Sterling Mine Ditch Trail

Date: 2/27/16

Hike Difficulty: easy

Trail Length: 4.7 mi loop RT

Elevation Gain: 550 ft elevation gain

My Rating (out of 5): 4.5 – I’m still not quite sure why I’ve been putting this one off for so long. Maybe it’s because I was intimidated by the fact that it is 17.1 miles long in all and I felt like I’d never be able to walk the entire thing in one trip (true). Maybe it’s because the name doesn’t sound like it has a whole lot to offer. Regardless of my reason for avoiding this trail, I was wrong.

Hydraulic mining was much more efficient than traditional gold mining, but it required massive amounts of water. The ditch solved that problem when it was finished in six short months in 1877.The Sterling Mine Ditch was a 27-mile-long hand-dug ditch that brought water to hydraulic jets called monitors. The trail follows a majority of the ditch as it etches across the face of the mountain. One of the famous features that the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail has to offer is a tunnel that served to bypass much of the mountainside. The tunnel is probably 3 or 4 feet high and fills with more sediment each year, but is interesting to look at. Grace sure enjoyed running through it!

In all, this trail surprised me and offered some pretty good views of the mountains of the Applegate. Speaking of which, I got to try out a new app today called PeakFinder. It’s only 4 bucks and it shows you which mountains are around you based on your GPS location. It’s pretty amazing and accurate! I can finally learn the names of mystery mountains.

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