposed preserve leads SOLC hike series

A hike through the proposed 352-acre MacArthur Rogue River Preserve near Dodge Bridge Sunday, April 12, will kick off this year's series of free led hikes offered by the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy.

Forest ecologist Tom Atzet will lead the hike on the MacArthur family land that sports oak woodlands, vernal pools and the second-largest intact forest riparian zone along an 80-mile stretch of the Rogue.

The conservancy has an agreement with the MacArthurs to purchase the ranch.....

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Tolowa Dunes trails lead to 'mosaic of habitats'

Tolowa Dunes trails lead to 'mosaic of habitats'

Near the end a recent hike in Tolowa Dunes State Park outside Crescent City, two ladies stopped us and asked if we had seen “anything interesting.”

My wife mentioned the flock of great egrets wading in the shallows of Lake Earl. There were, in fact, seven of the long-legged birds, looking as white as angels behind a thin curtain of fog.

I told of several harriers — sometimes called marsh hawks — cruising at hunting altitude above the grassy dunes of...

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No snow makes Marble Mountains accessible early

No snow makes Marble Mountains accessible early

The iconic backcountry wilderness hike to Marble Valley is a bucket-list destination that attracts nature lovers from far and wide. I’ve arrived during summer months to find dozens of rigs at the trailhead parking lot and stiff competition for prime camping spots. Never did I think I would hike the 16-mile loop up Red Rock Valley, follow the Pacific Crest Trail north through Little Marble and Marble Valleys, and descend down Canyon Creek without seeing another soul on the...

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Annual Table Rock hikes will add WWII exploration

Annual Table Rock hikes will add WWII exploration

For part of this weekend, the annual Table Rocks hikes will look a lot less like climbing a mesa and much more like storming the beaches at Normandy.

Sunday's version of the popular Table Rocks weekend spring hike series actually will be a guided hike through a piece of the nearby Agate Desert to a series of concrete pillboxes that once helped turn the former Camp White landscape into intensive combat-training ranges.

Camp instructors used live fire while training soldiers how to....

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7 Southern Oregon wildflowers to look for this spring

7 Southern Oregon wildflowers to look for this spring

Southern Oregon has an abundance of wildflowers and a season that lasts from February or March on the valley floors until July or August on the mountain tops.
Here are a handful of flowers to look for as you hit the trails this year.
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Day Trippin': Mill Creek Falls easy to miss

Day Trippin': Mill Creek Falls easy to miss

After we mentioned visiting Mill Creek Falls, a long-time Medford resident commented, "I pass it on the way to Diamond Lake and Crater Lake, but I’ve never been there."
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Trail to Charismatic Conifers

Trail to Charismatic Conifers

Those rare hikers who step past the Ides Cove Trailhead and enter Northern California's Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness Area immediately are greeted by the rock stars of the conifer world.

The trailhead is ringed by the southernmost stand of a subspecies of foxtail pine found only in the Klamath Mountains, a rare tree that can live 1,000 years or more in these hardscrabble mountains.
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Trophy trees on the Frog Pond trail

Trophy trees on the Frog Pond trail

Frog Pond is a north-facing cirque cradled in the 20,000-acre Red Buttes Wilderness Area. On the two-mile hike to its shallow shores, you will encounter some of the most majestic forests I've seen in southwest Oregon.

Trees that reach five feet in diameter are common. You'll find rare plants, including a very special conifer tree that grows only in the Klamath Mountains.

It will come at a price. You'll gain about 1,000 feet in elevation in the first three-quarters of a mile and...

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Enjoying Pilot Rock — minus the heights

Enjoying Pilot Rock — minus the heights

I’m told that any locals who consider themselves avid hikers need to climb Pilot Rock, a landmark familiar to all Southern Oregonians. I’m also told that the way to the top involves some grueling scrambles over loose talus, and has been known to cause adults to tremble, especially ones afraid of heights.

Being one of those unfortunates who dread climbing a ladder to change a bulb in the kitchen, I have no desire to fool with Pilot Rock, thank you. Yet I am fascinated by...

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Winter transforms trail along the Applegate River's middle fork

Winter transforms trail along the Applegate River's middle fork

The Middle Fork Applegate River has become a popular destination all year round.

Barely south of the California-Oregon border and within minutes of Applegate Lake, the roaded stretches along the Middle Fork offer easy access to swimming holes and beaches for free day use. Last spring, I saw a group of 50 to 75 partygoers dancing nude to reggae music blasting on giant speakers here, and the trash I've packed out of dump sites told some very interesting stories defined by alcohol, angst,....

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Great Pizza Adventure on the PCT

Great Pizza Adventure on the PCT

With the movie “Wild” bringing so much attention to the Pacific Crest Trail these days, I am reminded of all the outings I’ve enjoyed on this wilderness route as it cuts through Southern Oregon.

My family and I have used it for pleasant hikes to see wildflowers and aspen trees on Mount Ashland. We were challenged by its steepness the day we veered off it to the top of Mount McLoughlin.

And then, for sheer goofiness, there was our Great Pizza Adventure on the.....

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Soda Mountain hike is tougher in winter

Soda Mountain hike is tougher in winter

Soda Mountain overlooks its namesake wilderness area, straddling the border between Oregon and California in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. It is easily accessible and from spring through autumn, a day hike to its summit is an easy 4.6-mile round-trip.

In winter, however, the hike is transformed into an exhilarating adventure through a winter wonderland.

Some of my kids were home for the Christmas holidays and there had been a recent snowstorm in the mountains. So the...

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'Wild' about hiking

'Wild' about hiking

The popularity of Cheryl Strayed's memoir "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" has led to increased awareness and use of the trail that runs from Canada to Mexico through Washington, Oregon and California. There are more thru-hikers — people who, like Strayed, attempt to hike the entire trail — and more day and overnight users of this incredible national resource.

Now "Wild" has been made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern,...

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November 07, 2014

Trail tenders

October 24, 2014

Easy is good

October 17, 2014

Scenic with a capital 'S'

September 19, 2014

View from the Butte

September 07, 2014

Oregon's Top 5 wilderness areas

September 05, 2014

Trails less traveled

July 25, 2014

Tearing up the Trail

July 20, 2014

Southern exposure

July 11, 2014

Boomers on the Trail

June 27, 2014

Blossom by boot

June 22, 2014

'Meet me on the trail'

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