Mt. Ashland Cross Country Skiing
The 3rd most popular XC Ski in Oregon.
Wednesday 27 July 2016 03:24 GMT
Near Ashland in the Rogue River National Forest, the Mt Ashland area has a wide range of trails for cross-country and backcountry skiing.
Bull Gap Trail (Easy-More Difficult)
The 5.7 mile Bull Gap Trail links the Bull Gap Snowpark to the Mt. Ashland Ski Area. Beginning at Bull Gap Snowpark the trail follows snow covered road 2080 to Bull Gap (3.3 miles). The elevation loss is about 600 feet and the trip down is a pleasant one with some nice views, including Mt. Mcloughlin to the northeast. Bull Gap is four-way intersection at a saddle on the ridge between Neil Creek and Ashland Creek. From Bull Gap the trail turns uphill on road 200 to the left and climbs 1100 feet in 2.5 miles to the Mt. Ashland Ski Lodge. The road from Bull Gap to the Ski Lodge is not yet marked with blue diamond trailblazers, but is not difficult to follow.
When skiing the route in reverse begin at the Mt. Ashland parking lot near the ski lodge, look for blue diamond trailblazers and traverse just below the lodge to the north, follow the blazers to the ski area boundary where the road enters the forest; from this point the blazers leave off, and the road is easily followed.
Crest Loop (Most Difficult)
The Crest Loop is a 2.0 mile aside to the Bull Gap Trail for skiers of advanced/intermediate skill. It is most enjoyable when skied in the counterclockwise direction. The loop begins at the junction of the Bull Gap Trail (road 2080) and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), about 0.4 miles from the snowpark. The route follows the PCT for 0.8 miles, mostly through the trees, then zig-zags steeply downhill through the woods to road 050 which returns to the Bull Gap Trail. From the snowpark its 3.4 miles roundtrip with 440 feet of elevation lost and regained. Warning: If conditions are icy the downhill section between the PCT and road 050 is best avoided.
Road 200 to Ashland (More Difficult)
Occasionally, when the snow level drops to the valley floor, it is possible to ski beyond Bull Gap all or most of the way to Ashland on road 200. From Bull Gap take road 200 north. The trip from the snowpark to the upper end of Terrace Street in Ashland is 12 miles and 4000 vertical feet. Road 200 is not marked with blue diamond blazers.
To reach the trailhead from the Ashland Ranger Station, drive east on Hwy 66 to Interstate 5. Take I-5 south 9 miles to the Mt. Ashland exit (exit 5). Follow the sign to the Mt. Ashland Access Road (0.7 miles). Turn right onto the Mt. Ashland Road and continue 7.0 miles to the Bull Gap Snowpark on the right (16 miles from Ashland).
The Mt. Ashland Inn is a great base for backcountry skiing in the Siskiyou Mountains.
Overall, Mt. Ashland is the 3rd most popular cross country ski area of all 24 Nordic ski destinations in Oregon.