The Rogue Valley

The Rogue Valley is a farming and timber-producing region in southwestern Oregon. Located along the middle Rogue River and its tributaries in Josephine and Jackson counties, the valley forms the cultural and economic heart of Southern Oregon near the California border.

The largest communities in the Rogue Valley are Medford, Ashland and Grants Pass. The most populated part of the Rogue Valley is not along the Rogue proper, but along the smaller Bear Creek tributary. The Rogue Valley is a popular fall destination in Oregon because of the hardwood forests there.

Southern Oregon’s climate is pleasant and mild and marked by four distinct seasons. Summer is hot and dry. In the fall temperatures begin to cool. Late October marks the beginning of the rainy season. Dryer, warmer weather arrives in March. The Rogue Valley’s main tributaries are Bear Creek and the Rogue River. To the east of the Rogue Valley are the Cascade Mountains; to the west and north is the Coastal Range; and to the south are the Siskiyou Mountains.

Surrounding mountain ranges help to moderate the Rogue Valley’s annual rainfall, which is generally less than 37 inches. Snow is common and heavy in the mountains, but light on the valley floor, where it normally melts within a few hours. During the winter, the daily low dips just below freezing. Highs in the summer average around 90 degrees, though there are usually several “scorchers” with temperatures in the high 90’s to low 100’s. The average growing season is 170 days, from April 30 through October 17.

The entire population of the Rogue basin is just over 250,000, with the majority of the people living in the area between Grants Pass, Medford and Ashland, which includes the towns of Central Point, Jacksonville, Phoenix and Talent.   The rural Applegate and Williams Valleys are filled with orchards, wineries, small farms, and historic sites.

Rogue River salmon were the backbone of the local Native American diet and culture, and today supports commercial and recreational fisheries while serving as the iconic symbol of the Pacific Northwest. In addition to the Rogue River, more than 4,000 miles of fish-bearing tributary streams are found throughout the watershed. While the Rogue is second only to the Columbia River in Oregon for salmon returns, Rogue salmon fisheries have been in decline for decades despite fishing restrictions and mitigation efforts.