After our big adventure in Canada and Alaska, a visit by Wayne and Diane as they motorcycled their way to Glacier National Park, and catching-up on a back-log of library volunteerism, we were ready for a Labor Day stay-cation. Wildfire smoke was still around, but shifting winds cleared it out for a long hike in Prescott Park on Friday and it hadn’t fully returned when we decided to do a hike in Jacksonville Forest Park today. This park is a tremendous outdoor resource for when we don’t want to (or can’t) travel far to hike. Our map of the hiking and biking trails in the 1,100-acre park is getting pretty ragged but we were still able to pick-out a short loop (5 miles; 1,500 feet of elevation gain) involving some trails we hadn’t hiked before.
So, from parking area P-1, we took the Rail Trail to the Ponderosa Snag Trail to the Siskiyou Trail, then a long stretch on that to the Halls of Manzanita Trail. We followed that one up Cantrall Creek Canyon to parking area P-6 and continued on it west of the road. Here we encountered the newish (it’s not shown on our old map) Steep Canyon Rangers Trail and decided to see where it went. It took us to the Naversen Family Trail, which connected us to the Ridgeview Trail and then the Norling Trail, past the old reservoir (now a wetland), and back to P-1 by noon. Pleasant hiking weather in the morning, with smoke apparent on the horizon but not too noticeable on the trail.