The picturesque town of Ashland, Oregon is nestled in the Rogue River valley between the snowy peaks of the Siskiyou and Cascade Mountains, 15 miles north of the Oregon-California border - think fantastic vistas of tall mountain peaks, evergreen forests and gorgeous valleys. It is best known for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival but Ashland is also a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, art, science and history buffs, and those looking for reflection and pampering. Here’s a preview.
In the winter Ashland is a ski resort for the 7,500 foot Mt. Ashland just a half hour drive away. Four chairlifts give access to 23 trails including the beginner “Sonnet,” intermediate “Romeo” and the advanced “Upper Juliet.” For the more extreme sport-minded, chute skiing or boarding Mt. Ashland’s glacial cirque known as the “bowl” will get the adrenaline pumping. Or if cross country skiing is more your style, there’s the scenic Grouse Gap Nordic Trail.
In spring and summer, trade your skis for mountain bikes and ride one of Ashland’s many trails like the demanding 30 mile Siskiyou Crest trail at Mt. Ashland. Naturally Mt. Ashland has a lot to offer hiker and backpacker enthusiasts too, like the 3.4 mile Mount Ashland Trail and connections to the Pacific Crest Trail that runs between the Canadian and Mexican borders.
More Outdoor Activities
Beautiful Lithia Park stretches 93 acres from downtown toward Mt. Ashland. A National Historic Landmark, this city park features forests, rose and rhododendron gardens, duck ponds, tennis courts and playing fields. Meander a walking trail along Ashland Creek or sit a spell to enjoy the tranquility.
Offering 155 county park acres Howard Prairie Lake Recreational Area is a great place for hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping as well as fishing and boating on the alpine lake.
Another county park located 6 miles SE of Ashland, Emigrant Park offers camping, hiking, boating and fishing and a 280 foot waterslide.
Located 18 miles east of Ashland, the Tub Springs State Wayside is so named because of the big tubs that were installed in the 1930s to provide spring water for travelers. This Oregon State Parks and Recreation site offers picnicking, trail walking, bird watching, historic displays and so on.
Arts & Science
Take a walking tour through the Historic Railroad District, home to historic buildings, inns and restaurants, and art galleries and studios ranging from drawing and painting to stone sculpting and glassblowing. While in the district, visit the Historic Railroad Museum honoring the railroad’s contribution to the Ashland community.
For the young and young-at-heart, the ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum on Main Street offers 80 interactive exhibits combined with hands-on activities and live performances. Contact: (541) 482-6767.
Located on the campus of the Southern Oregon University in Ashland, the Schneider Museum of Art provides feature exhibits as well as their permanent collection which they describe as “span[ning] the periods of time and represent[ing] various cultures from Pre-Columbian ceramics of Costa Rica, Medieval illuminated manuscripts and maps, and hand-colored Renaissance engravings from Europe along with nineteenth and twentieth century Northwest Native American baskets and carved and woven artifacts from New Guinea. Contact: (541) 552-6245.
There are plenty of places to pamper your self in Ashland, including hotels, B&Bs, spas, and many restaurants offering varied cuisine and atmospheres. Here are a couple of examples for consideration.
The Chozu Bath and Tea Gardens combine a Japanese tea room and bath gardens offering salt water pools, saunas and steam rooms plus a variety of massage, wraps and other relaxing treatments. Contact: (541) 552-0202
On the shores of Bear Creek, the Jackson WellSprings resort offers spa facilities and therapeutic massage, classes and seminars as well as the Tree of Life Garden of herbs and medicinal plants, and camping (your tent or RV or Tepee rental). Contact: (541) 482-3776
For other ideas, visit the Ashland Chamber of Commerce
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