One Year in the Rogue Valley
Our recommendations of fascinating places to see in southern Oregon
The choice to make the Rogue Valley of southern Oregon our first major RV stop turned out to be a wonderful decision. The summer months had perfect weather and the scenery was breathtaking.
Charlie fishing in the Rogue River. "I thoroughly enjoyed wading in the Rogue, but would love to actually catch a trout, one of these days."
In February of 2005 my wife and I arrived in Ashland, the eastern-most city of the valley. Our plan was to stay in the Rogue Valley six to nine months, then move on before next winter. Even well made plans change over time, and ours was extended to a full year due to the birth of our first child.
One of the many reasons we enjoy traveling by RV is the ability to stay in one place for an extended period and get to know the area better than a typical tourist hitting only the highlights. Having spent a full year in the Rogue Valley permitted us to see many sights and make new friends. In this article, I would like to share with you the more memorable sights we have visited in and near the valley.
About the Rogue Valley
Taking its name from the Rogue River, the valley lies in the southwest corner of Oregon, running in a diagonal direction between Ashland and Grants Pass. Between the two cities lie several others, the largest being Medford in the center of the valley. If one were to drive from Ashland heading north on Interstate 5, the following cities would be crossed: Talent, Phoenix, Medford, Central Point, Gold Hill, Rock Point, the city of Rogue River, and Grants Pass.
Weather was an important consideration for choosing this destination. Unlike further up the coast, the Rogue Valley receives much less rain, especially in the summer. In the winter the valley does receive a good amount of rain, and 2005 was no exception. Most days it rained at least a small amount well into March. As summer approached, the sunny days increased in frequency. Between mid-April and mid-October, the summer was absolutely beautiful with warm, dry days; perhaps a couple of rainy days all summer long.
In July the days got hot, some as high as 105°. The difference between a 105° day in the valley and a similarly hot day in Dallas, Texas, was obvious—in the valley one could stand in the shade and feel comfortable, whereas in Dallas the shade seems to make little difference. After sunset in the Rogue Valley, the temperature dropped quickly, usually dipping down to the low 70's during the night.
The cool, clear waters of the Rogue River start on Mt. Mazama near Crater Lake. The river offers excellent fishing and water activities throughout the valley.
According to the locals, the winter of 2005/2006 was an unusually wet one, even for southern Oregon. This was great news for the ski slopes, but soggy for the rest of us. Apparently once every 10-15 years the winter is so wet that rain falls continuously for days.
Mid-October brought rain with increasing frequency. Precipitation throughout winter was nearly a daily event, up until we left in early February of 2006. Most days had light drizzle for several hours, with breaks long enough to walk the dog without getting soaked. There were also an abundant number of days when the rain fell without ceasing. The worst stretches were two different weeks during which we cannot recall a span of time without precipitation. On such days we had no choice but to don our rain gear and get soaked while walking the dog. Indeed, the rainy winter wore on us. After three and a half months of wet, we were ready for a dryer climate.