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Is May a good time for hiking in Southern Oregon?

Thanks for your question! In Southern Oregon, May is an excellent month for hiking, as it’s not too hot yet, but most trails have dried out from spring rain showers. One of my favorites is the Rogue River Trail. This epic trail is 40 miles, following the Wild and Scenic section of the river, but can be an out-and-back of much less, of course. If it’s already warm, opt for the opposite bank of the river, where the Rainie Falls Trail offers more shade. This 3.5-mile hike is perfect for an afternoon activity.

For more shade, consider hiking a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, where it runs just south of Ashland. From Mt. Ashland’s parking lot (at the ski resort), it’s easy to access the trail, and take it about three miles to the Grouse Gap shelter. You’ll enjoy great views of Mt. Shasta, too!

We also like hiking in the direction of Crater Lake, by Prospect. The Upper Rogue Trail is a good bet on Highway 62, or you can go bouldering at Mill Creek and Avenue of the Boulders. In the late spring, the falls are really rushing! If you go all the way to Crater Lake, head toward Roseburg near the north entrance, and enjoy the ‘waterfalls highway’…there are many stops with short hikes to scenic waterfalls.

If you want to go to the west side of Southern Oregon, you can hike amid the redwoods along the Chetco River near Brookings.

Can you snowshoe at Crater Lake in March?

Glad you asked your question! Crater Lake is gorgeous in winter, and yes, March is still definitely winter there! Right now, you can still snowshoe, and I do recommend it; this is a great way to see the park in winter.

If you’re coming from the Klamath Falls area, I suggest you check out this Travel Oregon story (full disclosure, written by yours truly), which outlines itinerary ideas.

It’s written specifically for family adventures, but can be applied with or without kids in tow. For a guide, I recommend Roe Outfitters (in Klamath Falls) if you want a tailor-made day in Crater Lake National Park just for you. We have spent time with Roe and they’re fantastic.

You can also sign up for snowshoe tours directly at Crater Lake, provided you visit on a weekend. Go here to find out more. This is a great budget way to explore the park and be guided by a ranger.

If you’re snowshoeing on your own, and want a GPS tracker, I recommend the InReach or SPOT. You can see a comparison of the two here.

Always check for park closures and road closures before heading to Crater Lake in winter. I see that right now, the south entrance (which is usually open in winter) is temporarily closed due to heavy snow. Check here for updates.

Can you name the best restaurants in Ashland and Medford?

Thanks for your question! Of course, ‘best’ is a subjective term, but I’m happy to give you my personal recommendations for Ashland and Medford restaurants, as a local. There are many we love!

In Ashland, I highly recommend checking out Brickroom for an upscale pub-like atmosphere; their cocktails and appetizers are their strongest suit, so they’re a good happy hour location as well. For a fine dining experience, Amuse gets my vote (it’s down in the Railroad District), and if you want the largest wine selection, Liquid Assets is a cozy wine bar right by the park.

You also can’t go wrong at Lark’s, located in the Ashland Springs Hotel. They’re another excellent cocktail location. For casual fare, check out Flip, a simple but delicious burger and fry place by the park…they’re owned by the same family as Amuse. Martolli’s is another solid causal dining option.

In Medford, our favorite pub and pasta place is Porters, located in an old railroad depot. They have a great happy hour menu with sliders, salads, and the like, and excellent cocktails. Lark’s also has a Medford location now, located in the Inn at the Commons. There are several fun breweries in Medford, including Walkabout and Bricktowne. Here’s a pretty comprehensive list. I also recommend Jasper’s burgers on Highway 99 between Medford and Central Point.

Hope this list gets you started!

Answered by Amy Whitley, Ask Oregon Southern Oregon Expert on January 25th, 2017 - Post Your Answer

What Ashland activities do you recommend?

Ashland is our hometown, and we love it! I’m sure you’ll enjoy a visit. Without knowing your interests, I can tell you that we believe the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to be a must-do; this season of high quality plays and performances run nearly year-round and peak in the spring through summer. I recommend seeing at least one play.

Of course, Ashland is also known as a shopping and food scene, so take time to stroll around downtown (all very walkable) and check out the shops and dining venues. I’d be happy to give you specific dining recommendations, but in general, I always recommend Pie + Vine, Caldera Brewing, and Amuse. Lithia Park is located downtown, and is lovely to visit during any time of year. In the winter, an ice skating rink is a centerpiece, and in fall, the changing colors are magnificent. There are hiking trails and single track mountain biking trails connecting the park to a large network of outdoor recreation in the hills above town.What Ashland activities do you recommend?

If you’re wine lovers, the Rogue Valley has several excellent wine trails: I recommend the Applegate Wine Trail and the Upper Rogue Wine Trail. There’s also outdoor recreation just a short drive from town at Hyatt Lake, Howard Prairie Lake, or Lake of the Woods. We also have river rafting on the Rogue. In Ashland, you can book a day trip from Noah’s Rafting, right downtown. I also recommend hiking near Mt. Ashland, where the Pacific Crest Trail can take you right down to Callahan’s Lodge, a wonderful place to stay a few nights. Otherwise, for lodging, I recommend the Ashland Hills Hotel.

Answered by Amy Whitley, Ask Oregon Southern Oregon Expert on December 29th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Are there hikes near Rogue River (the city) that reach an elevation of 1,500 feet?

