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Wild Flowers on Upper and Lower Table Rock Trail


Upper and Lower Table Rock Trails

Lower Table Rock Trail flower

Cascade Mariposa Lily

Upper and Lower Table Rock trails are some of my favorite springtime trails, especially during the mid-week. I like that they go through a few distinct eco-systems, each with its own set of wild flowers. The trails start from two separate car parks and briefly go through oak savannah, where you see meadow/woodland flowers, such as camas, buttercups, mariposa lilies, shooting stars, with white oak trees and chaparral. The trails then steadily wind through more forested and shady section as they climb up the side of their mesas.  On top of each mesas, is where you can see the mounded prairie and vernal pool plant communities. The meadow flowers that form concentric circles around the vernal pools are especially striking. Depending on how much spring rain we get, the vernal pools might be seen as late as early May.  It’s usually better to go in April.

Lower table rock trail vernal pools

Vernal pools with Fields of Gold

 

 

The Table Rock vernal pools are micro-ecosystems of habitat that support a federally threatened species of fairy shrimp and a state endangered plant called dwarf wooly meadowfoam (Limnanthes floccosa ssp. pumila). This plant is endemic to the Table Rocks, meaning it is found nowhere else in the world.

You can see Mt. McLoughlin and Mt Ashland from the top of the mesas, as well as the Rogue Valley floor stretching south toward the Klamath/Siskiyous.

 

Directions

From Interstate 5, take Exit #33 heading east one mile on East Pine Street and turn north (left) at the second signal onto Table Rock Road. For Upper Table Rock, turn right on Modoc Road. For Lower Table Rock continue to Wheeler Road and turn west (left). The signs for both Upper and Lower Table Rock Trails are well posted.

Details of the Upper and Lower Table Rock Trails

Lower Table Rock trail

Arrowleaf balsamroot

Parking and toilet facilities are available at each trail. Water is not available along the trails or at the trailhead. Dogs are not allowed on the trails. Allow approximately 2-3 hours for a round trip hike — time depends on fitness and how much gawking one does along the way.

Upper and Lower Table Rocks are side-by-side mesas. The Upper Table Rock mesa is shorter and the Lower Table Rock mesa is taller. Yeah, it took me awhile to work out that the upper and lower designations didn’t describe height, but pertained to positions vis-a-vis the Rogue river. Up river = Upper Table Rock: further down river = Lower Table Rock.

Upper Table Rock’s out and back trail is 2.5 miles, with an elevation gain of 730 feet. You can extend the walk for as long as you like by wandering on top of the mesa.

Lower Table Rock’s trail is 3.5 miles round trip with elevation gain 770 feet. It is a moderately difficult trail. The trail offers interpretive signs for hikers. For those eager to extend their hike, you may enjoy walking along the abandoned airstrip to the edge of the rock. This will add an extra mile to your trip.

Both trails at their south edges of the rock offer a great view of the unique habitat of Kelly Slough. This wetland lies 800 feet below and provides unique habitat for many aquatic birds.

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