East Applegate Ridge Trail has new trailhead, with plans for expansion
The new East Applegate Ridge Trail has a brand new trailhead at the west end, off of Highway 238, making it more accessible to hikers.
The primary trailhead on the eastern end was accessed about 4 miles up Sterling Creek Road and considered hard to get to. Now hikers can access the trail right off of Highway 238 about a quarter mile north of Forest Creek Road on the western (left) side.
The trail itself is 5.6 miles long and reaches elevations of over 3000 feet, boasting beautiful views of vineyards, farms and lush forests. It climbs approximately 1600 feet from the new trailhead and is considered an intermediate level hike.
Construction included graveling the access road, adding a parking area, installing a kiosk and a concrete picnic table. The total cost of the construction reached $20,000 and was funded with a grant by Travel Oregon.
This is just the first step in a much larger project. The final touch of the project is to pave the entrance and parking area. Trailhead signs will eventually be installed by Oregon Department of Transportation.
David Calahan, Chair of the Applegate Trails Association said this is just Phase One of a 3-phase project for the East Applegate Trail. Phase Two will extend the trail to Humbug Creek and include a trail connection to the Jacksonville non-motorized trail system.
“Phase Three is still a long ways off,” Calahan said. “It’ll go all the way to Cathedral Hills in Grants Pass.”
When Phase Three is completed, it is expected to stretch roughly 50 miles, connecting Jacksonville to the Cathedral Hills trail system in Grants Pass, with connections to the Jackash Trail near Ashland. It is also expected to connect to the Pacific Crest Trail.
“Recreation is a really big deal in Southern Oregon,” Calahan said. “We’re appreciating BLM for cooperating with us in order to get this trail and trailhead built and the future phases of the ART.”