Get in touch with the natural world and your inner nature on the Table Rocks! Every weekend in April and May, The Nature Conservancy and Medford District Bureau of Land Management are offering free, guided educational hikes on the Table Rocks. There’s no better place to learn about local wildflowers, birds, bugs or rocks or to find your inner nature through poetry, painting, stargazing or story-telling.
Hikes are led by specialists from around the region who will help you find, interpret and enjoy the parts of nature that are special to you. And do you want to share the nature you’ve found? This year there’s a new iNaturalist app hike for that too!
For 40 years The Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management have protected and managed the Table Rocks to provide a spectacular outdoor classroom showcasing our valley’s natural and cultural history. Join us on these hikes and find your nature on the Rocks!
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. Participants should dress for the weather and terrain and bring water and snacks since hikes to the top may last 3 to 4 hours. Restrooms are available only at each trailhead; there is no drinking water. Due to limited parking at the trailheads, carpooling is encouraged. To help protect this special place, dogs and vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
Guided hikes will be offered on weekends in April and May. All hikes are free to the public but reservations are required as space is limited. Information about the hikes and online reservations will be available at https://table-rock-hikes-2019.eventbrite.com Registration for April hikes begins Friday, March 22 and for May hikes on Friday, April 19. For information, contact the Medford District BLM at 541.618.2200, M-F, 7:45 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 6, 10:00 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. (https://wildflower-hike-2019.eventbrite.com)
Sunday, April 7, 11:00 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 nature and the peoples who once lived in this area. Stories are suitable for all ages. (https://story-hike-2019.eventbrite.com)
Saturday, April 13, 7:30 p.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK
City Lights & Celestial Sights: Join Joe Stodola, astronomer and member of the Grants Pass Astronomers, on a night hike to share the wonders of the night sky at the top of the Rock. The Lyrid Meteor Shower should be at its peak and often produces bright trails. Bring flashlights, binoculars and a roll-up pad to lie on if you have them; sturdy shoes, a warm jacket, and long pants are recommended. (https://star-hike-2019.eventbrite.com )
Sunday, April 14, 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. He will discuss modern day Tribal management of conservation properties and partnerships with government agencies, land trusts, and other groups. (https://grand-ronde-hike-2019.eventbrite.com )
Saturday, April 20, 9:00 a.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK
The 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. (https://legacy-of-a-landmark-2019.eventbrite.com )
Sunday, April 21
NO HIKE – Easter
Saturday, April 27, 8:00 a.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK
For the Early Birds: Join local bird experts Bob Quaccia, withRogue Valley Audubon Society, and Frank Lospalluto, with Klamath Bird Observatory, to view the spring birds of the Table Rocks. Learn ID tips and conservation information. Bring binoculars and ID books if you desire. Limited to 20 individuals. (https://early-birds-hike-2019.eventbrite.com )
Sunday, April 28, 9:00 a.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK
Share Your Nature with iNaturalist – Learn to be a citizen scientist and share nature as we use the iNaturalist app to identify plants and wildlife. These photo observations help scientists document species around the world. Experienced naturalists will provide guidance in recording your observations on this hike. Learn about the diversity of life at Lower Table Rock and be part of the scientific community! Bring your camera or cell phone. The iNaturalist app can be downloaded onto smartphone devices or photos can be uploaded at home. (https://www.inaturalist.org ) (https://inaturalist-hike-2019.evenbrite.com )
Saturday, May 4, 9:00 a.m., UPPER TABLE ROCK
Spring in Bloom Family Hike: Celebrate National Wildflower Week with Molly Allen, BLM Environmental Educator, and Chamise Kramer, Public Affairs Specialist for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, on a general information hike suitable for the whole family. Topics will include wildflower identification, ethnobotany, geology, wildlife, ecology, and cultural history. (https://family-hike-2019.eventbrite.com )
Saturday, May 4, 9:00 a.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK OAK LOOP TRAIL
Plein Air Paintout @ the Rocks: Join Darlene Southworth, botanist, and artist, for an outdoor painting session along the Lower Table Rock Oak Loop Trail (1/2 mile accessible trail) Bring your sketchpads, painting materials (any medium) and easel and chair if you desire. Limited to 15 individuals. (https://paintout-hike-2019.eventbrite.com )
Sunday, May 5, 9:00 a.m., LOWER 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. (https://poetry-hike-2019.eventbrite.com )
Sunday, May 5, 9:00 a.m., UPPER TABLE ROCK
Layers of Time: Jad D’Allura, Southern Oregon University professor emeritus 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. (https://geology-hike-2019.eventbrite.com )
Saturday, May 11, 9:00 a.m., UPPER TABLE ROCK
Camp White: “The Alcatraz of Boot Camps”: Travel back in time with BLM archaeologists Jennifer Sigler and Lisa Rice 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. (https://camp-white-hike-2019.eventbrite.com )
Saturday, May 11, 7:30 p.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK LOOP TRAIL
Whooo Comes Out at Night? BLM wildlife biologists Steve Godwin and Kim Coyle 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. (https://owl-hike-2019.eventbrite.com )
Sunday, May 12
NO HIKE – Mother’s Day
Saturday, May 18, 9:00 a.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK
Bug Out on the Table Rocks: Hike with Dr. Bill Schaupp, entomologist emeritus with the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Health Protection, to observe and discuss the incredible insects that live on or flutter by the Table Rocks. On this hike, you will gain a deeper appreciation for how insects live and their essential role in the environment. (https://bug-hike-2019.eventbrite.com )
Sunday, May 19, 9:00 a.m., UPPER TABLE ROCK
Lichen Hikin’ with a Fun-gi: Spring is a prime time to observe lichens, bryophytes and terrestrial algae with John Villella, a botanist with the Siskiyou Biosurvey and member of the American Bryological & Lichenological Society. Some lichen highlights include variant forms of Xanthoparmelia andDermatocarpon and local rarities such as Parmelina and Peltula. (https://lichen-hike-2019.eventbrite.com )
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.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have helped protect 130 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.