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Where can I find large, family-friendly lake cabins in Southern Oregon?

I actually just answered a similar question, so you’re not alone in your love of lakes! For a family that size, I would suggest renting cabins at either Lake of the Woods or Fish Lake, both located on Highway 140 between Medford and Klamath Falls. Both have rustic cabins situated around the lake, and both have nice swimming, fishing, and kayaking onsite. You can also find hiking trails in the nearby Sky Lakes Wilderness. Book early, as these resorts do fill up fast for summer!

If you want something a bit more comfy, I’d recommend The Running Y Ranch in Klamath, though the lake it’s on (Klamath Lake) does not offer any swimming. Have fun!

Answered by Amy Whitley, Ask Oregon Southern Oregon Expert on September 15th, 2015 - Post Your Answer

I have a week to spend in Southern Oregon in early June. Any suggestions?

You’ll be in Southern Oregon during one of our prettiest months! Without knowing what type of activities you enjoy, or who will be in your party, I’d recommend a combination of art, dining and outdoor pursuits in the area. A good home base is Ashland, where you can take in a Shakespearean play with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, dine at one of our many farm-to-table restaurants, and take a stroll along Creek street on a weekend to see the work of local artisans. I recommend eating at Sesame, Brickroom and Liquid Assets during your stay.

From Ashland, you can take a day trip to float the Rogue River with Noah’s Rafting, or set out on your own to raft the section of the Upper Rogue from Shady Cove (we like working with Rapid Pleasure, because they’ll give you a shuttle service to the put-in point along with your raft rental). If you’d rather hike, try Pilot Rock if you’re not afraid of heights, or the trails at Mt. Ashland Ski Area. You can also take a day trip to Crater Lake National Park…a must see.

In nearby Medford, the weekly farmer’s market is lovely in the Lithia Commons, and Rogue Creamery always has fresh, award-winning cheese in Central Point. In historic Jacksonville, try the Applegate Wine Trail, or take a day to swim at Applegate Lake. A walk along the downtown area of this tiny town is worth the effort, too!

Further north, the Umpqua area near Roseburg offers waterfalls, river swimming, and hiking along the North and South Umpqua, though the water will still be running a bit fast for most swimmers. From Grants Pass to the coast on the Redwoods Highway, you can stop at Oregon Caves National Historic Site and be on the coast at Brookings within a few hours.

What is the best way to experience the beautiful surroundings of Crater Lake in May?

Glad you’re making the trip up! Crater Lake is absolutely worth the visit in the off-season. Some winters, it’s still covered in snow in March and April, but this year, it’s very manageable. The closest true town to Crater Lake is Prospect, Oregon, which has lodging options. We love the Prospect Historic Hotel for an B&B option, or nearby in Union Creek, the Union Creek Resort offers rustic cabins in a wooded setting. Either way, be sure to stop by Beckie’s Cafe for homemade berry pie!

There are also options to stay at Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake Lodge is the quintessential lodge experience, and in the off-season, you may even get a reservation (it fills up fast in summer). Nearby, the cabins at Mazama offer additional lodging, but bear in mind that this area of the park does not have lake views, and may not be open.

Otherwise, another good option for you is staying in Ashland and commuting up to the park for the day (about a two-hour drive, with nice stops for hikes around Union Creek). Ashland has wonderful dining and shopping, and a fun, vibrant arts scene. I’d be happy to recommend lodging here if you’d be interested.

Where is a beautiful place to pop the question?

This is an unusual request, but I’ll do my best! Will you be in the outdoors a lot? Because the most off-the-beaten path locations will probably be outside. On that line of thought, my first idea is Mt. Ashland. Any time of year, the Mt. Ashland access road is accessible, and in spring and summer, it’s possible to hike and picnic up there (or ski in winter). The historic lodge will not be open in the off-season, but if you drive to the end of the parking lot and drive or walk up the dirt road, you can get to a nice trail that leads to the summit (you hike up the back). It’s a beautiful spot for a proposal, and only about a mile hike.

Otherwise, another nice spot is Lithia Park in Ashland. It does get crowded, depending on the weather and day, but if you go to the top of the park (park above the playground and walk up the trail), the upper duck pond area is rarely crowded. In the summer and fall, the stand of trees across the street from the upper duck pond is a nice area, too.

In the Applegate area, any of the wineries on the Applegate Wine Trail are scenic, and often not crowded. It would be easy to take a walk from the tasting area into the vines for a proposal. Hope this helps!

Are there yurts to rent near Crater Lake?

We love Oregon yurts! If you’ll be combining your Crater Lake tour with Oregon coast vacationing, there are a number of great state parks with yurts at your disposal (though reserve far in advance). If not, the closest yurt rentals are at LaPine State park, outside of Bend. However, this park has rustic cabins, not yurts (though you get the same amenities). On the other side of Crater Lake, the closest yurts are at Valley of the Rogue. Each are about 2 hours’ drive from Crater Lake, in different directions.

