Location: Southwest of Medford, OR near the Applegate River.
Follow signs from Interstate 5 in Medford to Historic Jacksonville to Ruch, approximately 9 miles. At Ruch turn left on upper Applegate Rd and follow for 8 miles to Palmer Creek Rd. Turn right on Palmer Cr Rd and turn right after 1 mile.
This three-quarter-mile trail traces the remains of a late-nineteenth-century hydraulic gold mining operation in what was known as the Palmer Creek Diggings, now a part of the Rogue River National Forest.
A prominent Chinese mine boss by the name of Gin Lin purchased mining claims in this area in 1881. Gin Lin was one of thousands of Chinese sojourners who came to Oregon during the nineteenth century to seek their fortunes. He probably arrived in southern Oregon in the early 1860s, when his name first appears in the historical records.
Anti-Chinese sentiment was widespread on the Pacific Coast when Gin Lin came to Oregon. Chinese workers were singled out for special taxes. These included a mining tax in Jackson and Josephine counties, first levied in the 1850s, and a statewide annual poll tax, instituted in 1862. The original 1857 state constitution also stated that “no Negro, Chinaman or Mulatto shall have the right of suffrage.” Despite the state's institutionalized discrimination against them, Chinese men came by the thousands to work in Oregon's mines, salmon canneries, and agricultural fields.
Gin Lin recruited many of his fellow countrymen to work his mines, the first of which he purchased in 1864. He gradually acquired more land over the years and had his men build miles of ditches to serve the newly established mines. One of the largest is still known as China Ditch.
Gin Lin returned to China in 1894. A very rich man by this time, he is rumored to have been murdered by robbers, though this story has never been verified in the Chinese archives. Although little is known about his final days, his legacy is still visible in the landscape.
Width: 24 inches.
Primary Surface: Soil
Secondary Surface: Soil
Average Grade: 10%
Elevation Low Point: 1,700
Elevation High Point: 1,828
Elevation Gain (cumulative): 197 feet
Year Designated: 1979
Supporting Webpages and DocumentsBrochure: Gin Lin Mining Trail
Website: USFS Trail Details
For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.
Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District
6941 Upper Applegate Rd.
Jacksonville, OR 97530
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