Bear Gulch - Tunnel Ridge Loop
ElevationAscent: 729' 222 m
Descent: -731' -223 m
High: 2,814' 858 m
Low: 2,276' 694 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)
Current trail conditions
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“A short loop on the Sterling Mine Ditch trail system.”— Peter Carse
Turn right and follow the narrow singletrack along the edge of the historic canal for two miles, passing one of the largest madrone trees in the area, to Tunnel Ridge.
Here, rather than following the contour around the point of the ridge, the ditch builders tunneled straight through. Turn right on the Tunnel Ridge Trail and enjoy the fabulous descent for a mile through oaks and grass to the gravel Little Applegate Road.
To complete the ride to the Bear Gulch trailhead, turn right on Little Applegate Road and ascend a bit before descending to your car.
"Gold was discovered on Sterling Creek in 1854. The first gold was easily removed by panning. Eventually, the greatest success was achieved with hydraulic mining, which uses a powerful jet of water from a hydraulic giant to wash out gold lying under layers of soil and rock. Ditch construction began in 1877 to bring water from the Little Applegate to operate hydraulic giants. The Sterling Mining Company was the contractor. A 26.5 mile long ditch, three feet deep, was completed in December, 1877. Up to 400 workers, many of them Chinese laborers were employed to construct the ditch. The ditch was in use through the 1930s."
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Land Manager: BLM/USFS-Grants Pass Office