As the seasons change and the Rogue Valley enters fall, it’s a beautiful time to explore the outdoors. The mountains, trails, hillsides and meadows offer spectacular views and adventures. So as the air turns brisk and a few autumn-colored leaves float to the ground, it’s the perfect time to hike the Table Rocks.
A Tale of Two Trails
The Table Rocks are one of the most popular hiking locations in the Rogue Valley. Once a sanctuary for Takelma Indians, Upper and Lower Table Rock are volcanic plateaus located five minutes from Medford. Created by lava flow approximately seven million years ago, they now stand about 800 feet above the Rogue Valley.
Starting in the mid-19th century during a gold rush, the surrounding area was quickly developed. The Table Rock post office was built in 1872, and an airstrip was placed on top of Lower Table Rock in 1948. In the 1980s, the Lower Table Rock Trail and Upper Table Rock Trail were created across the plateaus’ slopes by the Youth Conservation Corps, Boy Scouts and the Oregon Department of Forestry.
Today, this beautiful spot is a haven for outdoor adventurists and hikers of all ages and skill levels, offering a thrilling view when you reach the top of the plateau.
Exploring Upper Table Rock
Upper Table Rock has a 1.25 mile long walking trail. It is popular with locals and visitors between March and May, when the wildflowers are in bloom. Landmarks such as Mount McLoughlin, Mount Ashland, Roxy Ann Peak, and Pilot Rock are visible on a clear day from the edge of the rocks. This easy-moderate trail has an elevation gain of 720 feet, and it’s recommended you bring water. Additionally, you should allow about two hours for a round trip hike, especially if you take in all the sights along the way.
How to Get There: From Interstate 5, take Exit 33 at Central Point. Travel east on East Pine Street for one mile. Turn left on Table Rock Road. Go 5.3 miles to Modoc Road and turn right. The trailhead is located 1.5 miles on the left.
Discovering Lower Table Rock
This trail is much less steep. You will climb about 780 feet to the top while covering 1.75 miles. There are eight interpretive panels along the trail, which explain the area’s history, flora and fauna. This hike takes about three hours round trip, so you should bring water. And while dogs are welcomed on many local trails, they are not allowed on either section of the Table Rocks.
How to Get There: From Interstate 5, take Exit 33. Go east on East Pine Street for one mile. Turn left on Table Rock Road. Drive eight miles to Wheeler Road and turn left. The trailhead is located 0.5 miles on the left.
Hike a Piece of History
The Table Rocks are a beloved part of the Rogue Valley. In addition to amazing views, you can revel in the history of these stunning plateaus which are millions of years old. You have the opportunity to tread where countless others have, and still have a completely unique experience.