About 10 miles northeast of Medford are two eye-catching buttes,Upper and Lower Table Rock. They are composed of sandstone with erosion-resistant lava caps that were deposited during an ancient Cascade eruption. Over the years, wind and water erosion wore away the exposed sandstone but not the capstone, leaving nearly vertical slabs. Their names come from their locations — Lower Table Rock is downriver from Upper Table Rock.
More than 140 kinds of plants occur in the area, creating an exquisite wildflower display that reaches its zenith in April. There are abundant lichens and mosses that grow on the lava, painting the black basalt with luxuriant greens and fluorescent yellows during the wetter months.
The two-mile trail to the top of the horseshoe-shaped Lower Table Rock is a hikers’ treat. Be sure to look for the “mima mounds” or “patterned ground” that distinguishes the surface of the butte. How the mounds were formed is still a matter of scientific debate. The trail up Upper Table Rock is a little over a mile and steep. It’s sticky and slippery in the wet season, but affords wonderful vistas of the Rogue River and Sams Valley to the north. There are two benches along the way—perfect places to stop, rest and savor the view.
Where: From Interstate 5, take Exit #33 at Central Point. Head east on East Pine St. for 1 mile. Turn north (left) on Table Rock Rd. Drive 5.3 miles to Modoc Rd. for Upper Table Rock; drive 8 miles to Wheeler Rd. for Lower Table Rock. (google map)
More Info: 541-618-2200 | BLM.gov