Autumn is one of the best times of the year in Southern Oregon. The leaves on the trees change colors, switching from a verdant green to royal hues of red, orange and yellow. They create fluffy piles on the ground which are just waiting to be jumped in.
One of the most fun ways to enjoy the lovely fall foliage is hiking some of the numerous local trails. Each one showcases a different facet of the Rogue Valley and its stunning scenery. As you plan your hikes, these are some local favorites.
Roxy Ann in Medford
Roxy Ann trail is a beloved hike among locals and visitors. It offers amazing views of Medford, and from the back side of the trail, you’ll see Mt. McLoughlin and the Sky Lakes Wilderness. If you venture to the top, you’re rewarded with a gorgeous view stretching from Ashland to Gold Hill. It’s especially stunning in the fall, when the golds, reds and oranges bring the mountain to life.
This hike is four miles round trip. Or if you start from the parking lot below Prescott Park and up Manzanita Trail to the peak, it’s two miles up and back. This hike is also kid-friendly and stroller friendly when you do the loop road, so everyone in the family can enjoy it.
How to get there: From I-5, take Barnett Road east to north Phoenix Road, then go left until you reach a stoplight at Cherry Lane, where you will turn right. Take Cherry Lane to Hillcrest Road and take a right two streets up — Roxy Ann Road is on the left. Take that road up to the second gate.
Wagner Creek Butte in Talent
One area that’s always beautiful during fall is Wagner Creek Butte. The reds and oranges will leave you breathless as you explore Wagner Creek Road. The drive is amazing and takes you to the trailhead for one of the toughest hikes in the area. But if you decide to do the hike, it’s an 11-mile, thrilling adventure.
How to get there: From Ashland, drive west on Highway 66 for 1.4 miles to Siskiyou Boulevard. Turn right and drive for six miles to Rapp Road. Turn left onto Rapp Road and drive one mile to the junction of Wagner Creek Road; then go eight miles to the junction with Forest Road 22. Turn left onto Forest Road 22 and continue two miles to a parking area on the right. The trailhead starts to the left of the road.
Jacksonville’s Forest Park
Forest Park Trail feels like it has an endless amount of places to explore, including Atsahu Trail and Canyon Falls Trail, which start at the same trailhead. The former is well marked but not the smoothest walk. There could be a lot of mud during the rainy season. The hike is two miles up and back.
How to get there: Take California street, which becomes Highway 238. About 1/4 mile out of Jacksonville is Reservoir Road on the right. As you go up Reservoir Road, you’ll see many forks in the road; stay to the left until you reach parking lot #5.
All the Colors of Autumn
Southern Oregon’s fall foliage is a beautiful, almost mystical, sight. A walk among the trees and leaves is the perfect way to spend a fall day. It’s a great family activity for the kids, or a fun way to explore the valley with your friends.