Every weekend this spring, The Nature Conservancy and Medford District Bureau of Land Management are offering free, guided educational hikes at the Table Rocks. Hikes are led by specialists from around the region who will share their knowledge about the unique natural and cultural environments that make the Table Rocks such an integral part of our region’s heritage. Come and enjoy the magic of nature’s classroom at the top of the Rocks!

The Spring Weekend Hike series runs from April 1 to May 21, 2017. All hikes are free to the public but reservations are required as space is limited. Information about the hikes and online reservations are available at http://TableRockHikes2017.eventbrite.com. For information contact the Medford District BLM at 541.618.2200, M-F 7:30am-4:30pm.

This year’s series includes many past favorites—wildflowers, Camp White, Legacy of a Landmark—as well as several new hikes including Yoga on the Rocks, Nature Sketching & Journaling, Tell Me a Story, and What’s Eating the Trees?

Hikers will meet at the designated trailhead for a 2.5-4.5 mile round-trip hike, up 800 feet along a moderate grade trail, with some short, steep sections. Participants should dress for the weather and terrain; bring water and snacks since hikes to the top may last 3 to 5 hours. Restrooms are only available at each trail head; there is no drinking water. To help protect this special place, no dogs or vehicles are allowed on the trail.

The iconic Upper and Lower Table Rocks—formed seven million years ago by a volcanic eruption—are prominent reminders of the rich natural and cultural heritage found in the Rogue Valley. For thousands of years the Takelma Indians called Table Rocks their home, and early settlers hiked to their summits in long skirts and full suits. Today more than 50,000 people each year connect with nature and history while walking their trails. These Islands in the Sky are designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern and an America’s Great Outdoors site to protect their diverse habitats, expansive views, abundant wildlife and a wealth of wildflowers including the extremely rare dwarf-wooly meadowfoam that grows nowhere else in the world.

Saturday, April 1, 2017, 9:00 a.m., UPPER TABLE ROCK

Spring in Bloom: Join Chamise Kramer, avid botanist and Public Affairs Specialist with the Rogue River National Forest, and Molly Allen, BLM Environmental Educator, to explore the valley’s beautiful native flora, wildflowers, and natural history of the Table Rocks. Learn about some of the best tricksters Mother Nature has to offer this April Fool’s Day! We’ll explore some tactics plants use to fool everything around them, every day of the year!

Sunday, April 2, 2017, 9:00 a.m., UPPER TABLE ROCK

Walk with Words: Dave Harvey and members of the Oregon Poetry Association, Rogue Valley Unit, will share poems inspired by nature and the Table Rocks along a hike to the top of the Rock. Hikers are encouraged to bring a favorite or original poem inspired by nature to share along the trail.

Saturday, April 8, 2017, 9:00 a.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK

Wildflowers Abound: Barbara Mumblo, botanist emerita with the U.S. Forest Service Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District and member of the Native Plant Society of Oregon, will lead a hike to discover the dazzling array of wildflowers found on the Table Rocks.

Sunday, April 9, 2017, 9:00 a.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK LOOP TRAIL

Tell Me a Story: A very special hike for kids and their favorite adult! Join members of the Storytelling Guild on a trek along the Lower Table Rock Loop Trail (1/2 mile accessible trail) and listen to legends and tales about the Takelma Indians who once lived in this area. Learn about the cultural history of the Table Rocks. Stories are suitable for all ages.

 Saturday, April 15, 2017, 8:00 a.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK

For the Early Birds: Join local bird experts Bob Quaccia, with Rogue Valley Audubon Society, and Frank Lospalluto, with Klamath Bird Observatory, to view the spring birds of Table Rocks. Learn ID tips and conservation information. Bring binoculars and ID books if you desire. Limited to 15 individuals

Sunday, April 16, 2017, EASTER – NO HIKE

Saturday, April 22, 2017, 9:00 a.m., UPPER TABLE ROCK

Grand Ronde Tribes, Past to Present: Join Michael Karnosh, Ceded Lands Program Manager at the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, to learn about traditional and culturally important plants of the tribes whose ancestors include the original residents of the Table Rocks area. With Molly Morison, Stewardship Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy, he will also discuss modern day Tribal management of conservation properties and partnerships with government agencies, land trusts, and other groups.

Domingo, 23 de Abril, 1:00 p.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK

Caminata Familiar en español: Evan Barrientos, empleado de The Nature Conservancy, guiará una caminata a través de Lower Table Rock en español. Mientras disfrutando del paisaje y la tranquilidad de este hermoso sitio, Ud. aprenderá sobre las plantas, animales, historia, y gestión de ello. ¡Descubra un lugar fantástico para explorar con sus hijos o hacer ejercicio! Para obtener más información, llame al 541-770-7933 x 3#.

