Road Trippin' : Hiking the rocks

KTVL/Alex Mesadieu

MEDFORD, Ore. -- If you haven't hiked them, you've certainly seen them driving through the Rogue Valley. The Table Rocks are not only popular for the hikes, but their history dates back thousands of years. Both landmarks were incredibly important for Native Americans.

"They used the Table Rock area to gather roots from the camas bulbs, hunt and fish in this area. It was very important for all the native tribes who lived here," Jeanne Klein with the Bureau of Land Management said about the history.

Klein said there was conflict in the 1850's, when miners and settlers traveled to the Rogue Valley. Major wars eventually ended with a peace treaty signed in the area. Many years later, Klein said there was a big effort to protect the Table Rocks.

"In the 1970's, this area became important to the Sierra Club for preservation because of the rare plants," Klein said about the transition. BLM started managing the area in the eighties and dedicated it as an area of critical environmental concern.

"There's a plant that grows no where else in the world, it's called the dwarf wooly meadowfoam and it only grows at the top of the rocks. It's a really unique, dime-sized white flowering plant."

BLM also started an educational program where they lead thousands of students on a hike every spring. The hike on Upper Table Rock is about a mile and a quarter and Klein says you pass through 4 different plant communities.

"You have the oak woodland, then you get into the chapparal, then mixed woodland which is shadier and cooler, and then you come out on top and there are beautiful views. On a clear day, you can see for a long way," Klein said about the view.

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