Our featured trail this week is Jack's Woods, so we thought it appropriate to post it here on the blog with a look back to last September, when a wildfire put our permit in jeopardy.
We are currently at an extreme fire danger level in the Mt. Hood National Forest. This means all campfires, charcoal or briquette fires, pellet fires, or any other open fires will be prohibited under a Forest Order, including in developed campgrounds. Portable cooking stoves, lanterns, and heating devices using liquefied or bottled fuel, such as propane, are still allowed as they can be instantly switched off. Additionally, target shooting is temporarily prohibited because of the risk of wildfire.
Featured Hiking Trail of the Week - Jack's Woods
Jack Wood's Trail (#6) is located on the north side of the Mt. Hood Meadows permit area, hugging a ridge line above the scenic Heather Canyon (Jack's Woods is also the name of a popular winter ski/snowboard run in the same location in Heather Canyon). The heavily forested trail is just under a mile and is rated "more difficult." There are a few ways to access Jack's Woods: from the Bear Grass Trail (#1), the Timberline Trail (#7), or take a scenic chair ride up Stadium, hop briefly onto the Stadium Loop (#5), then head up the road until you see markers for Trail #6 (Jack's Woods). The trail takes you through some beautiful forest, as well as under our Heather and Shooting Star lifts.
Lupine and grasses spring up against a log in the Jack's Woods burn area. Photo taken mid-July 2021 by Josey Rice.
However, one of the most interesting elements of the Jack's Woods Trail is that the area looks very different than it did a year ago. On Labor Day 2020, in the midst of what would ultimately become one of the most devastating wildfire season's in the state's history, a wildfire started in Jack's Woods. Thankfully, it only grew to two acres, as firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze despite high winds and dry fuels.
Scorched trees and new life in the Jack's Woods burn area. Photo taken mid-July 2021 by Josey Rice.
Even though the area burned less than a year ago, you can already see signs of life returning to Jack's Woods, as pioneering wildflowers and other plants are popping up from the charred forest floor.
Jack's Woods serves as a great reminder to recreate responsibly when visiting our nation's public lands. The vast majority of wildfires are caused by humans, and we are once again finding ourselves in what is looking like another challenging wildfire season. Please be aware of fire restrictions before you hit the trails!
Hiking Update and Featured Trail and Wildflower of the Week