Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Glacier N.P. & Pacific Northwest

by Kathy 9. December 2010 12:50

Back to Glacier National Park & Pacific Northwest Index Page

<< California—Chappie-Shasta OHV Area | Oregon—Prospect OHV Trail System >>


Oregon—John’s Peak OHV Area

We were all excited about riding in the John’s Peak OHV area, located in Southern Oregon near the city of Medford. We had read trail descriptions that promised lots of tight and narrow single track, with loops back to the main road. Woo hoo! We couldn’t wait!

The dirt road leading to the riding area had a sign indicating that we were entering land owned by the Motorcycle Rider’s Association (MRA).

We were there on a week day, so we were not surprised to find the staging area completely deserted.

We had no trouble finding a good spot for our rig:

A large sign in the parking lot indicated that this was the Jackson Hills Staging Area, built by the MRA and funded by Oregon State Parks and Recreation with revenue from OHV permits and by a percentage of gasoline taxes.

We thought, “How refreshing!” Here was a riding area created on land owned by a motorcycle association and funded in part with money from OHV riders. Surely the trails would be plentiful and fun, as well as untainted by the threats of closure that seemed to be sweeping the nation.

Many riding areas across the country are currently under attack by people (perhaps well-intentioned, but in many cases not well-informed) who have been successful in getting those places closed (including one of our favorite areas in California—Clear Creek—which has now been closed for over 2 years despite overwhelming evidence that the underlying EPA “emergency closure” report was based on false data without credible support).

We eagerly donned our riding gear and got ready for what promised to be a great ride.

Then came the “welcome wagon”—2 older men dressed in casual clothes in an unmarked, small pickup truck who claimed to be “rangers.” Their attitude towards us can only be described as “hostile,” and that is only if you view their conduct in the most positive light. The men immediately grilled Ben about whether we intended to camp overnight (we weren’t), and told us in no uncertain terms that “all of the trails” were closed to motorcycles except the main dirt road. No single track, no quad tracks, no side roads. Nothing, nada, zip, except for the main road. They then handed Ben a trail map that proclaimed to cover a “multi-use area,” with pictures of horse riders, hikers and bicyclists—conspicuously absent was the figure of a motorcyclist.

We were stunned.

Were these men really “rangers”? And we wondered whether they were being truthful, especially when their information was inconsistent with that of the Oregon OHV Association, which had posted on their website that John’s Peak OHV had trails open to motorcycles all year round.

In any event, we decided to make the best of the situation: “Let’s see where the main road takes us!”

The road sent small billows of dust behind each bike as we gradually twisted our way uphill.

Here I am on the road, with Genevieve close behind:

Near the staging area, we saw our first "No motorized vehicles" sign at the entrance to an enticing-looking single track trail (called “Rail Trail”):

Further up the road, Sebastian and Genevieve stopped below a hill with tracks on it, and a sign on top saying, “Closed for rehabilitation”—no motos.

We respected all of the “closed” signs, and we did not tread where we were prohibited.

Sebastian, Genevieve and Ben:

Then we came to a quad-size trail that veered off to the left, with what appeared to be recent tire marks leading away from the main road. There was no sign prohibiting entry. Given the liberal posting of “no motos” signs at the entrances to other trails, we figured maybe this one had been spared elimination. We decided to check it out.

The trail wandered along the side of a hill, through trees.

There were often deep ruts that tested the limits of Sebastian and Genevieve’s skills on their smaller bikes, especially when the ruts were combined with steep terrain.

Here is Sebastian, with Ben, taking a break in one of the ruts at the top of a hill climb:

This was the kids’ first experience with big ruts, and they had to rise not only to the physical, but the emotional, challenge of getting through them.  Let's just say that we had some difficult moments.

Here are Ben and Sebastian, near the top of another rut-covered hill:

Sometimes the ruts were so skinny that the kids couldn’t put their feet on the pegs. They had to raise their legs and ride with their feet were above the ruts—a maneuver that was tricky for them to master.

