Few towns have trails so closely integrated into the fabric of the community as Jacksonville, Oregon.
Few towns have trails so closely integrated into the fabric of the community as Jacksonville, Oregon. In even the best trail towns in the West, you usually have to head to the edge of town before you can find a trail that will take you into the mountains. But due to Jacksonville's unique history, singletrack trails weave through green spaces that are now surrounded by quaint houses. Hikers can finish enjoying a delicious lunch in downtown Jacksonville and then walk directly from their table into the forest, quickly reaching beautiful views over the region... without ever getting in a car.
The two closest hikes to downtown are the Panorama Point Loop and the Beekman Woods Loop, both of which offer scenic views over the region. These undeveloped lands were once owned by wealthy, influential families connected to Jacksonville's mining past (Britt and Beekman, respectively), and then were subsequently donated to the community and turned into parks and natural areas.
Just a few short miles away lies Jacksonville's Forest Park. This incredible park protects 1,080 acres of land and boasts over 30 miles of trail. As you hike the trails in Forest Park, you won't see a single sign of Jacksonville. You could be forgiven for believing you're hundreds of miles from civilization, deep in the Oregon wilderness, but if you were to turn one corner around the mountains and pop out of the protected valley, you'd see the development of the Rogue Valley spread out below you. For an easy hike along a tumbling creek in Forest Park, try the Norling Trail.
Finally, while this trail is the furthest from downtown Jacksonville and definitely requires the use of a car to access it, the East Applegate Ridge Trail offers up a more spectacular effort-to-view ratio than almost any trail in the state! If hiked as a short out-and-back from the upper trailhead, within just a few moments of leaving the trailhead you'll pop out of the trees and enjoy long-range views of mountain ridges and deep valleys as far as the eye can see... and you'll get to stare off into the distance for the entire hike!
Set your course to Jacksonville and experience this hidden gem for yourself!