South Oregon Communities

The area that is known as Southern Oregon is actually an area along the I-5 Corridor from the California Border running north about 75 miles. The larger cities in Southern Oregon include Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass. The counties included are Jackson and Josephine county and to a lesser extent Douglas County. This area is also known by the name, The Rogue Valley, since the Rogue River parallels I-5 in much of the area.

Although the valley floors offer quite level ground, there are many mountains surrounding the areas and the foothills offer several forested lands. For many years, pear orchards covered the valley, but in recent years, many of the orchards have been converted to vineyards. Logging was also at one time a major industry in the area, along with sawmills. Today health care is the number one employer in the area. Many seniors choose this area for retirement because of the natural beauty.

In the winter, Mount Ashland offers downhill skiing and cross-country skiing can be done in the Diamond Lake area. In the summer, the Rogue River offers great white water rafting. Rafts may be rented in several areas including Shady Cove and Gold Hill. For a great adventure, ask the rental company about renting a durt bag. This unique method of floating the river was invented in Gold Hill.

Crater Lake National Park is only a short day trip from most of the Rogue Valley. Here you will find the deepest lake in North America, located in the top of an inactive volcano. The elevation is quite high, so be sure to prepare for chilly weather even in July and August, when it can be quite warm in the valleys.

Another great day trip that beats the heat on those warm summer days it the Oregon Coast. Inexpensive camping is available at many state parks on the coast.

Much of Southern Oregon was settled as a result of the Gold Rush of the 1800’s. Gold was discovered in rich creek. Locals are still found at times panning for gold in local creeks and rivers.