With the weather finally stable enough to do some great hiking, horseback riding and bicycling we thought we’d update you on some trail news. In light of the enthusiasm for the directions we put together for National Trails Day event, we thought it was time to post some very specific directions to the Sterling Mine Ditch trail on our website. Click here > > for Directions to Sterling Mine Ditch Trailheads.pdf. Please see the Map tab and you will be able to get directions with exact mileage to the various trail heads.
Two great improvements have been added to the Sterling Mine Ditch trail in recent weeks: Benches and Parking. The benches are thanks to an Eagle Scout project done by Austin Morgan. He installed four benches with the help of another Eagle Scout and an enthusiastic group of volunteers. One is on the Bear Gulch access trail with a view of the waterfall. The second is at the top of Bear Gulch access trail where it meets the Sterling Mine Ditch trail. The third is west of the tunnel with a fabulous view and the fourth is part way up the Tunnel Ridge access trail right where you can sit in the shade of an oak tree and enjoy the view. We are most appreciative of the fabulous job Austin did on the benches. We hope you will go out and enjoy them.
Thanks to a Title II Grant we received, we have improved parking at all five trail heads. Roarke’s Earthworks did a terrific job creating new and improved parking for all of us. Now that we have this great parking, please be sure to consider others using the parking when you park, especially in those areas where horse trailers park. Cars if possible should pull to a far edge leaving room for a horse trailer to drive in and swing around.
For the equestrians out there here is some great horse trailer parking news. The Deming Gulch trail head and the Armstrong Gulch trail head now both have horse trailer parking that is easy to use. Hikers and bicyclists are welcome to use the new Deming parking area too – its 3/10s of a mile past the Deming trail head (1 mile from where you turn left onto Deming Road).
The parking access is a short downhill off the Deming Road to the left – at the open yellow BLM gate into a former logging landing. It will easily fit 4 horse trailers. While everyone is welcome to use this great new parking area above Deming, please park carefully to leave room for horse trailers – there is no other place for horse trailers to easily turn around on Deming Road.
Anyone parking at this new parking area should know you can now do a delightful loop on the Sterling Mine Ditch trail right from this new parking area. There are large boulders at the far end of the parking area placed strategically to stop anyone from driving on down the BLM road. Hike or ride between the boulders and go downhill on this lovely shaded dirt road roughly ¼ of a mile. The ditch will be below you on your left. We recently posted small 4”x4” signs saying TRAIL with an arrow on the trees so keep an eye out for them. If you miss the turn you will a small stream at what looks like a dead-end – go back up the hill a short distance to hop on the Sterling Mine Ditch trail. You can hike/ride from here all the way to the Deming Trail head (about 2 miles) and onto to Armstrong however far you would like. If you want to make a loop, at the Deming Trail head you can walk/ride back up the Deming Road 3/10s of a mile to your vehicle.
If you go to the Armstrong trail head with a horse trailer, the new large parking area is about ½ mile up Armstrong Gulch. We have widened the road to make an area where one horse trailer can park using an old BLM road that cuts uphill on the right and a second horse trailer can swing around to park headed back down the road on the opposite side of the road. Eventually we will be constructing a trail from this parking area in order to by-pass private land. The Armstrong Gulch trail head (which is on private property) is up the road about 3/10s of a mile. A SUTA volunteer recently made a discreet TRAIL sign with arrows pointing to the trail in both directions (Left is towards Deming and right is towards the Little Applegate end of the trail ). Hikers and bicyclists will probably prefer to park up by the trail head but horse trailers should not attempt that – there’s no reasonable place to turn around.
Last news flash for horse trailer parking: A horse trailer can now park comfortably at both Bear Gulch and Little Applegate trail heads. Tunnel Ridge is also cleaned up and expanded. At the Little Applegate Trail head you can turn a horse trailer around just a short distance up the road past the trail head and parking where Rush Creek road comes in on your left – big enough for a fairly easy turn-around.
Last but not least, please clean up after your horse at all trail heads and take your manure/hay home with you. Thank you.
Have fun on the trails.