Resolved to not let the month of May end by without squeezing in another hike, my friend Cindy and I slipped out of town and went into the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Hobart Bluff is a great 'walk out and back' hike, easily doable in a short afternoon. The closest access to the Bluff is from the trail head on Soda Mountain Road about 3.5 miles off Route 66.
The trail to Hobart Bluff is part of the PCT; it's well used and an easy walk. The path to the Bluff turns left from the PCT: it is hard to miss as the sign clearly says "Hobart Bluff"! The hike's real elevation gain starts here. One will leave the mixed conifers and gently climb through meadows, and then up into rocky areas with scrubby junipers, manzanitas, and alpine plants. The view from the rocky bluff is spectacular. Nearly a 180 degree vista, on the left is the Siskiyou mountain range, in the foreground lays Bear Creek Valley with Emigrant Lake, the City of Ashland just beyond it. Further out is the Rogue Valley, and then sweeping to right are the Western Cascades.
May - June the wildflowers are remarkable and varied. Pictured below are just a few of our favorites. Fellow hikers, who happened to know Cindy, asked us if we saw the peonies. Nope, we walked right by them, which is easy to do as their flowers face downward and are not all that showy. We resolved to find them on the way back. We might have walked by them yet again, but our friends (who turned back before we did) thoughtfully arranged stick-arrows to point out the peonies on both sides of the trail.
Pacific Crest Trail toward Hobart Bluff, Royal Polemonium line both side of the trail.
Iris bracteata; Siskiyou Iris
Calypso bulbosa, the Fairy Slipper Orchid
Paeonia brownii -- Brown's peony, native to Western North America
Close up of Brown's peony
Partial View from Hobart Bluff
Ashland, Oregon is home to Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Oregon Cabaret Theater and gateway to Rogue Wine Country, Crater Lake National Park and Wild & Scenic Wilderness.