Southern Oregon has become a popular mountain biking destination thanks to the fun trail network on Mount Ashland. The entire region is filled with amazing potential for riding terrain, and thanks to income from single track tourism, other parts of the region are being developed as riding destinations. One of these is located just up the freeway from Ashland, near the city of Jacksonville. Although the trail network is still being developed, if you’re looking to riding something different, Jacksonville Forest Park is a nice addition to the trail options in the Rogue Valley.
Located approximately 30 minutes north of Ashland, Jacksonville’s 1,100-acre Forest Park offers 15 miles of grand vistas, hiking and biking trails, small creeks and remnants of old gold mines.The park is constructed and maintained by Jacksonville City Parks Department. Much of the credit can also be attributed to local mountain bikers in the Rogue Valley Mountain Bike Association, who have been working with the BLM and City of Jacksonville to create a mountain bike park in and above Jacksonville’s Forest Park. Out of the 17 trails listed on the trail map, 9 of those are open to bicycles.
My friend Jamie and I had just spent two full days shuttling Mount Ashland and were looking to pedal for a couple of hours before we packed up and headed home. With a time constraint and not knowing where to go without a guide, Jason’s brother Izaak Van Horn suggested we give Jacksonville Forest Park a shot. To our surprise, it is very “out of towner” friendly. It was easy to find, there are several trail kiosks, plenty of signage, maps, parking and even a porta potty.
There are a couple of ways you can start at the main parking lot – either as an out and back on Rail trail (which was once off limits to bicycles) or pedal up 1.4 miles on Jacksonville Reservoir road off to the left of the parking lot.
We opted to pedal up Jacksonville Reservoir road mainly because I was trying to replicate Izaak’s Strava route. It’s a moderate fire road pedal up to the beginning of the Granite trail (15-20 minutes). Next time I will start on Rail trail which will also ends on Jacksonville Reservoir road (more single track less fire road). A number of the trails start and/or end on the Reservoir road so it’s really hard to get lost.
Granite trail is 1.5 miles of fun smooth single track with lots of undulation. Rated more difficult due to the steep beginning climb – 20% grade.
The upper section of Granite comes down through the Halls of Manzanita Forrest to the Naverson Family trail
The Halls of Manzanita was filled with winding trees giving it a mystical feel.
Once you have left the Halls of Manzanita Forest, you come upon the Neversen Family trail sign. Option to go a either direction. Either as a loop or use it as a segment to enter onto another trail.
Naversen Family trail as a loop is 1.4 miles, it offers beautiful views up and down two canyons.
We were only on the Naversen Family trail for a short period of time and used it as a connector to the Canyon Vista trail.
The Canyon Vista trail is 1.5 miles going from canyon to canyon, taking you back down to the park entrance. We cut out early and hopped back on the Reservoir road back to the entrance (or exit – depending on your direction) of Rail trail.
There are so many other ways to ride this park – sadly, we just didn’t have enough time to explore. I am planning on coming back up here in a few weeks with Jason so hopefully if the weather permits, we will spend some time riding here as well.