Find All The Great Areas In Southern Oregon To Hike, Backpack, Mountain Bike And Wander On Horseback
Vacationers who come to Southern Oregon will often fall in love with the incredible Cascade Mountains. With its thick green forests and fertile valleys, Oregon is a land of rivers, lakes, and waterfalls. People who love adventure, outdoor activities and expansive, wide-open unspoiled spaces plan their vacations in Oregon. If you like to hike, there is no better place in the world for hiking and backpacking than Southern Oregon.
Hundreds of trails crisscross the Rogue Valley area and provide ample opportunity to see and explore mile after mile of natural beauty. Rainfall is moderate in this section of the country and that keeps all the trees and foliage looking green. Hikers have their choice of walking short easy trails with minimal elevation gain, or longer, more difficult trails that will take you up to and over the summits of challenges like Mt. McLoughlin and Union Peak. A number of the shorter trails are suitable for families and day hikers looking for beauty without the strenuous climbing that can be typical of back country trekking. These type of hikes range from a walk around Crater Lake to a pleasant stroll around the town of Jacksonville or a short trip through Ashland's Lithia Park. Many areas allow horses and some welcome bike riders. Hiking will always be one of the best ways to see the countryside and you will want to do it safely and in accordance with federal, state or local regulations. The higher mountain regions sometimes require permits for access. It's a good idea to check the following resources before planning your trip:
- Bureau of Land Management Website
- Forest Service—Pacific Northwest Region Website—Pacific Northwest Region Website
- Oregon State Parks Website
Below is information on quite a few hikes available throughout Southern Oregon's Rogue Valley area. The wildly popular river-assisted hikes are not covered here, but we have several outfitters that can assist you in planning that type trip on our Things To Do page. Hopefully there are sufficient links listed here to help you get maps and directions to these trails. However, if not, there are many, many books available on-line and in bookstores that give very detailed driving directions and information. There are literally hundreds more trails and dozens more hikes than those listed here and we hope you have a lot of fun finding and conquering them.
- 1 mile loop to Big Pine; 3.5 mile round-trip to Tin-Can Campground
- 1100 feet elevation gain
- Open year-round
Nice hike close to Grants Pass and home to the world's tallest ponderosa pine.
- Easy hike for the first couple of miles; moderate the last mile and a half or so
- 4 and a 1/2 mile round-trip for easy hike; 8 mile round-trip to Onion Mountain
- 600 feet elevation loss on way down
- Open year-round unless high water is present
Beautiful creek-side scenery on way to an abandoned miner's camp.
- Moderate to York Creek or Pine Flat; difficult hike to Bald Mountain
- 5 mile round-trip to York Creek; 11 mile round-trip to Pine Flat; 21 mile loop to Bald Mountain and back
- 450 feet gain to York Creek; 1600 feet gain to Pine Flat; over 4000 feet elevation gain to Bald Mountain
- Open year-round to Pine Flat; trip to Bald Mountain from late May to late November
Nice day-hike to either York Creek or Pine Flat in rugged wilderness. Backpacking adventure to Bald Mountain for anyone wanting to explore some of the most rugged country in Oregon.
- 4 mile loop to Kerby Flat and Star Flat
- Elevation gain of less than 1000 feet=Open year-round
Sandy beaches, swimming ponds, great hiking trails and an awesome suspended footbridge.
- 1 mile loop to Limpy Creek and back; 3.5 mile loop to Waters Creek
- Very minimal elevation gain
- Open year-round
Family-friendly nature trails near Grants Pass. Plenty of wildflowers and shaded valleys for an easy hike.
- Easy to Rainie Falls; moderate to Whiskey Creek; difficult from Grave Creek to Marial
- 4 mile round-trip to Rainie Falls; 7 mile round-trip to Whiskey Creek; 23 miles one-way to Marial
- Elevation gain of up to 2800 feet depending how far you travel
- Open year-round
From a lazy Rogue River to a churning blender of white foam, this trail sees it all. Along the way you'll pass Whiskey Creek Cabin, now a rustic museum restored from an old miner's camp.
- Easy from Marial to Paradise Lodge; difficult the rest of the way to Illahe
- 3 miles to Paradise Lodge; 15 miles one-way to Illahe
- 200 to 800 feet elevation gain throughout hike
- Open April through November
Very breathtaking scenery encompasses this entire trail. This is the section of the Rogue River that is renown for the wildest rapids and narrowest canyons in Southern Oregon. The trail in some places takes you into tall forests and then back to riverside cliffs. Wildlife is abundant in this part of the canyon, including deer, eagles and black bears.
- 4 mile round-trip
- 1200 feet elevation gain
- Open mid-April through November
Perched 3600 feet above the Rogue River, this cliff-hanging boulder allows breathtaking views of the forested valley far below.
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