One Year in the Rogue Valley - Page 3
Our recommendations of fascinating places to see in southern Oregon
The largest town in the valley, Medford has a little bit of metropolitan feel. Compared to large cities like Dallas, we consider Medford a small to medium size city. Traffic can get a little slow for a short time during rush hour, but after experiencing gridlock in places like Los Angeles, Medford's traffic problems seem non-existent.
The town offers a mall, several shopping centers, a Cinemark theater, most of the major retailers, and an international airport. A noteworthy retailer is Harry & David, known for their Oregon pears. To get there, take exit 27 from I-5 and go west to the first traffic signal, then turn left onto E. Steward Avenue and left again on Center Drive—Harry & David is on the right side.
Standing atop Roxy Ann Mountain, Medford and the surrounding valley are visible for miles.
A familiar backdrop to Medford is Roxy Ann Mountain on the east side of town. Hikers can drive the dirt road about half way up the mountain and park, then walk to the 3,500 foot peak. Horses and dogs are welcome on the trails. A panoramic view of Medford and surrounding mountains await you on the summit. Mt. McLoughlin is visible on clear days to the east, about thirty miles away. To the west, the two Table Rock mountains are also visible with their distinctive flat tops.
Roxy Ann is accessible from town via Hillcrest Road. As you turn east onto Hillcrest from North Phoenix Road, on your left is Hillcrest Orchard and RoxyAnn Winery—another opportunity for wine and pear tasting. Even if you have no interest in hiking, do drive out toward Roxy Ann to view the beautiful houses along the foot of the mountain.
Lower Table Rock, with its flat top, is the most distinguishing feature near Central Point.
Another geological feature in the Medford area are the two Table Rock mountains, formed by two sections of lava flows remaining after the rest eroded away. Lower Table Rock's flat top is distinctly visible from I-5 while driving past the town of Central Point.
Hikers can take Table Rock Road from Medford or Central Point, then follow the signs to Lower Table Rock. The easy-to-moderate trail takes hikers from the parking lot up about 700 feet to the expansive mountain top. In spring, the flat, rocky terrain blooms with mostly yellow flowers, providing ample opportunities for pictures. On top, the foot trail continues from the center section of the mountain to the sheer cliffs on the south side, overlooking I-5, Central Point, and Medford.