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Jacksonville Woodlands Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Colorful madrone at Panorama Point, Jacksonville Woodlands (bobcat)
Footbridge over Jackson Creek, Jackson Forks Trail (bobcat)
Whiteleaf manzanita berries, Rich Gulch Trail (bobcat)
Interpretive sign, Chinese Diggings Trail (bobcat)
Monument to the first gold strike, Applegate Street, Jacksonville (bobcat)
View to old city hall, Oregon Street, Jacksonville (bobcat)
The loop in the Jacksonville Woodlands: foot trails in yellow; road walks in orange (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo/MapBuilder Topo
  • Start point: Britt Gardens Trailhead
  • Ending Point: Panorama Point
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 4.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 410 feet
  • High Point: 1,930 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes, on weekends and in good weather


Hike Description

A nonprofit citizen’s group, the Jacksonville Woodlands Association, has since 1989 cobbled together a total of 320 acres of publicly accessible woodland above Jacksonville and Jackson Creek abutting land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The area includes the upper reaches of Rich Gulch, which in the 1850s and 1860s became the site of one of the richest gold strikes in the American West. In addition to scars and tailings left from the mining era, you’ll be hiking from a riparian zone up slopes of oak, madrone, and pine to get views to the surrounding Siskiyous and the distant Cascades. Part of the loop includes a walk through Jacksonville’s old town, where you’ll pass 19th century homes, stores, and churches. Poison oak is rampant in the woodlands, so keep to the trails and leash your pet.

To the right of the public library is a sign for the Britt Gardens. Take the steps up, looking back down on the yard for the tourist trolley. An interpretive sign explains the origins of Schutz Hall (demolished in 1958), once Southern Oregon’s largest brewery. Then you’ll cross California Street to the Peter Britt Gardens. A sign points out the remains of a brick beer cellar before you switchback to a four-way path junction among small lawns and terraces of plantings. Head left here below the site of Peter Britt’s home, which burned down in 1960. (Britt was a Swiss-German settler and entrepreneur, well-known for his early photographs of pioneer life.) The path takes you to 1st Street, whence you can head up a block to the Britt Festival Pavilion. (The Britt Music & Arts Festival is an acclaimed summer festival founded in 1963.) Turn down steps and bear left above the Britt house site, keeping left to begin a boardwalk at a large sequoia planted by Peter Britt in 1862 upon the occasion of the birth of his son, Emil.

You’ll now begin the Sarah Zigler Trail, designated a National Recreation Trail. Sarah Zigler, née Plymale, was another early settler of the area who moved with her husband to Roseburg; the Zigler family’s woodland here was donated in 1993. Douglas-fir, oak, madrone, and ocean spray shade this path that runs above Jackson Creek, which is reduced to a trickle in the summer. You will see sections of the metal pipe that Peter Britt installed to water his garden. A sign points to a concrete structure across the creek which once housed a pump that served water to a logging railroad spur line. When you reach a footbridge, go right to cross the creek to pass a cement vault that housed the chlorinator for Jacksonville’s drinking water.

You’ll reach the Jacksonville Woodlands Trailhead, from which a trail leads left past a sign explaining the brick kilns that once operated here. Cross another footbridge over the creek, and make four switchbacks up a hillside where ponderosa pines are part of the forest mix, with numerous young madrones in the understory. At the junction with the Jane Naversen Trail, keep left to stay on the Jackson Forks Trail. The path reaches a crest with a rather scrubby oak wood dense with bitterbrush and white-leaf manzanita. Drop down to the left, and then keep right at the junction with the Britt Ridge Trail. Stay right at the next junction to reach a four-way junction in an open meadow area.

Follow the Rich Gulch Trail, which leads off to the right. At the next junction, head left for Panorama Point. There are old miner’s diggings on the left and right, and you’ll need to keep left at a junction to wind up to the benches and colorful madrones at Panorama Point. The views are somewhat limited, but you can see Mount McLoughlin behind Roxy Ann Peak, with Grizzly Peak the prominent summit to the right. Looking closer, Anderson Butte rises above the forested ridge on the other side of Rich Gulch.

Take the trail leading right through a thicket of white-leaf manzanita, and keep right at the next two trails leading down to Oregon Street. A sign explains the hydraulic mining practices that once scoured Rich Gulch. Among thickets of bitterbrush, keep left at a trail junction. Also pass the French Gulch Trail (you can go a few yards down here to see an old reservoir dam that once served as the local swimming hole). At the next junction, turn left on the Rich Gulch Trail, first rising and then traversing down above the gulch. Soon, you’ll cross a gravel track to the beginning of the Chinese Diggings Trail.

According to the sign, neither horses nor elephants are permitted on this trail. Chinese miners worked this area of old tailings (they were not permitted to stake new claims), and their rock piles from the sluicing process are still visible today. The trail leads right off the old road bed into a forest scurrying with squirrels. Walk on an even contour to reach Hill Street. Go left and down to a driveway, where you’ll see the entrance to Beebe Woods, administered by the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy.

In a few yards, the Frenchman’s Mine Trail heads up a gulch to the right. This less-used trail takes you up a blackberry-choked creek where you can see the effects of hydraulic mining. Three switchbacks take you up a wooded slope of Douglas-fir, madrone, and ponderosa pine before you drop to a junction with the Applegate Trail. Go right here, and descend the slope until you come to Applegate Street. This is a fairly busy street without much of a verge, so remain alert as you descend the road. Nearing the junction with Oregon Street, a display on the left proclaims the discovery of gold on this spot by James Gluggage and John R. Poole in 1851. At the junction with Oregon Street, you’ll see the remodeled Cameron House (early 1860s) on the right.

Follow a shady footpath down Oregon Street under rustling locust trees. At the junction of Oregon and Pine streets is the 1860 Kubli House, and at Oregon and Main, a display tells about the oldest Chinese Quarter in the Pacific Northwest. When you reach California Street, turn right, passing old store fronts and the Jacksonville Inn. The McCully House Inn is on California and 5th. Then you’ll see the 1880 De Roboam House before crossing the road to walk up 6th Street, passing the historic First Presbyterian Church on the right.

Turn left on C Street to walk by the City Hall, once the county courthouse and jail. Jacksonville was the largest city in Oregon when it gained its statehood in 1859, but the population dwindled after the railroad bypassed it in 1884 in favor of Medford, and Jacksonville also lost its status as the county seat. Go right on 5th Street to pass in front of the City Hall, and then turn left on D Street. Pass the Magnolia Inn and reach the corner of 4th Street, where you’ll turn left after passing the 1854 Methodist Episcopal Church, now the St. Andrew’s Anglican Church. On 4th, you’ll see the 1858 St. Joseph’s Catholic Church before turning right on C Street. Follow C Street to pass the 1856 Harris House and continue to the public parking area at the library.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Restrooms at trailheads, interpretive signs
  • Dogs on leash
  • Respect private property
  • Share some trails with bikes and horses
  • Trails slippery and muddy when wet


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Southern Oregon & Northern California by William L. Sullivan
  • Where the Trails Are: Ashland - Medford And Beyond by Bill Williams
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon’s Southern Cascades: Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • The Dog Lover’s Companion to Oregon by Val Mallinson

More Links

Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

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