It’s hiking season! Maybe the snow hasn’t quite melted in the higher altitudes, but it has turned mushy, and I’m about to retire my skis and pull out my hiking boots. The Jacksonville Woodlands are sprouting wildflowers, and I’m ready to walk the hills, chasing the snowmelt onto the high-altitude trails, following the wildflowers higher and higher.

One of the most beautiful areas in the Applegate Valley is soon to become accessible to hikers, as the Applegate Trails Association has taken up grub hoes, picks, and mattocks to blaze the East ART, the east end of the proposed Applegate Ridge Trail. We’ve hired a crew, and we’re calling on enthusiastic volunteers who want to join us. On April 1, April 30, and May 21 we’ll be conducting training workshops and leading work parties. This is a great opportunity to be able to say to your grandchildren, when you take them on the East ART years from now, “Yes. I helped build this trail, back in 2017.” They’ll be so impressed, as they hike through the galaxies of lupine and sea blush, and they’ll be so grateful, as they picnic with you on the rock outcropping and look down onto their own home far below in the Applegate Valley.

Check-out the details for the work parties on our website,

I’ve hiked the route of the East ART, and I love it, but it’s difficult without a trail. The more people we have helping, the faster the trail will be built, and I can’t wait. We’re anticipating a completed trail well before wildflower season next year.

In the meantime, there are other favorite hikes in the Applegate. I’m leading an ATA hike up Mt. Elijah, one of the best wildflower hikes in the region, on July 9. Mike Kohn, another ATA board member, will lead a hike up Mule Mt. on May 13. These are great opportunities to learn these trails. A third board member, Alex Weinbrecht, will lead a horseback ride for ATA on June 11. We’ll announce the details later, but you should put these dates on your calendar now so you won’t schedule something else on May 13, June 11, and July 9. Save those dates for hiking or riding with ATA.

Diana Coogle is on the board of the Applegate Trails Association and co-author, along with Janeen Sathre, of Favorite Hikes of the Applegate: A Trail Guide with Stories and Histories.