#9. White Rabbit Trail

White Rabbit Trail is a 2.4 mile loop trail and is primarily used for hiking and mountain biking. White Rabbit is regarded as an “easy level” trail; it is close to the town and perfect for a casual hike that provides gorgeous vistas of the valley. A bonus attribute of White Rabbit is that it easily combines with other trails, aptly named the Alice in Wonderland Trails. If you”™re up to it, you may extend your hike as you please. There are multiple entry points into White Rabbit. You may start with a steady climb to the top if you enter through Park Street, or start with a downhill decent if you start from the parking lot off of Ashland Loop Road.


#8. Ashland Fairy Ponds

Located above Lithia Park is the short public trail known as the “Fairy Ponds”. The trail follows alongside a beautiful section of the Ashland Creek. As you venture a little further up the trail you”™ll encounter shallow pools of water, giving the trail it”™s name. Keep going a couple hundred feet and you will find granite creek beds that are perfect for a summer dip. The water is deepest in spring and early summer, with snowmelt from Mt.Ashland filling the creek. In the winter, this trail is a perfect place for serene solitude, where one can walk their dog or read a book. To get to the Ashland Fairy Ponds, take Winburn Way from Lithia Park and turn right onto Granite Street. After this go for one more mile straight up a gravel road, which will veer left after a chain link fence, and you will see the Fairy Ponds Trailhead on your left in front of a gate.

#7. Dead Indian Memorial Road

Located on the east side of Ashland off Highway 66, pick your own distance up this mountainous and steep road. With an average 6% grade, this road proves to be quite the challenge on a bike, but also provides an exhilarating ride back down. Although the road offers nothing in terms of hiking and adventuring, take just a short walk through the grassy fields from the turnoff to enjoy one of the most gorgeous views Ashland has to offer. The name “Dead Indian” proves to be quite controversial, and was renamed “Dead Indian Memorial Road” in 1993.

#6. Acid Castles

A gorgeous panoramic viewpoint of the city that doesn”™t require much hiking. Acid Castles is a local treasure, and has recently been purchased by the city to ensure that the area will be open to the public. The scenic resting point gets it”™s name from the fairy-tale feeling of intertwined trails wrapping around large granite boulders, or castles, that one can enjoy the scenic view of Ashland from. There are larger boulders that an experienced climber could route if feeling daring. It is not recommended to bring children here, as the high rocks, although breathtaking, seem a little dangerous. To get to Acid Castles, turn onto Church Street heading uphill. Turn Left on Scenic Drive until you reach Nutley Street. Turn right and then take a quick left onto Aleut Street. Then turn right onto Strawberry Lane and left on Hitt Road. Follow this road to a gate and hike up the trail. Climb uphill for a bit and you will see the boulders on your left.

#5. Emigrant Lake

Located relatively close from downtown Ashland, Emigrant lake offers a variety of activities for the entire family. There is an RV park and 42-tent site campground in which a family could enjoy swimming, picnicking, fishing, hiking, boating and canoeing. In the summer time for a small fee your kids can enjoy the exhilaration of a 280-foot twin flume water slide. The lake is an oasis nestled in between the valley hills and is a must-see spot for any family looking to get away from any hustle and bustle that vacation may bring. The lake is located off Highway 66, about 5 miles southeast Ashland.

#4. Pilot Rock

Just off I-5 South of Ashland, Pilot rock is one of the furthest hiking trails on this list, but proves to be one of the most rewarding. The hike itself is not particularly strenuous, but is mostly uphill with uneven terrain. The scenery during the hike is incredible, with variations of wildlife and vegetation throughout the entirety of the multiple trails. But the sweet spot is the top of Pilot Rock itself. From the parking lot, just go uphill. You will continue until you reach a spot right beneath the rock. In order to reach the top of Pilot Rock, one must be agile enough for some climbing. After this, your work will be rewarded with an amazing 360 degree view of the Siskiyous, Cascades, and the Southern Rogue River Valley. To get to Pilot Rock, drive south of Ashland  on I-5 and get off the freeway at exit 5. Head towards Mount Ashland, but rather than continuing up Mount Ashland Road, go underneath the freeway and go south on Frontage Road. Turn left up a gravel road about 1 mile from the I-5 overpass. You will reach a parking lot at the base of Pilot Rock in 2 minutes.

#3. Mount Ashland

Mount Ashland not only boasts some great skiing in the winter, but also has a lot to offer with hiking and sightseeing. You have the Mount Ashland Meadows, a 6.8 mile round-trip hike through subalpine wildflower meadows, as well as a strenuous 15-mile loop trail often used for biking. Mount Ashland”™s trails include beautiful views of Shasta , the top of Mount Ashland, lovely forests, meadows, and picnic shelters. Horses are even allowed on the trails! To get to the trails, drive southeast on Siskiyou Blvd until it merges onto the I-5 on-ramp. Drive 6 miles and take exit 6 to Mt.Ashland. In less than a mile turn right onto Mt.Ashland Ski Road. Follow this road uphill for 8 miles, drive through the main parking lot to the back and you will see the trailhead at the far end.

#2. Grizzly Peak

Grizzly Peak is the perfect combination of accessibility and breathtaking reward, with a 4.8 mile moderate trail that offers a large variety of wildlife and vegetation. There are many viewpoints along the hike, giving hints as to what the summit itself will look like. Once you finally reach the summit you get to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the valley and Mt.Shasta. The trail is dog-friendly and is highly recommended for those who wish to hike with a mix of forest and open path. To reach Grizzly Peak, head east on Hwy 66 for a quarter mile and turn left onto Dead Indian Memorial Road. Continue on Dead Indian Memorial Road for about 6.4 miles. Turn left onto Shale City Road. Grizzly Peak is marked from here.

#1. Lithia Park

Lithia Park is the crowned jewel of Ashland, and for good reason. The park consists of 93 acres of forested canyon land around Ashland Creek, stretching from the downtown plaza up towards it’s headwaters near Mount Ashland. You can enter the park from downtown and enjoy emerald lawns, tennis courts, volleyball courts, picnic areas, colorful landscaping and playground equipment. Aside from the more developed areas, you can also find duck ponds, rose gardens, groves of sycamore trees, a Japanese garden, and numerous secluded spots right in the middle of glorious nature. You may schedule a guided nature walk or go adventuring for yourself. A 1.5 mile hiking trail will bring you to a swimmable reservoir. If on mountain bike, tackle the 28-mile loop that circles the entire Ashland Creek watershed to the edge of Mt.Ashland itself. Lithia Park has something for everyone, and that is why it is ranked as the #1 must see nature spot in Ashland.

Author: Brenton Clarke.