I love your question! Like you, I must have elevation hiking, and I live near Rogue River. My Adam Sawyer has written a book on waterfall hikes in Southern Oregon; he also wrote a Travel Oregon story about specific waterfall hikes along the Umpqua and Rogue River.

You can also go the other direction from Rogue River, and hike at elevation around Mt. Ashland and Pilot Rock. My favorite hike is along the Pacific Crest Trail, which can be accessed at the Siskiyou Pass just off I-5. At Callahan’s Lodge, go right toward Mt. Ashland and you’ll see the PCT signage. The PCT goes north toward Hyatt Lake (lower elevation), but south to the top of Mt. Ashland and over toward the CA border. It’s a beautiful hike, and along the way, you’ll see a ready made shelter for you just past the Mt. Ashland campground.

You can also hike Pilot Rock (also a side trail of the PCT), which you can access within about 30 minutes from Rogue River. Get directions here. While you will need to be free of a fear of heights to hike Pilot Rock, even those not wanting to accent to the top can enjoy the views at the base. I also like Grizzly Peak, which is nearby of Highway 66. Get directions here.

Answered by Amy Whitley, Ask Oregon Southern Oregon Expert on December 13th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Is November a good time to visit Ashland?

If you visit in early November, check out the Ashland Culinary Festival. And to make a weekend out of it, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival often has discounted tickets on plays during late fall.

November in Southern Oregon tends to be chilly and rainy, but the snow hasn’t usually flown at that point. This means that during a November visit, our winter recreation won’t yet be in full swing (think skiing, snowshoeing, and the like), but in most weather, you can still hike during November, if outdoor excursions are your thing.

If you’re looking for indoor entertainment, I would suggest a wine tour in November, since our summers are quite hot (making an afternoon of wine tasting somewhat difficult at times). Try the Applegate Trail or Upper Rogue Trail to see some pretty fall colors at the same time.

Answered by Amy Whitley, Ask Oregon Southern Oregon Expert on October 14th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Can we stay close to Crater Lake in an RV in October?

I think October is an ideal month to visit Crater Lake! The two campgrounds within the national park are only open during the summer, but there are several wonderful campgrounds located on Highway 62 between Prospect and the park, plus Diamond Lake, located just northwest.

I suggest Natural Bridge Campground or one of the others nearby along the Rogue River.

No matter where you stay, make sure to look at the operating hours and road closures before your trip, just in case something has changed. You can find that information here, on the National Park website. If you decide not to camp, you can always park your RV at the rim and stay a night in the historic Crater Lake Lodge. We love it, and you might be able to get a reservation now that summer is behind us! Here’s more info.

Answered by Amy Whitley, Ask Oregon Southern Oregon Expert on September 26th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Is there RV camping at Crater Lake?

Yes, you can RV camp below the rim at Crater Lake at Mazama Village Campground, the only RV camping in Crater Lake National Park. You can make reservations in advance online or by phone, but only for a limited number of RV sites. However, there are a number of first come, first served sites as well.

Answered by Amy Whitley, Ask Oregon Southern Oregon Expert on August 31st, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Where can we see redwood trees in Oregon?

In Southern Oregon you can find wonderful redwood groves by driving out the Redwood Highway (Highway 199) from Grants Pass to the Oregon Coast. Along the way you can access short hiking trails into the redwoods at several locations, as well as find redwoods along the Oregon Coast once you reach that point. From Crescent City, you’ll want to drive north a few miles back into Oregon. My favorite spot is the Redwood Nature Trail in Brookings. This trail is actually a trail network of multiple loops that wind upslope of the Chetco River. You see multiple redwoods and other pines, as well as a clear, cold creek. Be sure to pay attention to which turns you take in order to find your way back to the start, as it’s not as well marked as we would like.

Directions: from Highway 101, turn east at Constitution Way to North Bank Chetco Road. Go 7.5 miles to Alfred Loeb State Park. The trailhead is half a mile past the entrance.

Should we visit Crater Lake or the Painted Hills?

I’ve fielded quite a few difficult questions, but this might take the cake. My initial response is, “why not both?”

If you have time for both, obviously it’s a no-brainer.

If not, there is no ultramarine blue that comes close to Crater Lake. I wish I was kidding when I say this but the first time I saw Crater Lake in person, I cried. Seriously. It is so beautiful. And it’s history is so interesting. Can you imagine: a mountain, taller than Mt. Hood, standing in it’s place? Can you imagine it erupting, spewing lava and ash and smoke and debris and then just sitting empty for hundreds of years? Yeah. Me neither.

But also, can you imagine a giant hole in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by rich soil and a resilient ecosystem slowly coming back to life, one saved raindrop at a time? You probably can’t. At least I couldn’t anyway, until I saw it for myself.

I vote Crater Lake. The water is cold, crisp and refreshing if you’re up for cliff jumping. The views are jaw-dropping if you’re into sunset or killer views, or both. The hiking is rewarding if you’re up for old fire lookout vista picnics. The food is decent, I’d bring a few snacks. But Crater Lake wine is something you won’t want to leave without trying.

Novice tip for you: fill up your gas tank before you get to the park. There are no stations and people run out ALL THE TIME. Don’t be one of them.

Answered by Kristen Mohror on July 11th, 2016 - Post Your Answer
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