The giant Redwoods near Brookings.
The giant Redwoods near Brookings.

Hiking is still the best way to really see the countryside and you'll be spoiled for choice in Southern Oregon. Hundreds of hikes, of every imaginable level and variety, await you here.

Check out historic walking tours of downtown Medford, nature walks in Ashland's Lithia Park or sections of the Pacific Crest Trail. A veritable ribbon of scenic hikes, from easy strolls to strenuous outings, twine through the countryside of Southern Oregon.

Here's a Hiking Highlight
Just 10 miles northeast of Medford are two enormous sandstone-basaltic mesas (table rocks) with flat lava caps. These relics of the volcanic era give incredible views of the surrounding valley, the Rogue River and Siskiyou Mountains. Both the Upper and Lower Table Rocks (as they are named) has a well-maintained trail that snakes back and forth on its way to the top. Once atop these monoliths, you'll be amazed by fields of wildflowers, small marshy ponds, deer and hundreds of birds.

The trails are managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Nature Conservancy. (For information, click here.)

Hiking the Rogue Trail
Hiking the Rogue Trail is another great way to experience the Rogue River Canyon. The journey from lodge to lodge is a wonderful mix of meeting new people and feeling the solitude of your walk as hikers spread out on the trail to their own pace.

You start listening and watching in a new way. Each turn may reveal a spectacular rapid or waterfall to the riverside of the trail; or, a turn up a creek drainage shaded by the drape of the canopy overhead revealing an entirely different system of plant life.

The quiet stretches are punctuated by a rest stop where the guide will point out some feature that is part of the canyon’s story: the place of a distinctive geological event; a piece of history recalling when members of the Tutani or Takelma tribes made the river valley their home.

And, in the spring, there are the flowers. This is how you see the fingerprints of this canyon. Stopping to see and enjoy another variety of flower; or, really stopping, getting out the book and putting your heads together along with other hikers to identify a bloom you’ve never seen before.