|Agency:||USDA Forest Service|
|Location:||About 6 miles northeast of Ashland, Oregon.|
|Distance:||5 miles (round trip)|
|High Point:||5,922 feet|
|Season:||April through October|
From Interstate 5, take the south Ashland exit number 14. Turn east away from town. Follow Highway 66 for less than ¼ mile. Turn left on Dead Indian Memorial Highway. Follow this road approximately 7.0 miles to the Shale City Road, marked 38-2E-27. (This road will occur before you reach the evergreen forests on top.) Look for the Grizzly Peak trail signs. Turn left. Follow the Shale City road approximately 3.0 miles until you reach road number 38-2E-9.2. Look for Grizzly Peak trail signs. Turn left onto this road. At approximately 1.0 mile on this road, you will come to a three way junction. Follow the road leading uphill, which will be the same road you are on. Look for the Grizzly Peak trail signs. Approximately 1.0 mile further, you will reach the trailhead. Parking is available at the trailhead for up to 10 cars.
At an elevation of 5922 feet, Grizzly Peak affords an outstanding view of the Rogue Valley and the city of Ashland. The short trail to the summit passes through a mixed forest of fir and pine. On a clear day, the trail offers outstanding views of the Cascades including Diamond Peak, Mount McLoughlin, and Mt. Shasta. In late spring and early summer wildflowers put on a spectacular show along the trail. Keep an eye out for elk and deer, as well as many other animals including Golden Eagles and other birds of prey.
Back in 2003, the East Antelope fire burned over the northern flank of Grizzly. I expected it would damage the aesthetics of the area, but in fact, it has improved things. The view is opened up considerably, and wildflowers abound in the burned over areas. Even the snags were somewhat picturesque as they rise against the sky.
My most recent Grizzly hike was on a May afternoon. The trailhead was pretty busy, with probably 10 or so cars. It turned out that a large number of the cars belonged to people hunting for Morrell mushrooms, a popular--and profitable--pursuit in these parts during mid spring. Morrells are a wild mushroom with very bold and deep earthy flavors, and are a popular ingredient in gourmet French food, or so I'm told.
Once I was a mile up the trail, I had the place pretty much to myself. There was only one other family of naturalists, a mother and father with two little girls, enjoying the incredible variety of wildflowers in the burned over section. I have never seen such lush growth of miner's lettuce!
Just to reach the summit and back is probably about 3 miles. To do the complete loop by traversing the summit adds another couple of miles. You do need to be careful not to lose the trail on the way back, as there is one place in particular which seems to confuse the brain.
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