Grizzly Peak, Medford Hiking & Biking, outdoor adventure, things to do, places to hike in medford, southern oregon, best hikes, favorite trails, scenery

HIKING GRIZZLY PEAK

Gracing the Ashland Skyline with its broad ridges and bare summit, Grizzly Peak offers outdoor adventurers a classic ridgeline hike with stellar views across the entire Rogue Valley. A recent wildfire in 2002 left the summit what seems like a desolate landscape, but in reality, it's a thriving ecosystem in recovery. It blooms in a vigorous shade of purple flowers during the Spring months and shelters a variety of small plants and animals. Grizzly Peak offers a short world class hike just a half hour or so drive away from Medford on an almost entirely paved access road. Locals of the Rogue Valley adore this trail and there’s no doubt that you will too.

The Grizzly Peak trail starts from a sizable parking lot (complete with a bathroom) from where it softly ascends through a shady, heavily forested mountainside. (Be wary. Snow may linger on this side of the mountain while it looks clear from the valley in April/May) Moss hangs along old growth Douglas Fir trunks, suggesting where the tree got its namesake, while squirrels scurry over fallen tree trunks. If you glance to the right on a clear day you’ll have a good view of Mt McLoughlin, the Rogue Valley’s tallest mountain. The trail tops out at an uneventful pile of rocks that indicates the true summit of Grizzly Peak- but don’t despair and turn around thinking this is it! The views are coming. The trail branches here into a loop and you can pick either direction.

Shortly after passing through some serene mountain meadows, the trail opens up spectacular views. Looking from South to North you can see almost the entirety of the Rogue Valley starting with Pilot Rock & Mt Shasta, ending all the way to where the Rogue River curves into its canyon near Lower Table Rock. You’ll have this view for over a mile as you complete the loop. Aside from the view itself, you can admire the rich geology of the Cascade foothills and unique diversity of vegetation that Southern Oregon is known for - its a completely different experience than the beautiful forest climb on the way up and this combination is what makes the Grizzly Peak trail truly special. See if you can spot the environmental transition as you complete the loop and return to the trailhead.

Grizzly Peak

Difficulty: Moderate

Average Distance: 3 miles out-and-back, 4.7 miles to complete the loop

Elevation Gain: 921 feet

Parking: Free, follow to the trailhead

Restrooms: At the trailhead

Optimal Season: May - November

The Grizzly Peak trail offers views of Mt. McLaughlin, a trek through a grand grove of Douglas Fir, and sweeping views of the entire Rogue Valley. Along the loop trail you can see the entire region and get a close up view of some of the unique geology as you hike along basalt cliffs at the summit.

From Medford, take I-5 to Exit 14 in Ashland and make a left out of the exit. Turn left onto Dead Indian Memorial Road and head into the hills - in about 5 miles make a left turn on to Shale City Road at the large forest service sign. Another couple miles and you’ll see a sign for the Grizzly Peak Trailhead. Turn left here and follow the road til its end for the trailhead.

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