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The 5 Best Hikes In Ashland, Oregon You Can Do In An Afternoon

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July 25, 2019

It’s no secret that Ashland, Oregon is a beautiful place to spend time in the great outdoors. Surrounded by mountains, lakes, and rivers Ashland is the perfect jumping-off point to go on some pretty amazing hikes. Here are five hikes in Ashland, Oregon you can do in an afternoon!

The Best Hikes In Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park Loop Trail (Easy)

Starting off our list of the best hikes near Ashland, Oregon is the Lithia Park Loop. This 2.1-mile trail takes you through a beautiful forest setting in the heart of downtown Ashland. Depending on the day and time, you can expect a fair amount of traffic on this loop (after all, it is downtown). Lithia Park is the largest park in Ashland and spans across 93 acres of forested canyonland around the Ashland Creek (which you can swim in). It stretches from the edge of the plaza up to the access road to the Ashland WaterShed at the base of Mount Ashland.

The hike itself is good for all skill levels and you can expect to see families enjoying a picnic, people taking a guided nature walk, or trail running along the many paths through the park. There are actually several trail systems you can take ranging in difficulty, but the Lithia Loop is mostly flat (good for parents with strollers) and takes you to the Reservoir where you can go for a swim before winding your way back into town. Lithia Park has plenty to enjoy from placards describing the diverse and abundant wildlife to a Japanese Garden and groves of White Birch and Douglas Fir Trees.

Click Here For A Map Of The Lithia Loop Trail

Acid Castles (Moderate)

This hike provides one of the best views of the city of Ashland and the surrounding valley. Just a quick 2-minute drive from the Ashland Plaza. To get to Acid Castles take Windburn Way along Lithia Park and quickly turn right on Nutley. You’ll head up a steep hill and will turn left towards the top on Alnut. Alnut hits Strawberry Lane and you’ll turn right there. The next left is Hitt Road… Take it! On the left, you’ll see a pull out that seems like a city access road for some utility pipes. You can park here and head along the trail that the pullout leads in to.

This is a short, but moderately difficult hike that will have you scrambling up to the top of a series of massive boulders that are the climax of the hike. Be careful as the route to the top can be difficult if you’re not careful. You can rest atop the boulders and enjoy breathtaking views of the valley below. A perfect spot to catch a sunset.

Click Here For Direction To The Acid Castles Access Point

The Best Hikes Within A Short Drive Of Ashland, Oregon

Hobart Bluff (Easy)

This easy 2.3 mile out and back route takes you along a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail to reach Hobart Bluff. It gets a little steep at the very end, but the climb is well worth the panoramic views of Mt. Ashland, Mt. Shasta, Pilot Rock, and Mt. Mclaughlin you get to experience once you reach the top of the bluff. 

In the wintertime expect snow on the road and trail, but the summer months are a great time to climb with a variety of wildflowers in bloom, succulents growing out of rocks, and plenty of wildlife to enjoy. This is a great hike for those with dog companions and the trail is usually not crowded. Plus, if you’ve never driven up the Green Springs Highway (HWY 66), then the drive itself is well worth the trip. Be careful on the way up as the road is very curvy.

Click Here For A Map Of Hobart Bluff

Grizzly Peak Trail (Moderate)

This is one of our favorite hikes near Ashland, Oregon, perfect for those looking for a bit of a workout to earn their views. The trail is a 4.7-mile loop that combines some moderate slopes with beautiful flat sections through fields of wildflowers and old-growth groves. Expect to see other hikers and trail runners as this is a popular hike for locals and visitors alike. Be sure to check the conditions before you go as the road to access the trail is only passable from around May until November when the snow arrives.

Views from the top of Grizzly Peak in Ashland during the winter months

To get to the trailhead take Hwy 66 east heading out of Ashland and make a left turn onto Dead Indian Memorial Road. Follow Dead Indian Memorial Road for about 6.4 miles looking for the sign for Shale City Road where you will turn left. From here the way to Grizzly Peak is marked. You will come to 2 forks in the road, but just follow the signs and you will have no trouble reaching the trailhead. There is a fairly large parking area with bathroom facilities at the start of the trail.

Click Here For A Map Of Grizzly Peak

Pilot Rock Trail (Hard)

We saved the best for last! Pilot Rock is the most iconic rock formation around Ashland and if you’ve spent any time around the valley, you’ve probably noticed it sticking out to the east of Mt. Ashland. Before you get too excited though, know that this hike is not for the faint of heart. To reach the top you will need to scramble your way up and over a very steep incline (practically bouldering) before you can rest atop the mighty Pilot Rock. The entire out and back route is 8.8 miles.

One of the toughest hikes in Ashland, Oregon. The hike to the top of Pilot Rock is not for the fain of heart.

The trail starts out pretty mellow, taking you through a beautiful forested setting passing by several ponds. The canopy of the trees keeps you shaded and there is an abundance of beautiful wildlife to enjoy. However, this tranquil mellow section is short-lived and soon you will be climbing up to the base of the rock. Once you reach the base is where the real climb begins. Proper hiking shoes are a must and you will need to be comfortable balancing and pulling yourself up and over rocks to be able to reach the top. But, the climb is well worth the effort as you will be rewarded with panoramic views of Northern California and Southern Oregon. 

Click Here For A Map Of Pilot Rock

Are You Ready To Go Hiking Yet?

There is no shortage of incredible hikes near Ashland, Oregon, but these are a few of our favorites that are easy to get to. We’d love to hear about other hikes that you’ve enjoyed, so if you have one you’d like to share then let us know in the comments below!

Are You Planning A Trip To Oregon?

Now you know where the best hikes in Ashland, Oregon are you may want to check out these other articles to discover other awesome things to do while you’re exploring the state:

And, if you need a place to stay while you’re in Medford or Ashland, Acme Suites has got you covered!