Linking portions of seven different trails, this loop provides an excellent introduction to this relatively new trail system. Short sections of infrequently-traveled primitive roads help connect the dots between long stretches of narrow singletrack traversing steep forested slopes.
From the kiosk at the first parking area, pedal across a bridge over the creek and cruise up Rail Trail
. When it ends on Reservoir Road, ascend the road for a mile to the top of Granite
. Alternatively, one could climb up Granite
, but since it's a popular downhill that's not particularly recommended on a busy day.
After only a hundred yards on the top part of Granite
, turn right on Halls of Manzanita
and climb up to a viewpoint looking down-valley, towards the southeast. Here begins the fun, tight descent through manzanita forest, past a junction with Naversen Family
trail, to a right turn onto Canyon Vista
. This trail winds along a contour through madrone, oak, and manzanita bringing you to the Jackson Creek Road.
Turning right on this narrow road, climb for three-quarters of a mile up the creek, paralleling the hiker-only Jackson Creek Trail, until you reach the Jackson Ridge Trail
on your left. Take this singletrack and climb, at times quite steeply, up through thick forest.
At the top of the ridge, turn right on Atsahu
, which ascends slightly before starting down a new twisty singletrack to the upper Norling Creek road. Turn right, uphill, on Norling road, then keep left at an unmarked fork, soon passing the top of the Shade Creek hiker trail on your left. Following signs, still on Atsahu
, continue on a non-motorized old forest road to a signed crossing of "Arrowhead Pass" trail, where Atsahu
becomes singletrack again. This brings you right around to the saddle between the two summits of Twin Peaks
Zoom down the Twin Peaks
trail, then the Norling Creek road, to the northern end of Ol' Miners
. This is an easy turn to miss: it's after the trailhead for Naversen Family
, on a steep left-hand turn in the road, just before the lower trailhead for Ridge View
Follow Ol' Miners
back to the lower kiosk parking area, keeping generally to the contour at the numerous marked intersections.
The area which is now known as Jacksonville Forest Park was managed as the watershed for the city of Jacksonville for over fifty years before the city contracted with Medford for its water in the 50's and the small reservoir was decommissioned in 2010. The area was officially incorporated into the City Park system in 2006 following years of unregulated "multiple abuses."
Currently, the park is comprised of over 1000 acres of steep, hilly, wooded terrain, laced with cool shady creeks, and has 25 miles of trails, with more planned. The huge job of building and maintaining these wonderful trails has been shouldered by the Jacksonville City Park rangers, volunteers from the Jacksonville Woodlands Association, and the Rogue Valley Mountain Bike Association.