By Wendy Markey
Nestled in the beautiful Applegate Valley, there is the Gin Lin trail that has interesting historical significance. This ¾ of a mile looping hiking trail is the remains of an ambitious man’s dream of striking it rich in the gold rush of the 1800’s. Located outside of Jacksonville, a pristine pioneer town that came to life in the gold rush, this trail is a piece of wilderness waiting to be explored.
Strewn along the trail are artifacts from the hydraulic gold mining operation. Be careful of poison oak plants and ticks during summer months. There also might be a cougar watching from a distance so keep your eyes open (you are in the wilderness). I took pepper spay and carried a stick.
The deep and shallow ditches you will see along the trail were passages for the water to move and to sluice the gold from the soil and rocks. Chinese miners dug these ditches, over one hundred years ago. There are piles of rocks called tailings left over from the mining. The piles of tailings continue back quite a ways along the trail.
This trail is approximately 40 miles from Ashland, take I-5 N to Medford, take exit 30 for Crater Lake towards N Medford, turn left at OR-62 W, continue onto OR-238W, turn left at W/Hanley Rd., turn right at OR-238W/E California St. continuing to follow OR-238 W, turn left at Upper Applegate Rd., slight right at Palmer Creek Rd., trailhead will be on the right about two miles.
Located 15 miles south of Jacksonville, just beyond the McKee Bridge (a historic covered bridge maintained for foot traffic), the Gin Lin Trail head is located at a gravel parking area just past the Flumet Flat Campground. They do not have restrooms at the trail, but there are facilities in the picnic area and restaurant at McKee Bridge. This piece of history and wilderness is yours to enjoy.