Southern Oregon Attractions
Southwest Oregon is a traveler's dream filled with a wide variety of nature, arts and culture. You could spend many weeks exploring the area. Here are some ideas to consider:
Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Perhaps the most famous attraction in the area is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The festival has a history dating back to 1893 and the first official Oregon Shakespeare Festival was held in Ashland in 1935. Between Februray and October, eleven performances are presented on three different stages and about half of the plays produced each year are those of William Shakespeare. People come from around the world to enjoy these plays as well as the area's art, fine dining and variety of accommodations. To learn more, visit www.osfashland.org. (The town of Ashland is 20 minutes south of the Medford Airport and about one hour from our meeting point for Rogue River trips.)
Local Accommodations: The splendid Winchester Inn features 19 rooms and a nationally- acclaimed restaurant. There are four Victorian-style buildings replete with award-winning gardens.
The Ashland Springs Hotel is another good option and is just down the street. On the National Register of Historic Places, it is a nicely restored landmark hotel with 79 rooms.
Southern Oregon Wine Country: The climate here is similar to the Bordeaux area of France and thus, one of the warmest growing regions in Oregon. There are over 60 wineries in five AVA's (American Viticultural Area) and most are open for tastings and visits. If you don't have time to visit them all, focus on the Applegate Valley Wine Trail where it is clearly evident that there is more to Oregon wine than just Pinot Noir.
Jacksonville and the Britt Music Festival: Just about 30 minutes from Ashland is the historic 1850's gold rush town of Jacksonville which is sure to win your heart. It's the first town in America to be honored and named as a National Historic Landmark. It is also home to the Britt Music Festival which has dozens of summer concerts featuring superb artists performing blues, folk, classical, jazz, world, and other great music. The performances are outside in a naturally formed amphitheater within the beautiful hillside estate of 19th century photographer Peter Britt.
A favorite of celebrities and regular folk is the Jacksonville Inn, one of gold-rush Jacksonville's early permanent structures. A stunning brick building on main street, it is filled with the nostalgic romances. There are rooms in the original building, built in 1861, as well as several luxury cottages. The Inn is renowned for its gourmet restaurant with a bountiful wine list.
Crater Lake National Park: Few places on earth are as stunning as Crater Lake with its magical confluence of water and mountains. There are good trails, a historic lodge and boat tours on the lake. Don't plan on visiting until after July 4th if you want to hike very much due to the area's heavy snowfall. Crater lake is near the headwaters of the Rogue River and was created some 7700 years ago when volcanic Mount Mazama collapsed after a massive eruption. The Park is located just under two hours from the Medford airport and two and a half hours from our Rogue River meeting point.
The Oregon Coast: Called "The People's Coast" Oregon has made its entire 363 miles of its coastline public land! Welcome to America! There are rugged cliffs, thick forests, historic lighthouses, fabulous coastal scenery, towering sand dunes and long, empty sandy beaches all easily accessible from the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, US Highway 101. Choose from cycling, hiking, fishing, beachcombing, whale and bird watching and much more.
Oregon Caves National Monument: This little-known National Monument offers a wide range of activities including an excellent tour through an active marble cave created by natural forces over the last few million years. Ranger-led hikes teach you about the area's geology, cave ecosystems and natural history. There's more to explore on the surface too including old-growth forests and more.
Redwoods National and State Parks: Once covering over two million acres, sadly today only 4% of the world's old-growth redwoods remain. Of that 4%, 45% of all remaining protected old-growth forests in California are contained in these Parks. Come see trees that grow to over 35 stories tall and that are over 2000 years old. There is incredible diversity of life at Redwood National and State Parks and the ancient coastal redwood ecosystem that is protected here contains some of the planet's most precious forests. There are also open prairie lands, rivers, creeks, hiking trails and some 37 miles of pristine California coastline.
By now you understand that a person could explore southern Oregon for months. Depending on your available time and interests you can easily create a wonderful itinerary. We are also able to create fully-guided custom trips for groups of six or more that combine the best of the area coupled with our excellent lodge-based Rogue River rafting trips. Please contact us for further information.