Ashland Ponds is one (1) small, semi-secluded, pond for bird watching next to Bear Creek.
Driving – A 4 minute drive from Ashland Plaza. Take Oak Street (It’s perpendicular to Main Street at the Plaza). Then turn left on Lithia way to head north out of town towards Medford. In a few blocks turns right on N. Laurel. There’s a little jog at Hat Street but keep going until you hit Nevada. Turn left and then turn right on Glendower. You will dead end into the trail head.
Parking – Just park on the street in this little neighborhood.
The Adventure – Ashland Ponds isn’t much to look at, but that’s what it’s for – to look at. It’s off the beaten track so it’s semi-secluded, and it’s next to Bear Creek so it has a nice supply of birds and critters to look for. But it’s more of a Botanist’s Dream than a Nature Lover’s Dream. The gate and the signage and the dog poop bag dispenser at the trail head feels like a good sign – like you’re on a real trail – but quickly it begins to feel like a utility access road. The first few hundred yards of the trail are asphalt with a large concrete wall on your left and scrubby riparian weeds to your right. Don’t lose faith, in a quarter mile the bark chips begin, you turn to your right, and you can begin to make out the little pond. The wide, barky trail loops around the pond and there are a couple benches along the way, but there is no real, great, pond shoreline access. You mostly peer through the blackberries. You can turn around and look at Bear Creek if you’re into riparian habitat (might actually be Ashland Creek right before it hits Bear). Overall it is a very short hike on a very flat trail with some very okay nature viewing. How’s that for damned by faint praise?