Explore the Table Rocks on free, naturalist-guided weekend hikes this spring!
Rising dramatically 800 feet above the Rogue River Valley, the Table Rocks are remnants of lava flows that filled the canyons of an ancient, meandering Rogue River over 7 million years ago. Atop these mesas is a mosaic of grassy mounds, stony flats and vernal, or seasonal, ponds.
The Table Rocks figure in Southwest Oregon history as prominent landmarks and gathering places for Native Americans and for settlers along the Oregon-California Trail.
North of Medford, in Southwest Oregon
The Nature Conservancy bought land on Lower Table Rock over thirty years ago, creating our first preserve in the Rogue Valley. In 2008, we acquired an additional 1,710 acres, securing the last remaining private lands on both Upper and Lower Table Rocks. As a result, the Table Rocks are now owned and collaboratively managed by the Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which has designated its holdings as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.
Conservancy and BLM scientists are controlling invasive species, evaluating altered fire cycles, and supporting recreational and cultural uses. Ecologists survey and monitor rare plant populations, non-native species, bats, butterflies and a variety of birds.
Volunteer teams plant native grasses and remove weeds, and the Table Rocks provide a popular outdoor classroom for thousands of school children who visit each year to learn about natural and cultural history.
In an emotional ceremony in 2011, Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde, the Conservancy and the BLM signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The agreement includes the Tribes in future planning and management of the Table Rocks natural area for the first time in more than a century. Watch a video of the signing ceremony.
Remarkable diversity includes a spectacular wildflower display from March until June with expanses of goldfields, grass widows and brodiaea. The dwarf woolly meadowfoam grows here and nowhere else on Earth. The slopes below the rocks support Oregon white oak, madrone, ponderosa pine woodlands and Rogue Valley chaparral.
A federally listed species of fairy shrimp has been discovered inhabiting the vernal pools, and oak woodlands and chaparral provide the blue-gray gnatcatcher's northernmost known nesting site.
Spring wildflowers begin to bloom in February and reach their peak during April and May. Watch out for poison oak, rattlesnakes, ticks and the hazards of steep cliffs.
Please observe the following guidelines while hiking:
From I-5 North out of Medford: