Day hike near Medford, Oregon

Day hike near Medford, Oregon

Exploring the Rogue River

Twisting, turning and plunging through Southern Oregon, the Rogue River provides summer thrill seekers the opportunity to experience a whitewater-white knuckle ride of a lifetime.

However, we were not looking for quite that much adventure as we set off for a day hike down the Rogue on a crisp December morning. It was definitely not summer and we hoped to keep warm and dry as we made our way along a portion of the Rogue River Trail. Our destination and lunch spot of choice was an old mining cabin located 3 miles downriver.

A narrow trail made it tough to get a good angle for the above shot, but the dash at the top of the sign indicated the high water mark from the 1964 flood. It went on to explain that the water rose 55 feet above the normal summer level. We stared, trying to comprehend just how much water that would have been.

Expecting a rundown old mining cabin, we were surprised to see the National Register of Historic Places designation posted on the cabin. We were also surprised at what an amazing peek into history Whiskey Creek Cabin offered.

The cabin was originally built in 1880 and is the oldest remaining mining cabin in the Rogue River Canyon. A series of owners and caretakers lived in and made improvements to the cabin over the years. The last resident moved out in 1973, when the Bureau of Land Management bought the property and opened it to the public.

According to Wikipedia, there are only two ways to reach Whiskey Creek Cabin…by floating down the Rogue River, or hiking in as we did. Either way, it’s well worth the effort!

Categories: Ashland life, Day hike near Medford, Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lower Table Rock raises our spirit

Warm temperatures, clear skies and the hope of spring wild flowers coaxed us out of the house for a return hike to the top of Lower Table Rock.

This geologic wonder, along with neighboring Upper Table Rock, is located just outside of Medford, Oregon, an easy drive from Ashland. Both are remnants of a 7 million year old lava flow that made its way down the Rogue River. Erosion has led to the two mesas we see today.

Lower Table Rock looms 800 feet above the valley.

Trails lead to the top of both mesas, but we chose the longer Lower Table Rock trail. Summer sun can be brutal, so spring is prime hiking season. Trees were beginning to leaf out and wild flowers lined the trail along the way. Once we reached the top, the trail followed what was once a grassy airstrip…where brave pilots would have experienced a mighty bumpy landing.
Vernal pools border the trail in early spring and are considered micro-ecosystems. The ponds support a federally protected species of fairy shrimp and a state endangered plant called Dwarf Wooly Meadowfoam, a plant found nowhere else in the world.
If you're in the area and looking for an easily accessible day hike then Lower Table Rock is tough to beat. Be sure to take along water and a picnic lunch. Find a spot to relax and enjoy the views…they are spectacular!

Spring was bursting as we hiked the 5.2 mile round trip.

The view from the top with Mt. McLoughlin in the distance.


Categories: Ashland life, Day hike near Medford, Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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