Visiting each of the farms along the Southern Oregon Lavender Trail will take you through the Applegate Valley, surrounded by the outstanding natural beauty of the Siskiyou Mountains. Each of these lavender farms will be open for visitors between July and August when the lavender is in full bloom. The Southern Oregon Lavender Festival takes place June 22-24 and July 13-15, 2018, at the peak of the lavender harvest, and I would recommend you try to visit during the festival as many offer craft workshops and demonstrations during the festival which are well worth booking ahead for.
Allow yourself at least one whole day to visit all of the farms on the trail or perhaps spread it out over two days; a weekend trip would allow you to sample more of what the Applegate Valley has to offer. Last year I took a quiet drive through the foothills of the Siskiyous during the festival weekend, stopping at each farm on the route to admire the natural beauty of fields of vibrant purple. I learned to make lavender wands, a lavender wreath, how to distill my own hand-picked blooms to make lavender essential oil and I ate my fill of lavender shortbread and lavender lemonade!
If you are traveling from further afield, then you may wish to consider an overnight stay in the National Historic Landmark town of Jacksonville, the perfect pace for a weekend getaway. Begin your scenic drive along Highway 238 and don’t forget your camera!
First stop is the OSU Lavender Garden (569 Hanley Road, Central Point), east of Jacksonville, home to 16 species and subspecies of lavender. Take a self-guided tour and watch the gardeners at work.
As you drive west along Highway 238, look for paragliders over Woodrat Mountain to your left. After almost 8 miles (12 minutes or so) you will reach the town of Ruch. Pass the Country Store on your right, and then turn left onto Upper Applegate Road and after exactly 1.7 miles turn right onto Hamilton Road. You will arrive at the first lavender farm, which is on your left about a half-mile down. There you will be greeted by Bonnie and John Rinaldi at Lavender Fields Forever (375 Hamilton Road, Jacksonville).
Keeping west along Highway 238, you will soon reach the town of Applegate with the Applegate Store and Post Office on the left and the Applegate River Lodge on your right. Cross the green Pioneer Bridge and immediately turn left onto Thompson Creek Road. A leisurely drive for about 10 minutes (7.8 miles) will bring you to The English Lavender Farm (8040 Thompson Creek Road, Applegate), where my husband and I grow an entire hillside of English lavender. Watch for deer and wild turkeys along the way!
Continuing along Williams Highway, you’ll soon reach Goodwin Creek Gardens (970 Cedar Flat Road, Williams), which has been run by Jim and Dottie Becker since 1977.