The quality and diversity of the trails near Ashland, Oregon make it a must-visit!
The small town of Ashland reigns as the cultural epicenter of Southern Oregon. With an internationally-renowned Shakespeare festival and an incredible wine, food, beer, and cannabis scene, Ashland draws tourists from across the country. While the outdoor access doesn't get nearly as much media coverage as the Shakespeare festival, for hikers, the incredible topography provides an even bigger draw.
Ashland lies in the foothills of both the Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges, providing easy access to a wide range of hiking opportunities. This guidebook features everything from in-town leaf-peeping hikes in Lithia Park to steep peak climbs high in the mountains, and even a section hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. That's right, the PCT passes through the mountains just above Ashland, and many hikers use shuttle services and hitchhiking to get into Ashland to reprovision.
While having automobile access to a slew of incredible hikes isn't all that exceptional for a mountain town in Oregon, the high quality of the hiking accessible directly from downtown Ashland—without even getting in your car—is noteworthy. 93-acre Lithia Park was "designed by John McLaren, the landscape architect responsible for Golden Gate Park in San Francisco," according to OregonLive.com. Within Lithia itself, you'll find tons of paths and hiking trails to enjoy. Along with the aforementioned loop, you can hike to a beautiful little reservoir in the upper reaches of the park.
Above Lithia, the hiking opportunities expand immensely, with a plethora of trails leading into the various aspects of the Ashland Watershed. One of the most popular hikes is the combination of Bandersnatch and Red Queen, but as you explore further afield, you'll uncover a treasure trove of hiking opportunities!