Tag: Lake

Wildflowers of Butte Falls Hwy

Wildflowers of Butte Falls Hwy

The drive to Butte Falls from Medford is magical this time of year. Blankets of wildflowers line the side of Butte Falls Highway, making the scenic drive a botanical wonderland adventure. Southern Oregon experiences tremendous native wild flower blooms every year. Now is the time to see them right outside of Medford, Oregon.

 

Depending on the rainfall, wild flower blooms on the rim of the Rogue Valley will extend into mid-July. Our native varieties withstand the heat in full bloom. The Shasta daisies, mildewed, and Indian Paintbrush blooms are in full swing right now and they grow thick by the road side of Butte Falls Hwy. Among the other varieties are Bachelor’s Buttons, Black Eyed Susan’s, and Lupines.

Many hiking trails in the area give you an up close and personal experience with these flowers. I have not experienced the overwhelming variety and numbers of native blooming plants, however, as you will find now in the Butte Falls area.

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From Medford, Oregon take Hwy 62 to Butte Falls Hwy. Continue up Butte Falls Hwy to the Town of Butte Falls. The best experience is the 3 mile stretch before the town of Butte Falls, continuing through Butte Falls, on to the Willow Lake turnoff. This is where you will experience the most roadside blooms and variety.

Mary Jane Feetham

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Sunset Trail – Lake of the Woods

Sunset Trail – Lake of the Woods

Our local mountain lakes have so much to offer our families.Experience a leisurely stroll on the network of trails located at Lake of the Woods!

 

The Sunset Trail leads you along the lake side, through the forest, towards the resort. Epic scenes of Mount McLoughlin and Lake of the Woods itself are almost constantly visible. The trail itself is well maintained and easy to wheel a stroller on.

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Educational Boards are located along the trail side that teach you about the history of the area and the ecology of our local wilderness. Chairs along the trail make for a luxurious rest along the way.

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The Sunset trail meanders along the lake and crosses the Rainbow Bay Park at one mile. Here is another set of restrooms, and the resort is less than 1/8 of a mile from that point. Enjoy the day by making use of this wonderful trail system. You may learn a thing or to on the way about the area.

Lake of the Woods is about 45 minutes from down town Medford. From Hwy 62 head up Hwy 140, towards Klamath Falls to the Lake of the Woods Resort Rd. Turn right and pass the resort entrance. At the stop sign, turn right on Dead Indian Memorial Hwy. In less than a mile, turn into the Sunset Bay Campground area. There is a boat launch, an excellent swimming area, a bathroom, and a trail head. It is $5 to park for the whole day at the Day Use Area.

Mary Jane Feetham

 

 

On the banks of the Klamath River

On the banks of the Klamath River

The Klamath River is a wonderful place to spend the day. It is accessible off of Highway 66, less than one hour from Ashland, Oregon.

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Grassy meadows, pelicans, the sound of a soothing river. What a wonderful spot to be in for the day with your children. I have come to love the Klamath River and all of it’s tributaries. The fish are abundant as well as the birds. My favorite place to visit this river is close to home, near Keno, Oregon. Topsy Recreational Site is directly above the dam. Migratory birds flock to this region and this is a great spot to enjoy them.

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Hiking along the trails above and below the dam is an adventure in itself. There is an abundance of wildlife and farmland activity. The shallow slopes of the bank and calm beaches above the dam are great for exploration. A wonderful article including a map to this area was provided at Klamath Birding Trails.com.

I enjoy camping off of the Topsy Grade Road above the dam. In the morning, I take the kids to the river bank and we walk the bank of the Klamath River. After lunch, we take a short drive to the J.C. Power Dam and drop below, where the river runs swiftly to take a few casts. This section of the river is famous for it’s cold water … goldfish? Yes, gold fish are a common catch in this area. Check the water conditions above and below the dam to plan your tackle at ODF Topsy Reservoir.

Fishing for gold
Tyler Ridgeway and 10″ Goldfish     Photo Courtesy of Brian Northrup

 

 

I have smaller children and it can be challenging to spend any length of time below the dam due to the rocky terrain. This is World Class trout water though and is definitely worth your while to try.

 

 

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Directly below J.C. Boyle Dam

I have smaller children and it can be challenging to spend any length of time below the dam due to the rocky terrain. I return to the milder regions of the river for the afternoon at Topsy Reservoir. This is a great opportunity for a mini-day vacation where you can truly lose yourself in the beauty on the banks of the Klamath River.

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Mary Jane Feetham

 

 

Lake of the Woods

About 45 minutes from down town Medford, is a wonderland of family adventure opportunities. It is a great place to get away for the day!

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A while back, I was given an opportunity to live on Lake of the Woods for a year. It was then that I realized how many adventures were available year round at our high mountain lakes. I spent the summer sun bathing and swimming. Late summer was time for huckleberry picking. The fall brought on oyster mushrooms and shaggy mane mushrooms and great sunsets. I snowshoed, x-country skied, and sledded the winter away. Spring, like now, is when everything opens back up and gives way to hiking, biking, and some pretty good Rainbow trout fishing as well.

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I take my children hiking on the trails located right off of the resort. They are easy, level, well-marked paths. Our family favorite is the trail between Lake of the Woods and Fish Lake, about 7 miles. It is an epic adventure that takes you through the evidence of volcanic activity from the Mt Mazama eruption, and travels among old growth pines and firs. Excellent food and lake time awaits you either way you go. Both of the lakes boast good food and swimming access at the Resort.

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There are several ways to enjoy Lake of the Woods for free as well. Unless otherwise marked, parking directly off of the road on Forest Service land, not resort property, is perfectly legal. The Forest Service governs the land the lake sits on, from Dead Indian Memorial Hwy to 140 to Brown Mountain Rd. The Resort is well marked and has fee parking within their facility property. The trails can be located out of Rainbow Bay, the Lodge area, and Aspen Point.

 

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Before the summer rush hits, it is a beautiful place to come walk in the woods. Lake of the Woods resort opened May 1st this year, and is now open daily. There is still a few packs of snow here and there, but the winter seems to have melted away, and the roads are in great condition.

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Lake of the Woods is an amazing place to take the children to play in the woods and water.

Mary Jane Feetham