Step back in time, just 20 minutes away from Ashland!
Named as “One of America’s Top 10 Coolest Small Towns” by Budget Travel Magazine, and listed as one of 18 “Best Places to Live” by Men’s Journal, Jacksonville combines the gentle ambiance of a historic small town with a vibrant cultural scene. Offering a summer long concert series, numerous wineries and tasting rooms, unique shopping and dining options and an easy-going attitude, Jacksonville is a perfect destination – for a day trip or for an extended stay.
Surrounded by fruit orchards and vineyards and nestled in the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains, Jacksonville feels like it is completely separate from the outside world and yet it is very easy to get to - just 17 miles north of Ashland and 5 miles west of I-5 at Medford. Having preserved its gold rush roots from the 1850’s, it is one of the few select towns to be designated as a National Historic Landmark.
But this town will charm you with more than its history. The quaint brick and wooden buildings now house an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, spas and unique lodging – not to mention fantastic wine tasting rooms. The Woodlands Trail System offers 20+ miles of trails for hiking and biking where you a can take in the scenery, learn some history and enjoy our fresh air.
Britt Festivals is the Pacific Northwest’s premier outdoor summer performing arts festival. Located in Jacksonville, Britt presents a full lineup of summer concerts in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater. Concerts include a three-week Classical Festival with Maestro Teddy Abrams, as well as a full lineup of nationally touring artists in pop, folk, rock, country music and more. The Britt setting is a naturally formed amphitheater set among majestic ponderosa pines and native madrones on the beautiful hillside estate of 19th century photographer Peter Britt.
The setting is casual and relaxing and many concertgoers arrive early to enjoy a picnic dinner and enjoy the beautiful views. Patrons can bring their own picnic or select from an array of concessions sold on site. Britt offers both reserved and lawn seating. For more information on this season’s schedule and more, visit www.brittfest.org or call 541-773-6077.
Gold was first discovered in Rich Gulch in 1851. Within months the area was filled with prospectors seeking their fortune. From out of the thriving mining camps emerged a boom town that became Jacksonville. The town thrived as the county seat and the largest city in Oregon until the railroad bypassed the town in 1884. The boom was over and businesses and residents moved away over the next 50 years.
These unfortunate events actually helped preserve the town’s rich historical legacy. With much of the architecture still intact, Jacksonville was designated a National Historic Landmark with over 100 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. You can take in a little of the town’s history through a narrated tour – either on your own or with a guide. You can walk, bike or rent a Segway, or in the summer months, hop aboard the town trolley with a historically garbed guide. The cemetery that overlooks the town offers a glimpse into the lives of the people who founded Jacksonville in an era before modern medicine. A narrated tour of the cemetery is one of four tours that can be downloaded at www.jacksonvilleoregon.org. The other tours focus on the historic business building, historic homes, and the Woodland Trails, which features the sites of the gold mining activity.
Visiting the historic cemetery is another way of gaining personal insight into life and death in early Jacksonville. Death by causes once common, but now nearly unknown, are described: epidemics such as measles, diphtheria, smallpox; lead poisoning; and “Indian War” on the headstones. Ornamental wrought iron fences and gates, stone curbing, engraved entry stones, bollards and urns decorate family blocks and contrast to simple wooden crosses and markers of the less affluent.
The Jacksonville Cemetery is unusual in that it is divided into seven different sections made up of both religious and fraternal organizations. They include the Jewish and Catholic sections, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Independent (German), and Improved Order of Red Men. The seventh and largest section is the City of Jacksonville’s portion which has been added to over the years. Within the City Section you will find another unique feature to the cemetery and that is a Potter’s Field which contains the remains of blacks, whites, Native American Indians, Hawaiians, possibly Chinese, and other.
For wine lovers, Jacksonville is the gateway to one of Oregon’s news wine appellations - the Applegate Valley. You can enjoy several tasting rooms right in town as well as touring the 18 wineries in the breathtaking Applegate Valley. The Applegate Valley climate is an alternative to Oregon’s cool-climate viticulture and is conducive to Chardonnay, Syrah and Bordeaux red varietals. For more information go to www.applegatewinetrail.com.
When surrounded by such incredible natural beauty it is impossible to not want to get outside and experience it. Whether you are a regular hiker or someone who just wants to stretch your legs and breathe deeply of our fresh air, there are several easily accessible hiking trails close to Jacksonville.
Right in town there are the Jacksonville Woodlands Trails – over 20 miles of trails to hike or run, including narrative signage of the gold mining sites along the way. You will get to experience a series of micro-climates and see the related wild flowers, trees and shrubs. The trails include a native plant arboretum just behind the Beekman House. You can also enjoy a self-guided audio tour of the Sarah Zigler Trail, the Jackson Forks Trail, and the Panorama Point Trail. Tours can be rented at the Jacksonville Visitors Center at 185 N. Oregon Street in Jacksonville, or downloaded for free from www.jacksonvilleoregon.org
Jacksonville’s 1100-acre Forest Park, located one mile west of our historic downtown, offers 15 miles of grand vistas, hiking trails, small creeks, the town’s old reservoir, interpretive markers and remnants of old gold mines. Forest Park is a great place to ride bikes and horses or to take an extended hike. It is easy to find, and very close to Jacksonville. From downtown Jacksonville, take highway 238 west for three-fourths of a mile and turn right on Reservoir Road for one mile to the Park entrance and the kiosk where you’ll find trail maps for the Park. This is a recent addition to the city’s park system and a group of volunteers is actively working on expanding the existing trails. Steeper inclines present more challenging trails.
Shopping, Dining and Lodging
Housed in the historic commercial building and former homes, Jacksonville’s shops, bistros and restaurants are independently owned and offer their own unique merchandise and culinary perspectives. It is easy to find them all as you wander through town, or contact the Visitors Center, located in the former train depot. For in-town lodging options, whether you are looking for a B&B, hotel or cottage, go to www.jacksonvilleoregonlodging.com.
From Ashland take I-5 North to exit 24 and go left towards Phoenix. Turn right on South Pacific Hwy/Hwy 99, then left on Stage Rd, right on Griffin Creek Rd., left back onto Stage Road which eventually becomes E, California St.
Jacksonville Visitors Center