With winter finally letting go and Eric back in hiking form, we’ve been venturing out from our daily long walks around Emigrant Lake to hit the local trails. Southern Oregon has a plethora of hiking options, from a network of trails in town to mountain treks that connect to the famed Pacific Crest trail.
This time of year, a lot of the higher elevation hikes are still deep in snow. After a longer, snowier winter than we’re accustomed to, we’re more interested in hikes where we can enjoy spring wildflowers. And oh boy, has this ever been a year for wildflowers.
It surprises me that after all our years exploring southern Oregon, there are still new hikes to be found. Last fall, we heard tales of the Enchanted Forest Trail from friends who had discovered it the previous year. As soon as the weather warmed enough for the flowers to emerge, we set out with said friends and long-time hiking buddies Linda, Steve, Judy, and John, to see what we could find.
It was all we had hoped for, and more. As we wound our way through stands of gnarled oaks and madrone, we came upon wave after wave of magenta shooting stars, pure white trillium, cobalt blue hound’s tongue, and clutches of delicate lavender fawn lilies. We often see these ephemeral flowers in early spring, but rarely in such abundance. Enchanted forest, indeed.
(To reach the trail, head west from Jacksonville on Highway 238 for 15 miles. Turn right on North Applegate Road then continue about 4-1/2 miles, then go briefly right on Kubli Road for about 200 yards before turning onto Slagle Creek Road. The paved road ends in about 1-1/2 miles where the trailhead begins. More excellent trails near Ashland where you can be assured of finding wildflowers in season include the Jacksonville Woodlands Trails and Upper and Lower Table Rocks.)