Hearts Trail – Breathtaking Panoramas Above Downtown Ashland
With its exhilarating uphill climb above the city center and Lithia Park, Hearts Trail offers spectacular views and occasional wildlife encounters, too. Conveniently located benches offer respite to enjoy the scenery.
The trail is the product of a partnership between the Burnson family and the City of Ashland. Maintenance is provided by the Ashland Woodlands & Trails Association, and the trail has been in use since February 2008.
Access is by way of a private residential driveway between houses on Granite Street. Following a “path” of square patterns in the concrete on the right keeps you next to a landscaped hill and away from the house. A “switchback” of wooden stairs meanders up to the woodland.
Looking back every once in a while reminds you of how well city planners can integrate buildings, people, and recreational opportunities into natural settings. Keep your ears open for birdsong near the top.
In winter, freezing night time temperatures and marginally warmer days may leave patchy snow and ice to contend with on the way up. Surprisingly, you may see a robin or two. After about three hundred feet or so, the groomed terracing and stairs give way to a metal gate that brings you into the forest. Turning back reveals clouds, mountains (e.g., Grizzly Peak), and a hint of valley to the east. Lithia Park and the watershed are south and west.
The trail continues up, primarily along bare ground. Enjoy the woodsy smells! A few helpful steps ease the way in the steepest sections. To the left as you climb is a signed section that takes you to the west, eventually meeting up with the main level trail. Not far after you turn right at the top, you’ll see the high end entrance to your left. Use it as a loop to double back to the main trail for 40-minute hike start to finish from Granite Street.
If you ignore the side route, you reach a level trail below the ridge. The right side heads up slightly, while the left is mostly level before eventually heading down. Watch for future articles here at Insight to Ashland describing both in the next few months.
Directions to Hearts Trail: Walk, bike or leave your car at the Upper Duck Pond in Lithia Park or somewhere nearby. From the park, take the spur off Winburn Way, going right at the stop sign. The entrance is on the north side of Granite Street.
Outdoor Recreation Safety Note: Please be sure to read our safety note on our Outdoor Recreation home page.