Autumn Adventure in Rogue Valley Wine Country

With the frenzy of summer behind us, we’ll let you in on a little secret: Autumn is actually the best time of year for outdoor adventures in Southern Oregon. Crisp weather. No crowds. That relaxed locals-only vibe. No need to reapply sunscreen every 90 minutes. It’s enough to make summer jealous.

It’s also a great time of year to drop in on one (or several) of the Rogue Valley’s remarkable wineries. With the hubbub of harvest behind us, winemakers are eager to embrace the cozy feel of cellar season, and many producers are busy unveiling some of their most sought-after releases of the year. And with so many wineries across the region, finding the perfect tasting room to pair with your outing is easy, no matter where your adventures take you.  

Table Rocks (Photo courtesy of Ben Herndon / The Nature Conservancy)

Hiking

Fall in the Rogue Valley means cooler temperatures and crisp, clean air — ideal conditions for hiking. Just don’t forget warm clothes and a raincoat, as weather conditions can change quickly this time of year.

Upper and Lower Table Rock trails offer sweeping vistas encompassing Mt. Ashland, Roxy Ann Peak, Pilot Rock and Mt. McLoughlin, as well as the occasional fall wildflower bloom. The trailhead is just 20 minutes’ drive from downtown Medford. After your descent, stop at nearby Kriselle Cellars to refuel with a tasting flight and seasonal food pairing – from wraps to charcuterie and wood fired pizzas (weekends only). A must-try is the decadent prosciutto wrapped dates stuffed with feta cheese.  Or, visit Cliff Creek Cellars’ Gold Hill Vineyard Tasting Room to enjoy your glass vineside or cozied up in the historic barn.

Fishing

Find out why the Rogue River is one of the nation’s preeminent fly-fishing destinations by booking a trip with a local outfitter like Rogue Valley Anglers, ROE Outfitters or Morrison’s Rogue Wilderness Adventures  (most trips open to ages 8 and up; check with operators for more details). Late in the year is prime time for trout, steelhead, and coho.

Trips usually depart bright and early and return in the mid-afternoon, which means you’ll have plenty of time for happy hour afterward. Celebrate your catch with a glass of bubbly at the Catalyst Wine Collective in Phoenix, Oregon, where you can taste the latest releases from three award-winning producers at a single location – Ryan Rose Wines, Goldback Wines, and Sound and Vision Wine Company. Or, trade stories about the one that got away at historic RoxyAnn Winery in Medford.

Oak Knoll Golf Course

Golfing

Have clubs, will travel? The Rogue Valley’s many golf courses tee up spectacular scenery, friendly people and courses for golfers of every skill level. Designed by PGA Tour winner John Fought, Centennial Golf Club in Medford was named one of the top 50 Golf Courses in the United States by Golf World. It’s also literally across the street from 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery, where you can enjoy wine flights paired with savory flatbreads and other culinary delights. Or book a clinic with one of the PGA pros at Stone Ridge Golf Club in Eagle Point, then swing by Bayer Family Estate for a glass of their award-winning Nebbiolo.

Zip Lining

Inspired to get up close and personal with all those beautiful trees? Book a zip-lining experience at Rogue Valley ZipLine Adventure in Central Point to see the world from an entirely new perspective. People aged 8 and up can soar over the Rogue Valley’s incredible landscape on a guide-led tour  spanning over 2,700 feet of zip line.

– Margarett Waterbury