Lower Table Rock is over 5 miles of trail with the greatest view of The Rogue River valley. Don’t tell Upper Table Rock, but I like it better.
Driving – A 35 minute drive from Ashland Plaza. Get to Interstate 5 and head towards Medford. Don’t worry, you’re going right past Medford and exiting at Central Point on Exit 33. Turn right on Pine Street and take that a mile to Table Rock Road. Left there and away you go. Continue on for a few miles as you watch the Upper Table Rock growing in your windshield. Table Rock Road makes a 90 degree left turn where you’ll pass the turn off for Upper Table Rock. Now you’re heading toward Lower Table Rock and you’re passing a bunch of cows. I’ve heard they like it if you stick your head out the window and say “Mooooooo!” Gives them a chance to feel superior to people, I mean, until we make them into hamburgers and eat them. Table Rock Road now makes a 90 degree right turn. The next left turn is Wheeler Road. Take that and you’ll swing to the right again and look for the gigantic parking area on the left.
Parking – A large, well marked, free parking area with bathrooms and benches and room for busses and mobile homes.
The Adventure – The trail to Lower Table Rock heads uphill for over a mile and once you pas the giant power lines, it’s great. Half way up it gets a little shady and a little steeper. If you’re hobbled by gout or something, there are a number of benches to rest on. When you emerge at the top, the views begin.
Sure, you can blaze your own trail and kick around all over the place up here, but there are some sensitive plant areas, so stay on some kind of trail. And first things first – take the abandoned landing strip all the way across the mesa to the other side. It’s the view over there you HAVE to see. It’s probably over half a mile, but you’ll pass some interesting watery pond circles in the spring – that turn into some interesting dry flower circles in the fall. I believe ‘vernal pools’ is the textbook term for them.
From the viewpoint at the end of the runway you’ll see the mighty Rogue River. It’s freakin’ awesome! This is what ‘awesome’ used to mean. Views like this – not snowboarders who can do flips, or a really tasty burrito. You can walk all along the rim of Table Rock and see slightly different views from slightly different rocks. If you’re a mountain view person, you got it. If you like wide valleys, bingo. If you love farmland and rivers, hallelujah. If you were ever thinking of writing a symphony, this would be a great place to sit, and do that.