2005 visit: Lithia Park has been called “the crown jewel of Ashland,” and what a jewel it is. It’s one of the best things Ashland has going for it, in my opinion. It’s just one of the reasons I’m glad to be here for so long because it will take a while to explore its 93 acres. Began in 1892, it was the first park in Southern Oregon. Growth came in 1914 with John McLaren, who designed San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
Now 93 acres right off the center of downtown, it is a place where solitude and peace may be found along the many well maintained footpaths scattered though the park.
The paths begin right at the end of Ashland Plaza downtown and winds along Ashland Creek. The sights and sounds of the stream and the chirping birds made the walk even more enjoyable. Ashland Creek’s headwaters are on the north slopes of Mt. Ashland, nine miles to the south. It is part of the Rogue River watershed. Ashland Creek provides the city of Ashland with the majority of its drinking water.
Once within the park, walk along the trail on east (right) side of Ashland Creek to Park Headquarters where you can obtain a map showing locations of both historic and modern park features, including a trail guide to the most significant trees throughout the park.
Bridges span the creek in several places, each one different and equally beautiful.
I met some interesting characters here. I called this guy Trump Duck. 🙂
More Lithia Park Info:
Lithia Park (City of Ashland) – In the hub of downtown sits Lithia Park, Ashland’s crown jewel. Lithia is a 100-acre vista of emerald lawns, tennis courts, picnic areas, colorful landscaping and playground equipment. Map
City of Ashland – This is a very good overall resource site, with interesting, detailed info about all aspects of the city, historic to present day, including a tour of historic Lithia Park with great old photos.
Lithia Park (NPS.gov) – Lithia Park, which began with eight acres in 1892 as a place where the Chautauqua Association could bring entertainment and culture to southern Oregon, has continued to grow and change along with the community that surrounds it.
Haunted Places – In the 1800s, a girl was murdered in the park. It is believed to be her spirit that caused an eerie blue light to appear, flicker, and vanish over the duck pond.
Hiking Lithia Park – Lithia Park encompasses the natural course of the Ashland Creek with hiking paths on both sides, interspersed with gardens, play areas, performance centers, tennis courts and duck ponds. The trails are well-maintained and interconnected, providing plenty of choices when it comes to scenery and length of the hike. The further you progress into the park, the more you’ll feel like you’re in an isolated wilderness rather than the center of town. At its furthest point, there’s a swimming reservoir. Bathrooms and drinking fountains are located throughout the park.