One of the more popular local bike rides is the Lithia Loop Mountain Bike Route, a strenuous 28-mile ride that gains 3,000 feet in elevation the first 6 miles. Caution is in order on the last 7 miles of descent. To avoid the steep ups and downs, you can drive up to the top and ride the fairly level 15-mile stretch. The Lithia Loop is mostly within the Ashland watershed, the source of the city’s water supply, and it may be closed during midsummer and fall.
The Siskiyou Crest Mountain Bike Route begins at the Mount Ashland ski area parking lot. The 31-mile round-trip ranges from moderate to difficult and affords incredible views of Mount Shasta. The route ends at Dutchman Peak, where you’ll find one of the few cupola-style fire lookouts left in the Pacific Northwest. This particular lookout was built in 1927. Note that bicycles are not allowed on the nearby Pacific Crest Trail.
The Bear Creek Bike and Nature Trail crisscrosses town before going down the valley to Medford along Bear Creek.
The Ashland Ranger District (645 Washington St., 541/482-3333) can provide directions and additional information about these and other mountain bike trails in the area.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel