The first three Forest Park Guided Hikes have been well-attended, and it has been fun to meet new trail enthusiasts as well as to see some favorite trails through eyes that are seeing them for the first time. The new Forest Park maps have been a hit and some of our new hikers have been venturing out on their own, highlighting trails on their maps as they explore. Creating new fans of the Park is, after all, a major goal of this program, so I am pleased with the success so far.

On August 16, we will head out for our fourth hike in the series. The start time will remain 8:30am, but our 3-mile hike will be on a moderate, shaded trail so, if temperatures soar, we should stay relatively cool. Do bring water, wear comfortable walking shoes or boots and leave your dog at home for the group hike. Dogs are very welcome in Forest Park, however, if you have a dog as a hiking compannion, plan to bring it along when you return on your own.

Ol’ Miners Trail, which was built on water ditches dug 150 years ago by the early gold miners for use in hydraulic mining, will be our starting point on August 16. This is a moderate, 1.8 mile-long trail and can be used to access many other trails in this part of the park. We will leave Ol’ Miners Trail for a short span of Norling Creek Trail and then return to P-1 via Rail Trail. Rail Trail is an easy hike along the bed of the historic Bullis logging railroad and passes a replica railroad trestle at the site of the tragic 1916 train wreck. For anyone feeling like adding a .5 mile loop with a short climb, Ponderosa Snag Trail is a perfect option to end the trek.

Remember, we will start the hike promptly at 8:30am from P-1, the first parking area and kiosk as you enter Forest Park. To arrive at Forest Park, take Highway 238 west out of downtown Jacksonville for about ½ mile and then take the right turn onto Reservoir Road and follow it for about one mile.

If you have further questions, please email Kandee McClain via