As Realtors in Southern Oregon for over 20 years, we have met hundreds of families moving into our area from out of state. We quickly become their “go-to” for advice on restaurants, shopping, where to go, and what to do. We realized that our job was not just selling homes, but it was selling the Southern Oregon lifestyle. For that reason, we wrote “Discovering Southern Oregon” and published it on our website. The content is divided into twenty-one sections such as hikes, theaters, golf courses, rivers, lakes, drives, and wineries. Every year we discover more and publish more, and you can see it all at Our favorites have been scientifically selected from our subjective opinions!

Best Park: Crater Lake National Park—Crater Lake, located just sixty miles over the California border, is the only national park in Oregon. The lake was formed when Mt. Mazama erupted in approximately 5500BC. This left an incredible caldera with a lake depth of 1,949 feet. It is the deepest in the United States. The incredible clear water has no inlet or outlet; its level is maintained by rain, condensation, and evaporation. You can camp in the park, hike, or drive around the rim. There is a boat tour of the lake, but you will have to hike down to the dock. Every year the road around the rim is closed to allow a twenty-five mile bike ride around Lake Rim. This year it is on Sept 10th and 17th. Don’t miss the sites on the north side of the lake where the winds make it look like the trees are growing sideways. (

In the winter you are advised to look at the park website and check the cameras at the rim for visibility and access before you make the drive. Also, make sure you make a reservation for the boat ride.

Best Hike: Rainie Falls, Wild & Scenic Rogue River—Southern Oregon is surrounded by three major mountain ranges—Cascades, Siskiyou’s, and Coast Range, which create some of the best hiking in the United States. There are hiking trails out your back door such as the Jacksonville Woodlands, Jacksonville’s Forest Park, Ashland Watershed and Roxy Ann’s Prescott Park. You can hike Grizzly Peak and get a splendid view of Mt. Shasta, Mt. McLoughlin and Mt. Ashland or hike the two Table Rock Mountains with spring wildflowers and stunning views of the Rogue Valley. There is Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor starting in Brookings and traveling twelve, steep, rugged miles along the Pacific Ocean, providing stunning views and access to deserted beaches. You can hike in the Sky Lakes Wilderness with its lake covering 116,000 acres, with the Pacific Crest Trail passing through. But our favorite is the Rainie Falls hike along the Wild & Scenic Rogue River. The trail is full of oaks & madrones and is fairly level, but sections hug a steep hillside of the Rogue River canyon. In the winter you cross the Cascade Range, down the side of the canyon, and in the summer, you can watch the colorful rafts navigating the rapids of the river. The destination is a nice lunch spot where you can sit on a rock and watch, as well as listen to, the class 5 rapids. If you are there in spring or fall you can watch the salmon and steelhead struggle to get up stream. Plenty of parking along the Merlin-Galice Road goes over the Graves Creek Bridge. This 3.6-mile round-trip hike to the falls is easy enough for everyone.

Best Kayaking: Wood River—If you’re a fan of the water, rivers, lakes, and the ocean, you have so many possibilities for kayaking. There is world-renowned “class 5” kayaking down the Klamath, Illinois, and wild and scenic Rogue River. You can rent kayaks from the harbor in Brookings and take them down the Chetco River to the ocean; you can kayak on the turtle-covered Squaw Lakes above Applegate Lake, or kayak to see Sandhill Cranes nesting in spring on Lake of the Woods. But our favorite is kayaking the pristine freezing waters of the Wood River in Klamath County. This class 1, 3-hour float is fun for everyone. Meander over swift crystal-clear freezing waters free of rapids but with quick flowing sharp Sshaped curves. Around you are farms with green fields full of cattle, and below you the water is filled with brown trout. Set off at the Jackson F. Kimball State Park where the Wood River starts flowing from springs originating below Crater Lake National Park. Stop halfway down on an island or shore for lunch and have a car waiting at the take-out spot at the Wood River Day Use Area.

To be continued next month!