Mellow year-round riding for the whole family.”
— Peter Carse
If you find yourself in southern Oregon and need a break from the 5000' climbs and descents around Ashland, these rolling trails in Jacksonville may be just the ticket!
This ride uses portions of several trails to provide a fine sample of the Britt Woods system. Thus, many options are possible, as the very compact trail system totals 18 miles.
Expect it to be hot and dry in the summer, but cool and tacky in the winter. Additionally, history buffs will appreciate the many interpretive displays showcasing the area's mining past.
Need to Know
These are multi-use trails and are popular with hikers, trail runners, and, to a lesser extent, horseback riders.
If you visit from June to September, catch an outdoor concert here; info at brittfest.org.
From the south edge of the Britt Park parking area at the end of Fir Street in Jacksonville, head up the Britt Canyon
trail to where it meets the Rich Gulch
trail, go left on that and watch for Panorama Point
trail on your left. After an easy climb up and over Panorama Point
, descend towards the west down to a clearing in a broad saddle where several trails converge.
Finding the sign for Petard Ditch
trail, follow that, keeping left where it forks. A moderate ascent through the oak and madrone forest, with glimpses of Mt McLoughlin off in the distance, leads you over a high point, then down to a junction with Liz's Trail
on the left. Head south out Liz's trail. At a fork, you can go around the loop either way.
A sign suggests that going left will give you a "guaranteed burn," while going right will entail an "optional hurl."
Take your pick, and after completing the loop, return to finish the Petard Ditch
trail back to the clearing. Turn left here, past another interpretive sign, and continue for a short distance to pick up the Jane Naversen trail which brings you around to the Jackson Forks
trail. A right turn here, then a left on Britt Ridge
Trail, will bring you back to where you parked.
History & Background
Jacksonville got its start as a gold rush town. Gold was first discovered at Rich Gulch
in 1851. As the news spread the area was inundated by gold miners seeking their fortunes. Before then, the area was populated by the Upland Takelmas native American tribe.
Fast forward to recent times: In 1989, alarmed by the prospect of development destroying the scenic wooded hillsides surrounding their National Historic Landmark City, the citizens of Jacksonville, Oregon rallied to form the non-profit Jacksonville Woodlands Association. During the past 2 decades the Woodlands Association has preserved 22 parcels of forested open space (320 acres) and has constructed 18 miles of connecting interpretive and recreational trails surrounding 70% of the town's historic district. The Association's preservation efforts have attracted national attention and has set the standard for community land preservation in Oregon.