Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ashland, You've Stolen Our Hearts

Continuing South in our annual migration to San Diego for the holidays, we next stopped in Ashland, OR. Neither of us had visited Ashland before. We knew it was known as a retirement destination and for it's summer-long Shakespeare Festival, as well as Emigrant Lake being a fine place to camp. We ended up being very pleasantly surprised by this town.

We camped at Emigrant Lake, just South of town, and it lived up to its reputation as a lovely, peaceful (at this time of year) place to stay. We even took the opportunity to wash and wax the truck and the rig during our stay because the weather was so perfect after the first night (super windy when we arrived).

We discovered the excellent Grizzly Peak trail just a few miles East of town. This 5.4 mile trail climbs gently through dense forest where we were treated to a great horned owl sighting! About one third of the trail passes through a 2003 burn area which opens up the views to the West and South. This was a lovely hike and it was easy to see that it would be covered in wild flowers in the summer.

At about 5,500 feet there were still signs of the weather system that blew through the PNW about a week ago.

Gorgeous clouds topped expansive views to the West, overlooking Ashland.

We also hiked the Mount Ashland Meadows Trail, a 3.5 mile, almost level section of the Pacific Crest Trail that traverses the Southern flank of Mount Ashland. There are amazing views of Mount Shasta, about 60 miles SW, and in the summer the meadows would be filled with flowers.

Mt Shasta

Lots of haze during our stay. I  believe it was because people were burning firewood and
burning piles of brush built up over the summer. Makes for interesting mountain shots though!

Driving through town on Friday we noticed the local high school was holding their Homecoming football game that night, so we went. The Ashland Grizzlies ended up beating the Willamette Wolverines 34 -20. This turned out to be a neat way to meet some of the locals!

Local high school football fun!

Ashland is a fairly upscale tourist destination thanks to the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival, with a cute and lively downtown including lots of art galleries and unique boutiques and eateries. Downtown is surrounded by well kept neighborhoods of beautiful Victorian and craftsman-style homes.

Lithia Park is the crown jewel of the town; this 100 acre, 100 year old park has several miles of trails that we enjoyed at this colorful time of year. In fact, the changing leaves were so beautiful that on a Saturday hordes of professional and amateur photographers were enjoying the beauty and many people were having special photo sessions in the park, especially in the Japanese Garden!

The Duck Pond provided lovely reflections.

Walking through the Japanese Garden we were enveloped in color.

We enjoyed Ashland so much we extended our stay an extra day and will definitely be back to explore this area further. In fact, Ashland has made it onto our short list of places we might like to live someday!

Today we move just 70 miles South, to Weed, CA to spend a few days in the virtual shadow of Mt. Shasta.


  1. High school football - fun!! Glad you had such a great time - I wish it hadn't been so damn hot when we were there. Love the pics of Lithia Park. We didn't go because they don't allow dogs in the park, which I thought was completely annoying. But overall it is a very cute town!

  2. Your photos are amazing!!! Beautiful country

  3. Wow weee....lovely change of season the duck pond reflection

  4. What a delightful post on this special place. We used to attend the plays every year and stay in a B & B. Brings back fond memories. Next year I want to do an extended stay there on the way to the Willamette Valley. Sounds like Emigrant Lake is a good place to stay.

    The photos of the fall colors in the park are breathtaking. So glad the weather cooperated when you were there.

    High school football game? What a great way to experience the local scene.

    Shasta should be great too this time of year.

  5. We haven't been to Ashland but it sounds like we should check it out. Love the colors of the leaves!

  6. Wow! I love your new camera! Great pictures:)

    Mount Shasta is magnificent with the low hazy hanging below it.

    The reflection picture in the Duck Pond is so pretty. I can't believe how neat the colors are.

    Sounds like a place we need to see!