Great Southern Oregon Trips

To bring you only the best fall trips and tours, we asked our friends from Southern Oregon for their fall favorites.  They create a great list. Your challenge will be picking which trip to take first.

Taking a drive on one of the many national scenic byways or hiking along a lake or river in the fall is one of my favorite things to do in Southern Oregon.  The crisp sunny afternoons just add to the robust colors.

Lithia Park in Ashland As you walk through the park you follow Ashland Creek and marvel at the beauty.  Autumn leaves gently fall around you as you follow the leaf-covered paths. Lithia is a 93-acre vista of emerald lawns, tennis courts, a sand-pit volleyball court, picnic area, colorful landscaping and playground equipment. The park follows Ashland Creek through undeveloped woodlands, and also includes a Japanese garden, two duck ponds, a formal rose garden, groves of sycamore trees and a number of secluded spots.

Jacksonville to Grants Pass The streets of this historic town are lined with color from oak, maple, madrone, locus, cottonwood, and fir trees….each taking on a different shade of brilliant autumn color. Travel from Jacksonville into the heart of the Applegate Valley Wine Region.  Experience its tastes, wine harvest festivals, and glorious colors. What a great day.

Hwy 140 from Medford to Klamath Falls This drive passes through a melody of birch trees. A spectacle of golds, oranges, and reds that flutter in the sunny afternoon breezes.  Stop by Fish Lake or Lake of the Woods for a walk and become one with nature.

The Roads Leading to Crater Lake:  Take your pick……they are all incredible.

Traveling from Shady Cove to Crater Lake along the Hwy 62 and stop for a quick hike in the charming town of Prospect. Two of our favorite hikes are Mill Creek Falls, where the gorgeous hues of autumn leaves and rich firs frame the falls; and the Natural Bridge Interpretive area, where the Rogue River goes underground for a short stretch, and the deep canyon is rimmed by lush ferns, delicate maples, and deep green firs. This Upper Rogue Region is truly breathtaking.

Travel up Hwy 140 from Medford and take the West Side Road along the Volcanic Scenic Legacy. Pass through the Rocky Point area, Fort Klamath and onto Crater Lake.  Every turn is a new scenic adventure. Here at these high elevations, broad grassy meadows are punctuated by vivid spots of fall color.

Take I-5 to Roseburg and follow Hwy 138 along the Umpqua River. One of the most beautiful drives in the state.

Grants Pass to Brookings:  Follow Hwy 199 along the Illinois and Smith Rivers to the Southern Oregon Coast.  From the canyons, rock walls, deep Redwood Forest, to the mountain tops, autumn colors map out your journey.

From Bandon to Roseburg: Pick a Bandon park to enjoy a picnic lunch and take in a gorgeous panorama of ocean, sky, dunes, and forested areas. Check out the amazing dunes, some towering more than 60 feet, trellised with fescue, gorse, fescue and other native plants.  Then, take in the scenery from Bandon to the Land of Umpqua, along Hwy 42, where every bend brings a stunning panorama of oaks, maples, and firs.

Check out other scenic drives and hikes on

Sue Price, Guest Contributor
Southern Oregon Visitors Association


One thought on “Great Southern Oregon Trips

  1. The Grants Pass to Brookings is one faavorite route, although I usually veer SW into Jedediah Smith redwoods. There are some nice vine maples along parts of the Mill Creek trail for hiking.

    The small canyon along Highway 199 following the Smith River, on the slope is the closest thing I’ve seen to a Japanese Garden look in nature, due to the moss and the wind blown shape of the oaks. The oaks are almost formed like pines that have been sculpted. The bright bigleaf maples look great in autumn.


    MDV / Oregon

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