Places We Protect

The Table Rocks

Oregon

Two people standing on a rock outcrop looking out over forests and farms.
Hikers on Table Rocks, Oregon: Katelyn Rich (left) and Bekah Herndon take in the view near the southern tip of Lower Table Rock overlooking the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon. © Ben Herndon/Tandem Stills+Motion

Remnants of ancient lava flows host showy wildflower displays and a variety of habitats.

Overview

Description

Spring 2021 Update:

Effective April 1, 2021, this preserve is open to the public. Trails are narrow, so please observe social distancing guidelines and wear a mask whenever encountering other guests. This property is privately-owned and managed in order to protect the sensitive species that call it home. For this reason, we ask that you stay on marked trails and leave your dog at home. We appreciate your help in protecting the landscape and respecting all those who enjoy it.

 

What Makes Table Rocks Special

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.

 

What TNC Has Done/Is Doing

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 TNC and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which has designated its holdings as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.

TNC 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, the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde, TNC 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.

Access

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Please stay on trails, follow all visit guidelines, & do not bring dogs/pets

Size

3,591 acres

Explore our work in Oregon

Please observe the following guidelines while hiking:

  • Stay on the trail. Don't collect plants, insects or other species or disturb soil, rocks, artifacts or scientific research markers.
  • No dogs. Preserves harbor ground-nesting birds and other wildlife that are extremely sensitive to disturbance.
  • Trails are narrow, so please observe social distancing guidelines and wear a mask whenever encountering other guests. 
  • No bicycles or motorized vehicles. Native plants and research sites are easily trampled.
  • No hunting, camping or campfires.
  • For groups of 10 or more, please contact us before visiting a preserve (a volunteer naturalist guide may be available).
  • Please bring a bag and carry out any trash you find.
  • Please report to us any problems you observe (e.g., camping, plant removal, hunting, off-road vehicle damage, etc).
 

 

What to See: Plants

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.

 

What to See: Animals

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.

Stand Up for Nature in Oregon

The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters upon which all life depends, and for nearly 60 years, we've been working in Oregon to do just that. We're bringing people together to solve the biggest conservation challenges of our time by transforming policy, inspiring communities to take action, protecting vital habitats and natural resources and improving livelihoods.

Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

See the Complete Map