Posts Tagged With: Southern Oregon Day Hikes

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

A Pleasant Hike on Humbug Mountain


It’s been awhile since we’ve given our hiking shoes a real workout, so today we put them (and ourselves) to the test along the 5 1/2 mile Humbug Mountain trail.  We hoped the promised ocean views would help distract us from the 1,748 foot climb.


The trail immediately began to rise, eventually leading us through a dense forest of amazing old-growth Douglas Fir, wildflowers and ferns.  As switchbacks led us back and forth up the mountain, Reg began to wonder just when we would see those Pacific Ocean views.  

At last we arrived at a break in the trees and were rewarded with a view north, up the Oregon Coast toward Port Orford.  We snuck several more peeks before trees grew dense and the trail took a turn, continuing up, up, up.  Surely, we thought, the view from the summit would be spectacular!

This little bench marked the end of the trail.  While I rested my feet, Reg documented our achievement with a quick photo.  Unfortunately, as the last picture shows, trees have blocked most of the views from the top.  Still, it was hard to be disappointed.  The hike was beautiful, we had made it to the top…and back down again…with plenty of energy to spare!

Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Going Green on the Oregon Coast

When we reserved our Harris Beach campsite last week, the weather report for the south coast of Oregon called for several days with mostly blue skies and temperatures in the mid-sixties. The perfect opportunity to sneak in, what might be, one last trailer trip before winter weather arrives.

As promised, temperatures have warmed up each day, allowing us to comfortably explore, but the sunshine we were hoping for has remained scarce. Although the gray skies haven't slowed us down, they have served as a reminder of one of the reasons Oregon continues to be such a beautiful, green state.

In celebration of my green theme, I thought I'd share a few photos from our Riverview Trail walk along the Chetco River, in Alfred A. Loeb State Park.

Reg pauses to check out the curtain of moss dangling from a fallen tree.

The Riverview Trail eventually turned uphill and past a cascading creek.

As we left the river and climbed higher we entered a Redwood forest.

Lots of green...everywhere!

As a couple fishermen quickly floated down the Chetco River, we noticed it too was a unique shade of green.

We stopped to look for a four-leaf clover, but couldn't spot one. Can you?

 

Categories: Road Trips | 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

Wagner Butte Challenges and Rewards

 


We thought we must be close to the top when we came upon a sign that marked the halfway point.

Our guidebook promised the views were well worth the 5.2 mile hike up to the top of Wagner Butte. Located west of Ashland, the trailhead was just a short drive from our home, so we packed our lunch and jumped in the trusty Subaru.

The fall day was sunny and warm, but not too hot…just right for a trek with a 2,200 foot elevation gain. “We can do this,” we assured each other.

The trail took us through a forest of old growth firs, across the site of an enormous 1983 landslide, through sagebrush meadows and even a grove of aspens.

As we neared the summit we could see Mt. Ashland (on the right) and Pilot Rock (the small knob in the distance).

It's a bit of a scramble to reach the top.

A fire lookout was constructed atop Wagner Butte after a 1910 forest fire threatened Ashland. It remained in use until the early 1960s when airplanes began to take over fire surveillance. A leftover railing, old foundation piers and an incredible view reward hikers who reach the top.

As we headed back down the mountain, I began to think about returning in the spring. I bet the wild flowers will be beautiful!

 

Categories: Ashland life | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grizzly Peak is Perfect Day Hike

Grizzly Peak is an iconic Ashland landmark, rising to an elevation of 5,920 feet. It also happens to be smack-dab in the center of our living room view. That view is, in fact, one of the things that sold us on the purchase of our townhome just over a year ago.

We may be biased, but we think our view of Grizzly Peak is of the best in the valley.

By now, we've watched the mountain cycle through all four seasons; golden browns in the fall, white dustings of winter snow, purple carpets of spring wild flowers and fading green summer grasses.

Today it was time to get up close and personal with our favorite mountain…so we packed a lunch and drove around behind Grizzly Peak where we caught the 5.4 mile mountain loop trail…to see what we could see.

The first part of the trail climbed up through beautiful forests and meadows. Notice 9,495 foot Mount McLoughlin in the distance. We'll save that hike for another day!

As we reached the summit and continued on, the scenery began to change and the views across the valley opened up. The East Antelope Fire, which burned across Grizzly Peak in 2002 or 2003 (depending on which article is correct), played a large part in the expansive views hikers enjoy today.

The mountainside serves as a sobering reminder of how the devastation of a wildfire lingers.

Reg searches for the chocolate bar...our reward for hiking uphill!

We found a perfect lunch spot. That's Ashland in the distance, nestled at the base of the Siskiyou Mountains.

Grizzly Peak is a short drive from Ashland and a fairly easy hike, despite the 750 foot elevation gain, so we were not alone on the trail. Many others (and their dogs) took advantage of the perfect weather today.

We're already making plans to go back next spring…I hear the wild flowers are beautiful.

 

 

 

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