Skip to main content

The World Outside

Southern Oregon’s appealing climate and diverse terrain allow for a variety of outdoor activities all year round. Visit Crater Lake National Park to see the shockingly blue water of the USA's deepest lake. Formed by the caldera of a volcanic explosion, Crater Lake invites visitors to bike or drive the crater rim for stunning views of the rock formations and pristine water. The region’s volcanic history is also evident in the caves and rocky landscapes of the Oregon Caves and Lava Beds national monuments. Try your hand at fishing for salmon, trout and steelhead, or venture out for paddling of all sorts on the Rogue, Klamath and Umpqua Rivers. Discover a landscape more reminiscent of the Wild West in the region known as Southern Oregon's Outback, home to the sagebrush-covered Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge and Fort Rock State Natural Area with its massive ring-shaped formation of towering rock walls.

 

Theatrical Attractions

Theater lovers will be excited by the selection of stage performances found in Southern Oregon. From February to early November, the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland produces 11 plays – from Shakespeare to musicals to world-premiere dramas – on three unique stages, including the famous outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre. In Klamath Falls, catch a play, musical or concert at the Ross Ragland Theater, or enjoy live music at the Rogue Theatre in Grants Pass. Annual cultural events include the Ashland Independent Film Festival and the Britt Music and Arts Festival, showcasing a line-up of popular contemporary performers and a renowned classical series throughout the summer.

 

Explore Small Towns

Ashland is a small-town charmer, with great boutique shopping made all the better by Oregon’s zero-sales tax. In the old mining town of Jacksonville, enjoy five tasting rooms and delicious restaurants to go with them. There’s plenty of wine to sip in Elkton and Roseburg, both part of American Viticultural Areas (AVA). Elkton has a cooler climate suited for producing Pinot noir, Pinot gris and Riesling wines, while Roseburg, in the Umpqua Valley, is found on the same latitude as some of Europe's greatest vineyards. The historic district of Grants Pass is pedestrian-friendly, inviting you to explore quaint shops, local cuisine and more Oregon wineries, after a day spent on a jetboat river tour or whitewater rafting. Back in the Outback, the town of Lakeview is the perfect basecamp for high desert adventures.

Fun Fact

Hiker overlooking Crater Lake in Southern Oregon
View more

With a depth of 594 meters, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the USA. It’s also one of the few places you can swim and drink the water at the same time – it's that clean!

A Southern Oregon vineyard surrounded by mountain scenery
View more

Considered the father of Oregon’s wine industry, Swiss immigrant Peter Britt opened Oregon’s first winery in Jacksonville in 1855. By 1880, he was producing up to 11,000 liters of wine per year.

A sunny day playing in Southern Oregon
View more

Southern Oregon’s weather is different from the drizzly coastal areas. On average, there are 200 sunny days a year in Medford and 300 in Klamath Falls.

Must see places

Enjoying the natural scenery around Ashland with a hike

Ashland

Home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland’s cultural scene includes theater, music, museums and art galleries. For outdoor enthusiasts, Ashland has easy access to the Rogue and Upper Klamath Rivers, the Mt. Ashland Ski Area, mountain biking on the Cascade Siskiyou Scenic Bikeway and hiking on the epic Pacific Crest Trail. When you get hungry, mouth-watering restaurants and local wineries abound.

Learn more

A snow-covered Crater Lake National Park landscape

Crater Lake National Park

One of Southern Oregon’s biggest attractions is Crater Lake and its namesake national park. The water in the USA’s deepest lake is produced entirely by snow and rain, resulting in an ultra-clean, ultra-clear and extremely photogenic lake. Drive, bike or take a trolley tour (seasonal) around the perimeter and snap photos of the volcanic rock formations jutting out of the water. There’s hiking and trail running in the summer, or skiing and ranger-led snowshoeing in the winter.