Saturday, April 29, 2017, 9:00 a.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK

Legacy of a Landmark: Jeff LaLande, retired archaeologist and historian for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, will discuss the role of the Table Rocks in the culture and legends of the Takelma Indians, as well as the history of the Table Rocks area during the “Indian Wars” of the 1850s.

Saturday, April 29, 2017, 9:00 a.m., UPPER TABLE ROCK

Layers of Time: Jad D’Allura, Southern Oregon University emeritus professor of geology, and Joni Brazier, U.S. Forest Service soil specialist, will discuss the formation of the Table Rocks and the unique geological features and soils along a hike to the top of this ancient lava flow.

Sunday, April 30, 2017, 10:00 a.m., UPPER TABLE ROCK

Bee Safari: Join Sarah Red-Laird, a.k.a. Bee Girl, and Sasha Joachim, BLM botanist, to find out what all the buzz is about. They will explain why bee pollination is essential for our survival and tell you about the unique pollinator conservation projects on nearby public lands. On this family-friendly hike, net and ID bees and learn about their relationship with the wildflowers and trees that produce a rainbow of colors on the Table Rocks.

Saturday, May 6, 2017, 9:00 a.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK

Nature Sketching & Journaling: Join a couple of scientists-turned-artists for a hike and exploration of art in nature at Lower Table Rock. Paula Fong, botanical artist with degrees in biology and forest ecology, and Darlene Southworth, retired SOU professor of biology and watercolor journalist, will share their perspectives on the landscapes you see and the natural history you encounter along the trail. Bring a sketchpad and pencils or pens; watercolors are optional but welcome. Limited to 15 individuals.

Sunday, May 7, 2017, 9:00 a.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK

Yoga on the Rocks: Join local yoga teacher Amanda Barron of Soul Shine Yoga & Massage at the trailhead for some basic yoga postures designed to stretch and prepare your body for the hike to the top. During the journey up the trail, emphasis will be on breath and moving meditation. At the top, hikers will experience balancing postures with names pulled right out of nature. No yoga experience is necessary.

Saturday, May 13, 2017, 9:00 a.m., UPPER TABLE ROCK

Camp White: “The Alcatraz of Boot Camps”: Travel back in time with BLM archaeologists Lisa Rice and Jennifer Sigler to the WWII era when Southern Oregon was a major training center for the U.S. military. Participants will be led on a guided exploration of the remains of the Camp White artillery range which includes pillboxes designed to practice infantry drills. Because there is no trail, wear sturdy shoes and long pants. Limited to 15 individuals.

Saturday, May 13, 2017, 7:30 p.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK LOOP TRAIL

Whooo Comes Out at Night? BLM wildlife biologists Steve Godwin and Tony Kerwin will lead a night hike to look for and listen to the creatures of the night on the Lower Table Rock Loop Trail (1/2 mile accessible trail) They will attempt to lure pygmy, great horned and screech owls–no guarantees! A short presentation about the unique characteristics and adaptations of the common bats, owls and other animals that are active at night in this area will precede the hike. Bring flashlights and wear good hiking shoes.

Sunday, May 14, 2017, MOTHER’S DAY – NO HIKE

Saturday, May 20, 2017, 9:00 a.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK

What’s Eating the Trees? Hike with Dr. Bill Schaupp, entomologist with the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Health Protection, to explore and learn about how forest insects live, how they influence the ecosystems of the area, and their relationships with tree diseases.

Sunday, May 21, 2017, 9:00 a.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK LOOP TRAIL

Tell Me a Story: A very special hike for kids and their favorite adult! Join members of the Storytelling Guild on a trek along the Lower Table Rock Loop Trail (1/2 mile accessible trail) and listen to legends and tales about the Takelma Indians who once lived in this area. Learn about the cultural history of the Table Rocks. Stories are suitable for all ages.

Did you know? A few facts about the Table Rocks:

  • The 4,864 acres of the Table Rocks are jointly owned, managed and protected by The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management.
  • The area around the Table Rocks was inhabited by Native Americans at least 15,000 years prior to any European-American settlement.
  • The Rocks are named for their location along the Rogue River—Upper Table Rock is upstream and Lower Table Rock is downstream.
  • There is an airstrip on Lower Table Rock that was built in 1948.
  • More than 50,000 visitors annually hike the Table Rocks making it one of the most popular hiking locations in Southern Oregon.
  • The Rocks are home to more than 70 species of animals and 340 species of plants including 200 species of wildflowers.
  • The vernal pools at the top of the Rocks are one of the few places that are home to a federally-threatened species of fairy shrimp, Branchinecta lynchi.


Photo courtesy of The Nature Conservancy.