Upper & Lower Table Rock Mesas in Jackson County
Hovering above Medford, Central Point, White City and Sam’s Valley, and the majestic Rogue River, the Table Rocks are iconic in Southern Oregon. The top is made of 125-foot-thick andesite. There are two U-shaped mesas. They were formed by a lava flow that filled the Rogue River Valley. Scientists set that at 9.6 million years ago. The lava vents that filled the river are east of Prospect. The river took a different channel and erosion over the eons has washed away the softer earth, leaving the hard andesite mesas. They are 800 feet above the Valley floor. Geologists believe the us shape of the rocks was a river bed the lava followed.
- Upper Table Rock (for up the river) is a 2.8 mile trail from the parking lot that ascends 720 feet in elevation to the top.
- Lower Table (for down lower on the river) is a 5.4 mile trail from the parking lot that ascends 780 feet in elevation to the top.
- There is NO FEE to use either trail.
- Be VERY aware of the ever present and thick poison oak and occasional rattle snake.
- Brink water, hat and sunscreen as it gets hot up there in the summer.
Don’t expect to be alone, especially at the Upper Table Rock Trail. It is the shortest, and the local schools do hikes up it by the busload in the late spring.Don’t forget your camera. There are opportunities for beautiful views of Oregon wildflowers, the Rogue River, the cities below, and sometimes, a cool ocean-appearing affect when the valley is full of clouds.
A few more interesting facts about Table Rocks near Medford, OR:
- Table Rocks are owned by the Nature Conservancy and BLM, who has some great info online.
- There was once an airplane landing strip on top that new pilots used to practice touch-and-go’s.
- The American Indian tribes in the area used the base of the rocks to harvest the Camas root, a starch, as a food source.
- There is a small, flowering ground cover plant that grows at the top of Table Rocks, called “Dwarf Wooly Meadowfoam.” It grows nowhere else in the world.
Grab your day pack and check it out! Tread lightly on nature and post your pics and reviews to our Oregon Outdoors Group on Facebook and be sure to search for Bybee to find others! Some of these photos and videos were featured there.
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