What are the top sites we shouldn’t miss in Southern Oregon?

While in Southern Oregon, I recommend spending time in the quaint town of Ashland, taking in a Shakespearean theater production or dining at one of the many farm-to-fork restaurants. If time permits, a day trip to Crater Lake National Park is a must: the route from Ashland (or anywhere in Southern Oregon) will take you past Union Creek and several lava tube sections of the Rogue River. During the warm months, I recommend a day on the Rogue River, rafting or fishing, and in winter, various snow sports are on tap at Mt. Ashland.

If you’re into breweries, Medford and Ashland have several great locations, such as Caldera and Standing Stone, or if wine’s more your thing, I recommend a day on the Applegate Wine Trail (outside historic Jacksonville). If you let me know your interests, I know I could tailor my answer to you better!

What are some good hiking trails near Grants Pass?

Some of my favorite day hikes around Grants Pass are along Southern Oregon rivers and connected to mountain bike paths. Below are my top three.

Cathedral Hills Trail System:
This trail network is a great option if you’re short on time and want a trail head very close to town. It’s open to hikers, mountain bikers, and horses, and includes multiple loops, so it’s easy to adjust your hike to fit your schedule. The Outback Loop is 3.5 miles total, and a great route for viewing Madrone and Manzanita (beware, however, that you will encounter Poison Oak, too). From Grants Pass, Cathedral Hills is four miles out Williams Highway 238 on Espry Road.

Illinois River Trail:
For a more challenging hike, the Illinois River Trailhead to Pine Flat route is 5.3 miles, and follows the scenic Illinois River. You can find great swimming holes along the way in summer, but you’ll earn your dip in the water: the trail can be dusty and hot. In late May to July, wildflowers are spectacular here. From Grants Pass, take the Redwood Highway 18 miles to Selma Oregon. Take County Road 5070 (Illinois River Road) to 4103. The last few miles to the trail head are rugged!

Rainie Falls Trail:
For a cooler, southside hike, Rainie Falls follows the Rogue River from Grave Creek Bridge to the falls. The hike is 2 miles (and 2 more back) and is a great opportunity to see migrating salmon. It’s possible to swim at the falls, or better yet, eat a picnic lunch while watching kayakers and river rafters make the plunge down! From Grants Pass, take Exit 61 of I-5. Drive through Galice to the Grave Creek Bridge.

Enjoy hiking near Grants Pass!

Where are the best hot springs in Southern Oregon?

Hands down, the best and most comprehensive hot springs option in Southern Oregon is Jackson Hot Springs in Ashland. This historic hotel and hot springs is now a wellness and eco-resort, called Jackson Wellsprings. On site, guests can enjoy an olympic sized pool, soaking pools, hot tubs, steam rooms, and private pools. The entire resort has a beautiful garden setting, and overnight lodging is available (though not required to ‘partake of the water’). Enjoy!

Where can I go gold panning in Oregon?

Greetings from Southern Oregon! Our region is one of the state’s most prevalent for gold mining. Two of the four areas set aside on the state’s federal lands for recreational gold panning are located here:

Butte Falls Recreational Area:
Located in southwestern Oregon, Medford District, Bureau of Land Management (free site).
3040 Biddle Road
Medford, OR 97504
(541) 618-2200.

Applegate Ranger District:
Located in southwestern Oregon, Rogue River National Forest (four fee sites where there is a charge of a dollar a day for panning in areas adjacent to campgrounds).
Applegate Ranger District
6941 Upper Applegate Road
Jacksonville, OR 97530
(541) 899-3800.

Additionally, in Oregon, areas below the vegetation line on navigable rivers and streams and ocean beaches belong to the state and are therefore open for recreational gold panning.

If you want more guidance, there is an outfitter in Southern Oregon that specializes in gold mining:

Oregon Gold Trips, LLC.
P.O. Box 285, Grants Pass, OR 97528, toll free: (877) 672-8877, email: golddust@oregongoldtrip.com; www.oregongoldtrip.com

Answered by Sarah Lemon on November 24th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

What towns with lodging are near Crater Lake?

Because Crater Lake is in a very remote part of the state, there are few accommodations nearby. The closest actual town to Crater Lake is Prospect, which has a historical hotel (here’s a story about it from the Mail Tribune newspaper: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050817/BIZ/308179989&cid=sitesearch).

Another 20 miles south on Highway 62 is the town of Shady Cove, which has an Edgewater Inn. Medford, which has numerous accommodations is still another 20 miles down the road. All of those towns are on “Crater Lake Highway,” making them the most convenient.

Staying in Ashland would require you to drive on Interstate 5 about 15 miles from Medford. The drive between Ashland and the national park takes about two hours.

Answered by Sarah Lemon on October 31st, 2013 - Post Your Answer
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