From California, you first descend into the lush Rogue Valley, a region made famous by the nationally designated “Wild and Scenic” Rogue River. Originally the home of the Rogue Indians, early pioneers Jesse and Lindsay Applegate are credited with opening the road to Southern Oregon in 1846.
Just north of the Rogue Valley are the Hundred Valleys of the Umpqua. All along I-5 you’ll find charming valleys to explore with attractions to delight visitors of all ages.
What's in the Valley?
ASHLAND - On I-5 just north of the Oregon-California Border.
Situated in the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains, Ashland is one of America’s great small towns. With its wide boulevard, quaint neighborhoods, lush gardens and parks, it’s a place to walk, bike, browse and enjoy. This is home to Southern Oregon University and the famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
JACKSONVILLE/ APPLEGATE - On Highway 238, four miles from Medford.
From Ashland, a scenic drive through fertile orchards and vineyards brings you to historic Jacksonville. Founded amid the frenzy of gold seekers in 1851, this gold rush town is filled with more than 100 historic buildings and a main street right out of the Western movies (it’s even been in a few).
MEDFORD - On I-5, north of Ashland.
For more than 100 years, Medford’s agricultural products have been world-renowned. Now a growing number of vineyards and wineries are producing world-class wines. In addition to enriching your own wine cellar by buying “at the source,” scrumptious salad dressings, homegrown jams and jellies, fresh vegetables, classic cheeses, delicious tortas and other specialty food items are available when you tour Medford’s lush orchards and fruit packing plants.
GRANTS PASS - On I-5, 30 minutes north of Medford.
Grants Pass is the classic river town, home of the legendary "wild and Scenic" Rogue River, and is ringed by forested mountains. Visiors will revel in its history and friendly small-town atmosphere.
ROGUE RIVER LOOP - North of Grants Pass off I-5, Exit 61 or 71.
The historic Rogue River Loop is an area rich in history and natural attractions. First stop, the Applegate Trail Interpretive Center in Sunny Valley. This famous trail, the Southern route of the Oregon Trail, comes alive here and reveals the spirit of early pioneers, the tragedies of the Rogue Indian Wars, and stories of true American heroes. Just a short walk from the Interpretive Center is the Grave Creek Covered Bridge, one of the few remaining covered bridges in Oregon. Continue north on the Rogue River Loop and you will come to the historic Wolf Creek Inn (you can also reach Wolf Creek on I-5).
SOUTH UMPQUA VALLEY - On I-5, 40 miles north of Grants Pass.
This valley is where the South Umpqua River and Cow Creek run by the historic towns of Canyonville, Riddle, Tri City, Myrtle Creek and Days Creek. All these rural towns were originally along the famed Applegate Trail. They all offer a wonderful glimpse of rural life in Oregon. Restaurants, motels, a championship golf course, a pioneer/Indian museum, shopping, a veteran’s memorial, and an Indian gaming center can all be found in this area. Visitor activities include covered bridge viewing, fishing, hiking, boating, and camping.
THE ILLINOIS VALLEY - Between Grants Pass and the Coast along Highway 199.
If you’re headed from Grants Pass to “America’s Wild Rivers Coast,” you’ll drive straight through the scenic Illinois Valley. After passing Lake Selmac, one of Oregon’s finest state parks, you will pass several botanical wonders, from fields of carnivorous Cobra Lilies to meadows of wild flowers found nowhere else in the world.
ROSEBURG - On I-5, one hour north of Grants Pass.
The city of Roseburg and its famed "Land of Umpqua" present a fascinating world of natural treasures to explore. The North and South branches of the Umpqua River provide unequaled river splendor. Enjoy whitewater rafting, riverside trails for hiking, steelhead and salmon fishing and spectacular waterfalls.
HIGHWAY OF WATERFALLS - Highway 138 from Roseburg to Diamond Lake.
This drive has been designated a National Scenic Byway. It is filled with a breathtaking collection of waterfalls, fishing holes and nature trails. This drive will take you along the North Umpqua River to Diamond Lake. In the winter the lake is a popular snowmobiling, cross-country and downhill skiing area with snow-cats providing access to miles of untracked powder. In summer, camping, hiking and boating are yours to enjoy.