The East Applegate Ridge Trail (ART)
The new (open to the public July 2017), and very beautiful 5.6-mile East ART is on the eastern end of the of the proposed 50-mile Applegate Ridge Trail (ART). Hikers can park at a roomy trailhead accessed from a gravel road off Sterling Creek Road, hike a few hours on a gorgeous trail of easy to moderate difficulty and if desired descend through the woods to a smaller, as yet undeveloped, trailhead on Hwy 238, between Forest Creek Road and Longanecker Road.
The East ART is easily accessed, close to urban centers and can be hiked year around. Coming from the Sterling Creek trailhead (3056’ elevation) the first half of the trail averages a gentle 3% grade. When Bishop Creek and the incredible views of Ruch are left behind you have begun the second half and the descent to Hwy 238. A favorite way to see the entire trail is to do a thru hike. Leave a vehicle at the temporary parking spot off Hwy 238 (1774’ elevation) and drive a second vehicle around to the Sterling Creek trailhead. Do the thru hike (in about 3 hours), and drive back to get the vehicle at the main trailhead. To find the road where the trail (BLM road 38-3-14.1) comes out on Hwy 238, follow these directions. Coming from Jacksonville this flat parking spot is on the right about 300 yards past Forest Creek Road (at the end of the guard rail). The BLM road is on the left (opposite), and has a closed green gate with a sign asking you to not block the gate. About 150 yards up this road is where the already funded trailhead (by a Travel Oregon grant), will be built as soon as BLM completes the permit process with ODOT and weather permits.
This trial is a winner all around and one of the most beautiful in the Applegate – for its forests, oak savannas, wildflowers, grassy hillsides, and, especially, open slopes that provide those fantastic views. However, slopes open to fantastic views are also slopes open to the sun, great in the winter but in the summer, this can be a hot trail. Bring plenty of water and wear a hat!
WARNING TO EQUESTRIANS:
This trail is not yet suitable for horses. Several narrow sections of the trail cross very steep slopes, leaving no turn-around room should a rider meet hikers or bikes coming the opposite direction. In addition there are obstacles in the path (stones, roots) that could be a challenge for a horse (though not for hikers). We plan to have the trail equestrian-safe by the end of this next winter.