Genevieve practiced that technique in getting to the top of this hill:

There were, however, plenty of smiles.

Here is Genevieve (smiling inside her helmet):

After a few miles, the trail seemed to increase in difficulty. We had hoped that it was a loop that would soon connect back to the main road, but that wasn’t the case. I scouted out the trail ahead and discovered some sections that were even steeper and more slippery than what we had covered so far. Given the kids’ state of fatigue, and the fact that they had already accomplished so much (by enhancing their skills, and emotional comfort, with riding rutty hills), Ben and I thought it would be best to turn around.

Here I am, back from my scouting mission:

The route back provided many downhill challenges for the kids.

Sebastian’s bike was so low to the ground that his footpegs sometimes got wedged in a rut. Here is Ben to the rescue (with Genevieve out front):

Genevieve had some more lessons in finessing the front brake on slippery downhills. Here she is plotting her strategy:

Sebastian continued to perfect his rear brake technique. Here he is with Ben, sailing down a hill—in the second photo, you can clearly see his right foot against that rear brake (way to go, Sebastian!):

Sebastian, back on the main road:

We covered about 10 miles today, less than yesterday but much more challenging. John’s Peak OHV hadn’t quite been what we had expected, with all of the closed trails and the icy hospitality of the “rangers.” However, Ben and I felt so proud of Genevieve and Sebastian for pushing beyond their comfort levels and persevering through the rough terrain. It is unlikely that we will ever return here, but we did leave with some good memories.

Additional Information About John’s Peak OHV:

Link to the Oregon OHV Association info on John’s Peak OHV. 

Link to BLM info on John’s Peak OHV (as part of the Timber Mountain OHV area). 

Directions: From I-5, take the State Highway 238/Jacksonville exit and head west on 238. After going through downtown Jacksonville, and then passing the "Pair A Dice" Road intersection, veer right at the next intersection onto Jacksonville Reservoir Road, which is a dirt road that runs diagonal to the intersection. Continue along the dirt road, past the reservoir, to the John's Peak OHV staging area.

Back to Glacier National Park & Pacific Northwest Index Page

<< California—Chappie-Shasta OHV Area | Oregon—Prospect OHV Trail System >>

Comments (4) -

5/28/2012 5:47:49 PM #

Mike Caruso

Sorry you had such a misfortune experience. The local Jacksonville 'Park Rangers' have since had a tongue lashing for their actions towards dirt bikers since they started yelling at the Jacksonville police chief's son not not knowing he was with his father at the time. There is actually plenty of riding, you just have to head up the road to the top, the only closed trails are at the bottom just past the parking lot you were in.  

Mike Caruso United States | Reply

5/28/2012 9:36:50 PM #

Kathy Hensley

Mike, thank you for your comments.  Despite the rangers, we still had some fun moments on the trails.  For the future, it might be helpful to have a map posted somewhere showing the trails that are still open to dirt bikers. In any event, we appreciate the opportunity to ride there while traveling through the area.  Kathy  

Kathy Hensley United States | Reply

5/31/2012 10:15:42 PM #

Mike Caruso

There's really no maps of the area, just local knowledge. The area has miles and miles of trails, but some at the lower elavation, just past the MRA parking lot, when you ride thru the Jacksonville Park are closed. FYI, I've ridden up there for year, 20 + and still am finding ones I've never been on.

Mike Caruso United States | Reply

6/1/2012 6:55:09 AM #

Kathy Hensley

You are so fortunate to live in a place with such great riding trails! We have some wonderful places to ride in California, but are facing continued trail closures; and the state just decimated the OHV Trust fund (paid for by riders and intended to be used solely to maintain OHV parks and trails). Anyway, I hope John's Peak continues to provide you with many more years of fun!

Kathy Hensley United States | Reply

Add comment

  Country flag

  • Comment
  • Preview

Map of Our Journeys

(click the map to enlarge)
Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin