One-way Trails

Things are evolving quickly with COVID-19 and government response to it. This includes the closing of many Oregon trailheads, parks and forest lands in part because people don’t seem to be respecting social distancing mandates. We all need exercise, sunshine and fresh air – now more than ever – so we really want our trails to stay open and we’re taking measures to help with that.

We still encourage people to try Forest Service roads and wider trails, including Hitt Rd, but we’re making some changes that we hope will encourage folks to limit head-to-head encounters.

One-Direction Trails
After considerable deliberation, AWTA is now strongly recommending one-direction recreation on a few select trails to discourage the number of face-to-face encounters that often lead to less than desirable distancing. We ran this idea by representatives of both the Forest Service and Ashland Parks and Rec Commission and they endorsed this approach. This is how the following trails will be signed from April 2 until indefinitely:

  1. Bandersnatch (from Waterline to Alice) is uphill-only.
     
  2. Bandersnatch East (from Alice to 2060) is downhill-only.
     
  3. Red Queen (from Bandersnatch to Caterpillar) is uphill-only
    (lower Red Queen is not included).
     
  4. The new section of Wonder is uphill-only.

  5. Snark is pedestrian-only north of Jabberwocky.

This is depicted in this online map and this screen shot:

Resources:

Roads to hike and bike in the Ashland watershed

Mostly One-Way Routes

You should only hike a trail if you feel you can safely practice social distancing, knowing that this may mean you may have to step above or below the trail, on steep terrain and possibly with poison oak.

    1. Bandersnatch – Lower Red Queen Loop
      from Witzend TH parking: 2.2 miles, 1000-feet of climbing/descending.
      NOTE: Lower Red Queen is narrow and steep. Alternative: continue to Ashland Loop Rd and head down the road (traffic)

    2. Wonder – 2060 Loop
      from Fairy Ponds TH parking: 4.4 miles, 870-feet of climbing/descending. NOTE: Mt Bikes may climb Wonder. Parts of Wonder are narrow with steep sideslopes.

    3. Bandersnatch – Red Queen Loop
      from Witzend TH parking: 5.2 miles, 1,600-feet of climbing/descending.
      NOTE: Lower Red Queen is narrow and steep. Alternative: continue to Ashland Loop Rd and head down the road (traffic)

More info

  • All other trails remain as they were.

  • Signs will be posted at appropriate intersections.
     
  • Passing happens. We realize that people will still pass one another, even if they are traveling in the same direction: some people just move faster than others. We still think this may be better than the frequency of two-way traffic meetings.
     
  • Predominant traffic pattern. We’ve chosen what we believe is the common traffic pattern. Hopefully this causes less inconvenience; still we know that people may have favorite routes in the opposite directions and/or like to spontaneously choose which way to go. Please indulge us and maybe plan ahead.
     
  • This is completely voluntary. Please don’t be belligerent to people not observing this recommendation. On the other hand, let’s see if we can exhibit a little less of the selfish disregard that apparently prompted many agencies to close trailheads, parks and forest lands.
     
  • Communicate. For much of this to work, people need to alert people that they are approaching. We can be polite, announce ourselves and tell folks we would like to get by. Maybe this is not the best time to be wearing headphones.
  • Is there enforcement? No, we just hope everyone will play nicely and help to keep our trails open.
     
  • Why these trails? These are the most popular pedestrian trails at the moment and the most accessible with lots of trail head parking.
     
  • Why not apply this to more trails? A larger effort would be much difficult to implement, describe and manage. Figuring out logical and practical solutions based on common user habits becomes geometrically more difficult as we increase the number of trails and possible permutations. Also, the higher elevation pedestrian trails tend to have fewer users and thus social distancing practices are easier. The biking trails tend to be more directional already (there are many downhill direction trails with most uphill riding happening on roads).

Hiking, running and biking in groups is not recommended.
This is probably the hardest thing for people, because it has become one of their few outdoor social outlets. But, here’s the deal: if you and your two friends hike or run 6-feet apart–three abreast—on the road, you are using the entirety of the road. If you encounter another group of the same size, you’ve all created a problem. If you run or hike 6-feet apart single-file, I’m guessing you’re going to have a hard time conversing. This is a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s hopefully temporary.

Thanks for your cooperation and help in keeping our trails safe and open.

Updated: 05/18/2020