Learn more

A jet boat tour on the Rogue River near Grants Pass

Grants Pass

The city’s motto, “It’s the Climate!” is well deserved. Grants Pass boasts a pleasant climate year round, with dry summers and moderate winters. Its charming historic district is full of amenities – shopping, galleries, local wineries and restaurants – making Grants Pass an ideal basecamp for accessing nearby activities like rafting and fishing the Rogue River, or exploring Crater Lake and Oregon Caves National Monument.

Learn more

Geese taking flight near Klamath Falls, an favorite destination of bird-watchers

Klamath Falls

Oregon’s “City of Sunshine” is great for families and outdoor lovers. Paddle the Upper Klamath Canoe Trail, go fishing in the Klamath River, grab binoculars for excellent birding and enjoy hiking, biking and running in Moore Park or the rails-to-trail OC&E Woods Line State Trail. The Running Y Ranch Resort boasts an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and the longest zipline in Oregon. In town, there are shops, restaurants and the Ross Ragland Theater.

Learn more

Relaxing with mountain lake views at Lake of the Woods Resort

Lake of the Woods Resort

Located in Fremont-Winema National Forest, one of Southern Oregon’s most popular recreation areas, Lake of the Woods Resort is ideal for boating, fishing, water skiing and hiking in the warm months, and snowshoeing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing when the cold weather hits. Add to that cabin lodging, RV camping and an on-site restaurant, and Lake of the Woods Resort makes for an awesome, family-friendly retreat.

Learn more

Sampling red wine from a Medford vineyard

Medford

This sunny town is one of the region’s culture-rich cities. Satisfy your appetite at farm-fresh restaurants, pick up souvenirs in downtown shops and sample local beer and wine. Of note is DANCIN Vineyards, voted Oregon’s Winery of the Year for 2017. Other can’t-miss attractions include the Natural Bridge Loop trail, a natural land bridge formed by an underground lava tube, and the Harry & David flagship store, where the gourmet gift company leads factory tours.

Learn more

A sunset performance during the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

From February to early November, the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) presents 11 theater performances in three different venues throughout Ashland. There are also educational discussions, lectures and demonstrations to enhance the theater experience.

Learn more

Whitewater rafting on the Rogue River

The Rogue River

The designated Wild and Scenic Rogue River is one of Southern Oregon’s most famous and popular natural attractions – even celebrities like Clark Gable and Bing Crosby have vacationed here. Fantastic salmon and steelhead fishing, Class I-V rapids and the 64-kilometer Rogue River hiking trail through spectacular scenery promise something for every fitness level. Stay in Grants Pass or Medford for easy access.

Learn more

Along the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway “Highway of Waterfalls” near Roseburg

Roseburg

The town of Roseburg was built on the lumber industry, earning it the nickname “The Timber Capital of the Nation.” Today, Roseburg specializes in charming shops, restaurants and wineries. The appeal of Roseburg is its central location to adventures on the Umpqua River that flows right through town, and the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway “Highway of Waterfalls,” a 275-kilometer drive into the Cascade Mountains dotted with beautiful waterfalls.

Learn more

The world’s longest miniature railroad at Train Mountain in Chiloquin

Train Mountain

Southern Oregon was a major thoroughfare during the railroad boom, providing passage for emigrants to the west coast and transportation of lumber and other goods. Ashland, Grants Pass and Medford flourished with the growth of the railroad industry. It’s no wonder, then, that you’ll find the world’s longest miniature railroad and the world’s largest collection of cabooses at Train Mountain in the tiny town of Chiloquin.

Learn more

Explore Southern Oregon destinations

Taking a summer hiking break to admire Wizard Island in the pristine lake
View more
|

Crater Lake National Park

To experience one of the snowiest inhabited places in the USA, visit Crater Lake National Park in the Cascade Mountains. Each winter, the hardiest skiers and snowshoers test their skills on a 50-kilometer, three-day loop around the rim of Crater Lake. No need to be a super athlete to enjoy the natural beauty of the slopes, forests and lake during all seasons in the 74,057-hectare park. All of that snow melts, making the lake the cleanest and clearest in the world; it receives no water from rivers or creeks.

View more

Official Southern Oregon Travel Site