Monday, October 14, 2013

A Week in Grants Pass, OR

Grants Pass, OR, whose slogan is "It's the Climate!", has long been on our list to check into a little further. The city of about 35,000 people sits in a valley surrounded by tree covered hills with the Rogue River running through it, and the Illinois and Applegate Rivers nearby. Immediately South of town, the Applegate Valley Wine Trail takes off with about 20 wineries to visit.

Thanks to a tip from Mona Liza, one day we hauled our bikes over to the Depot Street Bridge to ride a portion of the Rogue River Greenway. Still in its infancy, this trail system will eventually connect Grants Pass and Ashland via about 50 miles of walk/bike paths.

We rode a section of the Greenway trail from Depot Street Bridge to Valley of the Rogue State Park, with Interstate 5 on one side and the Rogue River on the other. It was pretty but the noise of the freeway was a constant companion. Valley of the Rogue State Park has some lovely, well separated campsites for any size rig if you don't mind the sound of the freeway for a brief stay.

Depot Street Bridge

We also did some short local hikes during our stay, including: Cathedral Hills and Dollar Mountain.  Trails tend to be well shaded by madrone, manzanita, oak and mixed conifer forests.

A slice of Grants Pass valley from Dollar Mountain.

Grants Pass has a very, very good farmers market on Saturdays. Even though it's near the end of the growing season there were numerous produce stalls packed with end of summer tomatoes and peppers, plus squash and root veggies and greens galore. There was also a long row of crafters booths we did not even peruse. A very worthwhile stop if you are here on a Saturday.

Rosie checks out our farmers market haul, including sweet corn picked up at an honor farmstand.

We're staying just a few miles from the Applegate Wine Trail so it only made sense to drive the beautiful back roads one day and stop to check out at least one winery. Troon Vineyards is the most well known of the vineyards along this trail and we enjoyed a tasting and saw the last of the seasons grapes being picked.

Zinfandel grapes at Troon Vineyard.

On our last full day in town (today) we played disc golf on the wonderful course at Tom Pearce Park. This course has great variety: open meadows, shady treed sections, rocky areas, ditches and even a funky old dam that plays prominently in the course; all along the Rogue River. There were even old apple and pear trees on the course making me wonder if this was once an orchard. Oh, this is rare, they even had course maps available at the first tee!

There was a little bit of fall color in the park.

For hole 16 you actually have to throw through this old dam!

Tomorrow we move on in our slow Southward migration only about 40 miles to the Ashland area for a few days.


  1. Neat! Would have loved to play disc golf with you guys!!

    Love you!

    1. You would really enjoy this course...and it doesn't have the hills of Whistlers Bend! Our day at the coast and redwoods was wonderful. You guys might want to consider camping at Jedediah Smith State Park. It's probably only about 3 hours drive for you...and the redwoods are incredible!

    2. Thanks for the tip! James has been wanting to go to the redwoods!

    3. P.S. I wrote "thanks for the tip" BEFORE I read your comment below... Creeeepy. :)

  2. In all my years in Oregon, I never spent anytime in Grants Pass. I have heard the wineries there are gaining recognition.

    Ashland I do know pretty well, but mostly for annual treks to the plays and eating great food. We love breakfast at Morning Glory and dinner at the Thai Pepper. A tip for cheap tickets is to go to the green space in front of the box office and buy them from folks who are selling extras or ones they no longer want. Neat town.

  3. Glad you made it to the trail, and caught some fall colors too!

  4. Where in the south are you heading? Do you have your winter planned out yet?

    1. Somewhat...we'll do the holidays in San Diego from Nov 23rd to Jan 23rd. Then Yuma for teeth cleaning, then somewhere in AZ...haven't decided where exactly. So far we think we are summering in Olympic Pen, so we'll plan our trajectory based on that...just haven't figured out the AZ part yet! Have you made any decisions on winter???

    2. We'll be back in Tucson for the winter. As I am sitting here losing all of my muscle mass, we're planning on a 5 month rebuilding program. I'm thinking we're going to try a personal trainer so as to be as efficient about it as possible.

    3. That sounds like a good idea. If we pass through Tucson we will look you up!