Abundant Hiking Opportunities
When you are surrounded by such incredible natural beauty it is impossible to not want to get outside and experience it. Whether you are a regular hiker or someone who just wants to stretch their legs and breathe deeply of our fresh air there are several easily accessible hiking trails close to
Right in town there are the Jacksonville Woodlands Trails – over 20 miles of trails to hike or run, including narrative signage of the gold mining sites along the way. You will get to experience a series of micro-climates and see the related wild flowers, trees and shrubs. The trails include a native plant arboretum just behind the Beekman House. You can also enjoy a self-guided audio tour of the Sarah Zigler Trail, the Jackson Forks Trail, and the Panorama Point Trail. Tours can be rented at the Jacksonville Visitors Center at 185 N. Oregon Street in Jacksonville, or downloaded for free from www.jacksonvilleoregon.org
Jacksonville’s 1100-acre Forest Park, located one mile west of our historic downtown, offers 15 miles of grand vistas, hiking trails, small creeks, the town’s old reservoir, interpretive markers and remnants of old gold mines. Forest Park is a great place to ride bikes and horses or to take an extended hike. It is easy to find, and very close to Jacksonville. From downtown Jacksonville, take highway 238 west for three-fourths of a mile and turn right on Reservoir Road for one mile to the Park entrance and the kiosk where you’ll find trail maps for the Park. This is a recent addition to the city’s park system and a group of volunteers is actively working on expanding the existing trails. Steeper inclines present more challenging trails.
A 15 minute drive will get you to the Table Rocks, two mesas visible from I-5 and a well-known landmark. Jacksonville was originally named Table Rock City in recognition of the most distinctive local geological formation. These are moderate hikes and take about 2 hours if you take time to enjoy the sights from up on top.
A Spring Hiking series is offered through Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management. The guided hikes focus on history, geology, archeology, bats, birds and more. This spring there is even a series of yoga classes. 2017 Schedule
Written by Jo Parker, co-publisher of The Jacksonville Review and local resident since 2004.
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