Hike Upper Table Rock

Lower Table Rock and Upper Table Rock are two volcanic plateaus located near Medford, and together they are the most popular hiking spots in the Rogue River Valley.

These mesas used to be a sanctuary for the Takelma Indians, and today they are home to more than 340 species of plants—including over 200 species of wildflowers. Both of these rock formations were formed over 8 million years ago by a lava flow that poured into the Rogue River Valley. Time has worn down the softer stone capping the mesas, leaving hard andesite features that stand about 800 feet above the valley floor.

Both Lower Rock and Upper Rock are open to hikers, although Lower Rock is dedicated as a nature preserve under the protection of The Nature Conservancy. Each mesa has its own trail, and Upper Rock is definitely the easier of the two, clocking only 2.8-mile trip, with a 720 feet in elevation gain.

The path switches back and forth across a scrub oak grassland, under madrones and through patches of ceanothus and manzanita. Depending on when you make the hike, look for pink clarkias, fawn lilies, blue camas, California blue-eyed grass, orange paintbrush or purple ookow. Something colorful is sure to be blooming if you visit anytime between early spring and later summer.

In the last mile of the hike the elevation gain increases and then suddenly opens at the top of the mesa. From up here you emerge onto the amazingly flat top. The dramatic views across the valley below are stunning, but just as incredible is exploring the land on top of Upper Table Rock. It feels like walking around a giant rooftop covered in plants. There’s a viewpoint to the west another 200 yards down the trail.

Directions to the trailhead: From Interstate 5 take Central Point exit 33 (just north of Medford). You’ll drive for a mile along Biddle Road, then turn left on Table Rock Road. Take a right on Modoc Road and drive for 1.5 miles to a parking lot. The trailhead is on the left.

No camping is allowed on the mesas. Please abide by trail rules, as this is an ecologically sensitive area. For more background on the Table Rocks area, check out: https://www.shareoregon.com/en/listings/124902-table-rocks

Region(s):
Central Oregon
Eastern Oregon
Greater Portland
The Gorge + Mt. Hood
Oregon Coast
Southern Oregon
Willamette Valley

Public discussion (1)

Rick reynolds 96dpi

Rick

2 months ago

Love the photos and can't wait to take this hike in Southern Oregon!

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