Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Overview
Located in southwestern Oregon and extending into California, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest ranges from the crest of the Cascades Mountains, west into the Siskiyou Mountains, and nearly to the Pacific Ocean. The Forest covers almost 1.8 million acres. Portions of the Applegate and Illinois River drainage extend into northern California. The Rogue River drains over 75 percent of the Forest’s land area. The best hikes in Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest are described below!
The previously separate Rogue River and Siskiyou National Forests and their nine ranger district offices were administratively combined in 2004. In 2007, the nine ranger districts were consolidated to form five: High Cascades, Siskiyou Mountains, Wild Rivers, Gold Beach, and Powers. The Forest also is home of the J. Herbert Stone Nursery, located near Central Point. The Supervisor’s Office is located in Medford, Oregon.
Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest embraces a treasure of botanical diversity, and is home to incredible wild and scenic rivers, isolated wilderness, outstanding fisheries and wildlife resources, and breathtaking landscapes of mountains, meadows, streams, and lakes.
|Nearest Metro Area||Medford, OR|
|Area Size||1,723,179 acres|
|Established||March 4, 1907|
|Hiking Trails||500+ miles|
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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
(*** = best hikes in Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest)
Blue Canyon Trail #982 – 11.2 miles out and back
Popular hike in the Sky Lakes Wilderness to Blue Lake and then on to Island Lake before ending at the Red Lake Trail just north of the PCT. The hike can be made into a longer 13+ mile loop as well. A historical sighting along the way is the Judge Waldo tree, inscribed in the late 1800s by Judge J.B. Waldo who was an early conservationist of the Cascade Range.
Grizzly Peak Trail – 4.9 mile loop
Managed by Bureau of Land Management but near Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Perfect family-friendly hike through wildflower meadows with beautiful views. One of the best hikes in Oregon’s Rogue River Valley.
Lower Table Rock Trail*** – 3.8 miles out and back
Managed by Bureau of Land Management but near Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The Table Rocks (Upper and Lower – named for their relationship to the Rogue River) are two of the most prominent topographic features in the Rogue Valley. Lava flows once covered the entire valley. Over geologic time, the meandering Rogue River eroded away all of these flows except for the Table Rocks, which now rise 800 feet above the current level of the river. Beautiful views of the valley from all sides and very family friendly!
Ponderosa Trail to Roxy Ann Peak – 1.9 miles out and back
Not managed by Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. This hike begins near a picnic area on the west side and reaches Roxy Ann Peak after a couple of long switchbacks. There are great views from the top of the city of Medford and of the Rogue Valley.
Rogue River Trail #1160*** – 42.0 miles one-way
The Rogue River National Recreation Trail, stretching 40 miles between Grave Creek and Big Bend, offers some of southwestern Oregon’s most amazing landscapes and rewarding hiking experiences. The trail traverses the wild section of the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River along its entire length. There are many picturesque vistas, including churning whitewater flowing through rock gorges with nearly vertical walls, towering cliffs and majestic stands of large Douglas-fir and incense cedar.
Seven Lakes Loop #981*** – 14.0 mile loop
Very challenging but very rewarding hike in the Sky Lakes Wilderness of Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. After accessing some beautiful Oregon lakes, the trail climbs along the Pacific Crest Trail to a saddle below Devil’s Peak and then follows a clear trail to the extensive views from the old lookout site atop the peak. After that, the hike continues around the head of the Seven Lakes Basin, with astounding views of the Crater Lake Rim to the north, before going all downhill back to the trailhead.
Secret Beach Trail*** – 1.3 miles out and back
Another hike located just outside of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest but well worth a visit if you are in the area. This is an easy and quick hike to a secluded beach on the Oregon coast that will take your breath away. This is a family-friendly hike and features a couple small waterfalls, natural arches, and hidden caves!
Upper Table Rock Trail – 3.2 miles out and back
Managed by Bureau of Land Management but near Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The Table Rocks (Upper and Lower – named for their relationship to the Rogue River) are two of the most prominent topographic features in the Rogue Valley. Lava flows once covered the entire valley. Over geologic time, the meandering Rogue River eroded away all of these flows except for the Table Rocks, which now rise 800 feet above the current level of the river. The flat summit of Upper is a unique and delicate mounded prairie habitat, where rainwater and snowmelt collect seasonally to create vernal pools.
Wagner Butte Trail #1011 – 10.4 miles out and back
This is a nice hike close to the Rogue Valley that offers panoramic views of the Rogue and Little Applegate Valleys and surrounding mountain peaks. The mountain is named after an early settler, Jacob Wagner, who lived in the Talent area and operated the flour mill near the Ashland plaza.
Featured Image: Mt McLoughlin and Fourmile Lake, Photo by Forest Service, USDA
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