Local Hikes

Locals Adventure Guide

Fall Fun at Applegate Lake


Everyone notices. Whether it be the obvious twinge of chill in the air, or the almost undefinable scent of fallen leaves mixing with warm soil, we all know it’s here. Fall seems to come over night, moving in unexpectedly. Gone are the hot, lazy days at the lake, and here to stay are the cool, breezy afternoons full of bright leaves and lots to do. This nearly perfect time in between hot summer and rainy winter is one of the best times to get out there and explore our region.

After missing out on mountain biking this summer, (our bikes were stolen…much to common around here!) our legs were itching to get back on a bike trail. We were excited when we heard about a fun trail that goes around Applegate Lake that doesn’t require heavy duty mountian bikes. Perfect! We loaded up our old Shwinn 10 speeds and were on our way.

The trail, known as “Payette Trail”, winds 9 miles around the eastern shore of Applegate Lake. Neither extreme or mellow, it is classified as intermediate in difficulty, and is pretty family friendly.  We made it on our vintage 10 speeds, but if you have a mountian bike, that would be a better option.  It would also make a great hike for those not so “bike inclined”. The trail consisted of rolling turns and gentle hills, all right on the edge of the lake, providing spectacular views. A wide variety of plants and trees lined the trail, ready to put on a show of fall colors. The lake itself was surprisingly beautiful for how low the water level was, and the color was a brilliant turqoise. This is a bike ride everyone should make room for on their “to do list” for fall.

Directions: Leave Jacksonville on 238, when you get to Ruch, turn left on Upper Applegate. Turn left on Squaw Creek road. Cross Applegate dam, and continue 1 mile to FrenchGulch campground.

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