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Upper Table Rock Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Revision as of 22:33, 11 June 2019 by Justpeachy (Talk | contribs)

View from Upper Table Rock (Cheryl Hill)
  • Start point: Upper Table Rock Trailhead
  • Ending Point: Upper Table Rock Trailhead
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Out-and-back
  • Distance: 1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 700 feet
  • High Point: 2,040 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Year-round
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes


Hike Description

Upper Table Rock and Lower Table Rock (collectively referred to as the Table Rocks) rise 800 feet above the north bank of the Rogue River. About 7.5 million years ago, the eruption of a shield volcano near Lost Creek Lake created a lava flow that caused the valley floor to rise in elevation to the height of the Table Rocks. Over millions of years as the Rogue River meandered through the valley, it eroded and carved away about 90 percent of the lava, and the Table Rocks are all that remain. Trails lead to the tops of both rocks, and this hike to Upper Table Rock is the shorter of the two. April and May is the best time to visit, when the wildflowers are blooming and the blazing heat of summer has not yet arrived.

After checking out the trailhead sign boards, hike uphill on the trail as it heads into the forest. In April and May you'll spot numerous wildflowers growing beneath the oaks and madrone trees of this forest. You will also notice how profuse the poison oak is here, so be sure to stay on trail.

After half a mile you will reach a viewpoint on the left with a bench, although the vegetation makes it hard to see much of anything. A quarter-mile later is another bench with a better view that includes Mt. McLoughlin and Mt. Ashland.

After climbing up through the forest for 1.2 miles, the trail emerges onto the flat mesa. Ahead of you is a low wooden fence protecting the vernal pools. These seasonal ponds are formed when rainwater collects in depressions. They are a habitat for the threatened species of fairy shrimp and a plant called the dwarf wooly meadowfoam, which is native to the Table Rocks and is found nowhere else. The area around the pools is sensitive habitat so do not climb over the fence.

Follow a faint trail to the left that will take you to the southern rim of Upper Table Rock. From here you can look down on the Rogue Valley and the mountains beyond, including prominent Mt. McLoughlin and Mt. Ashland.

The trail turns to the right, following the southern rim until reaching a point where you can look down into the forest bowl formed by the U shape of Upper Table Rock. From here you can also see Lower Table Rock, so named because it is downstream along the Rogue River in relation to Upper Table Rock.

The trail follows the rim above the bowl until a junction where you will turn right and head east back to the point where you emerged from the forest. If you're not quite ready to head back yet, you will pass a trail on your left heading northwest which you can explore. Otherwise hike back to the forest edge and return the way you came.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Dogs, horses, bicycles, and other vehicles are prohibited.
  • Picking wildflowers is not allowed.


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range by William L. Sullivan

More Links

Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.