Roxy Ann Peak (3,573 feet) is almost literally in our backyard. The peak rises 2,200 feet above Medford and is visible from most of the Bear Creek Valley. It (and surrounding Prescott Park) is Medford’s most important viewshed, open space reserve, and recreational resource. It was the first hike we did after moving to the valley in 2014 (Roxy Ann). Within the park, you can put together its mix of established and use trails and roads to create simple hikes of between 5 and 7 miles and with 1,000 feet of elevation gain (or more).
This year – unlike the last two – storms with rain and snow have been rolling through Southern Oregon roughly every 2-3 days. Cloudless, sunny gaps between these storms are brief – often 6 hours or less – and taking advantage of them means getting on a trail quick. So, last week, when a sunny break followed a heavy snowfall, we rushed out to Prescott Park for some exercise in the sun and snow. The “trailhead” is on the park’s Entry Road. That road leads to the Loop Road that circles the peak,
along which we saw a lot of bluebirds (it being a bluebird day and all) – who are in town for the next 3-4 months.
We soon got off the service road and started up the Ponderosa Trail to the summit,
into a snow-encrusted forest on the northwest side of the peak,
and around to a less snowy forest on the east and southeast side.
The only thing Roxy Ann Peak shares in common with Mount Defiance in the Columbia River Gorge is a collection of comm towers on its summit.
From the summit, we could look east over the low clouds of one of the valley’s signature winter inversions to snowy Grayback Mountain,
to Grizzly Peak to the south,
and, from the other side of the summit, Mount McLoughlin to the east.
We then opted to take the Tower Road (there’s a trail option too) down from the summit,
then follow the Loop Road around the east side of the peak through the low clouds,
over a short piece of trail,
and down to the Entry Road and the trailhead. A good leg-stretch of a hike and just as well that it was close and short – within an hour of our getting back to the trailhead clouds ahead of the next storm began darkening the sky…