The Sarah Zigler Interpretive Trail is a furrific choice for an easy hike with a history lesson. A National Recreation Trail, it follows Jackson Creek for about a mile and makes for a pleasant stroll even on a hot day. The trail begins in the historic Peter Britt Gardens, located just a couple of blocks from downtown Jacksonville. Pick up a brochure at the trailhead to go on a self-guided tour and learn more about the trail and its surroundings; the information in the pamphlet corresponds with numbered signposts along the way.
As soon as you set off, you and Fido will come across the famous Britt Sequoia, which is believed to be the oldest giant sequoia tree in Oregon. The trail takes you up to the former Britt Water Ditch, which used to supply water to the gardens and orchards of the Britt home, then along Jackson Creek, and through the woods. It was in this area that gold was first discovered in 1851, bringing about the gold rush. Within a few months, miners had excavated every creek bed in the area, including Jackson Creek.
As you and your pooch follow the trail through a forest of Pacific madrone, ponderosa pine, and Douglas fir, you will see remnants of previous mining activity, as well as views of Siskiyou and Cascade Mountains. If you visit in the spring, there's a good chance that you will also encounter blooming wildflowers such as trilliums, bittercress, and false Solomon's seal. As beautiful as they may look, do not pick the flowers, and make sure that Fido does not disturb them.
The Sarah Zigler Interpretive Trail connects to a number of other trails, allowing you to customize the length of your hike and explore other parts of the park. Many of these trails lead to old diggings and glory holes. Wherever you go with your furry pal, always keep them on a leash and pick up after them to ensure a pawsitive experience for all!
Watch out for poison oak!