Southern Oregon is a special place. Tucked away in the lower portion of the state, you’ll find a gold mine of geological and natural treasures. There are caves that hold millions of years of handiwork design, beautiful waves of lavender fields, crystal clear lakes and the Southern Oregon Outback where wild horses love to roam.
Generally, Southern Oregon includes four main counties: Jackson, Josephine, Douglas and Klamath. However, sometimes, it also includes three additional counties of Coos, Curry and Lake. The overall population is roughly around 550,000 with the largest city being Medford.
Now that you know the basic geography of the region, let’s take a look at the places you must check out!
While you’re visiting the geologically diverse region of Southern Oregon, be sure to check out Fort Rock! Located in Lake County, this incredible sight sits in the middle of the high desert. Fort Rock is a National Natural Landmark that sits high and barren above the desert sands. The gigantic rock walls appear similarly to that of a fort! Towering over the dry, arid land, you can’t miss it. If anything, it reminds you of the Old Wild West that’s often depicted in the movies.
Many people love to hike around the entirety of Fort Rock. However, they are often fooled by the delusion of its size. It is quite larger than it appears in person and takes quite some time to hike completely around it.
Keep your eyes open and you may see a fleeting band of galloping wild horses! It’s a very enriching experience.
Umpqua Valley Winegrowers
Located in Douglas County, this area of Southern Oregon is rather sweet. Umpqua Valley is known for its many vineyards and wine growers. Here, you will find plenty of vineyards to visit and plenty of wine to taste. The views are impeccable with endless lines of green vines. Be sure to have your camera ready as the Umpqua Valley is a picture-perfect place!
In the northern part of the valley, there are several wineries and vineyards to visit. In Elkton, you can check out these places: Bradley Vineyards, Lexeme, River’s Edge Winery and Brandborg Winery.
In the central part of the valley, you can visit these vineyards and wineries: Cooper Ridge Vineyards, Joseph Jane Winery, Foon Estate Vineyard and Ferraro Family Vineyards.
And in the southern part of the valley, you can visit these vineyards and wineries: Chateau Nonchalant, Hillcrest Winery and Distillery, Girardet Vineyards and Wineries and Spangler Vineyards.
The history of the wine producing country goes way back to the 1800’s when German settlers moved into the region and planted the first vineyard. The vineyards have expanded ever since and have been family owned throughout the generations. The Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association has wine tour maps available for visitors along with an intricate history and promotions of the region. Visitors get to relish in the sweet tasting wine, the rich history of the area and the breathtaking beauty of the region.
Zip Lining in Rogue Valley
Southern Oregon is dotted with high hills, beautiful countryside, plant life and wildlife. Why not take the adventure of a lifetime on a 5 course zip line? Rogue Valley Zip Line Adventure offers you the tour that you’ll never forget. Soaring like a free bird above the trees, you can view the gold mining hills, the Crater Lake Rim and the Table Rocks.
No worries; the tour guides are certified in zip lining and ensure the absolute safety of each participant. Zip lines are thrilling, fast and fun and provide you with the experience of viewing the tremendous beauty of the Southern Oregon country from the tree tops. Visit Rogue Valley and find out for yourself!
Fish in the Oregon Outback
If you are a fisherman, then you will enjoy fishing in the Oregon Outback. There are plenty of beautiful waters to explore and fish in the region including: Upper Klamath Lake, Fish Lake, Fourmile, Wood River, Pelican Bay, Williamson River, Agency Lake and Lake of the Woods.
The Upper Klamath Lake is known for its plentiful source of rainbow trout. Redband trout, in particular, are a popular type of trout that often weigh in at a whopping 8 pounds! In the summer months, the yellow perch like to hang out in these waters as well. The yellow perch are often rather feisty and rambunctious which makes it fun and exciting to fish! There are several cabins and resorts that reside along all of the different waters in the Oregon Outback. They provide clues as to what fish you can catch, where you can catch them and when. Some provide rental boats for the day while others allow you to fish as you please along the banks or in the shallow waters. It’s a great experience for the whole family and fishermen!
Wildlife Safari Park
Southern Oregon takes great pride in its Wildlife Safari Park located in the small town of Winston. It’s been a huge attraction for years! In fact, the park is one of Oregon’s most popular visiting attractions. The park has 600 acres with over 550 animals from North America, Asia and Africa that roam it freely. Wildlife Safari Park is passionate about their research on the conservation and education with wildlife. They protect endangered species and are always on the search for rare and endangered species. The coolest aspect to visiting the park is the ability to drive through the entire 600 acres and view the animals on your own pace. You’ll see zebras, elk, deer and more!
Cycle on Ashland Bikeway
You can’t visit Southern Oregon without cycling your way through some of the region! The people of Oregon love to venture out on their bicycles and so should you. The Ashland Bikeway is a 55 mile path that takes you through a beautiful, breathtaking route. The route will take you through the scenic oak and fir forests and many steep inclines and fast declines. Officially named the Cascade Siskiyou Scenic Bikeway, it starts and ends in the city of Ashland.
Wizard Island in Crater Lake National Park
When you hear the name, “Wizard Island”, it sounds mysterious and magical. What if we told you that it looks just as magical as it sounds? Sitting in the pristine, blue waters of Crater Lake, it’s one of the most popular sites to see while visiting Crater Lake National Park. It’s a real island that rises about 800 feet above the water’s surface. It’s absolutely stunning to see in person. You can check out the island by boat and enjoy exploring this mystical place. There are places to swim along the water’s edge or you can hike to the top. The Fumarole Trail is about a one mile hike to the top and back. On this trail, you can see the lava formations from years and years ago. It’s a sight worth seeing!
Wizard Island is only available to visit in the summer, so be sure to reserve your trip ahead of time. The seats on the boat shuttles fill up quickly, so don’t waste any time!
Have Dinner in Taprock
After exploring the stunning views of Southern Oregon, you’ll want to have dinner in a unique place! In Grant’s Pass, there’s the famous Taprock. Here sits a beautiful, super expensive restaurant that overlooks the Rogue River from up high. Food wise, it has something for everyone! You can order burgers, sandwiches, salads, seafood and more. However, the views of the river are impeccable. You have the choice to dine inside or outside on the deck. After a long day of exploring and adventuring, have a good meal at Taprock. You won’t regret it!
Now That You Know Everything About Southern Oregon!
Now that you know everything about Southern Oregon, you’ll want to go ahead and plan out your visit to this amazing region in the Pacific Northwest! From the incredible Oregon Outback to the pristine blue waters of the lakes and rivers to the stunning and exciting views of the zip lining adventures, you won’t want to miss out on experiencing the raw and real countryside to Southern Oregon. Plan out your trip today!
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