Peaks and Wine: Pairing Mountaintops with Vino
With the oppressive smoke choking the Rogue Valley this summer, it seemed that many of us did not make it out to the coveted hiking trails and wineries that make everyone outside Southern Oregon jealous. Though the smoke is officially scheduled through October, the haze is starting to clear, and the hilltops—and wine offerings—beckon. And especially when a glass of wine is waiting at the bottom, these hikes should put an extra spring in the step.
Grizzly Peak and Grizzly Peak Winery in Ashland: Hikers seeking to view the wildlife need look no further. The moderate hike up to Grizzly Peak with a loop back down is a manageable 4.7 miles with a tidy 921-foot elevation gain. Wildflowers, butterflies, birds, and even a few black bears have been spotted on this trail—no grizzly accounts as of yet. Fellow peaks Mt. Shasta and Mt. Adams are visible from the breathtaking view at the top.
To get there: Head east on Hwy 66 from Ashland. About 1/4 mile east of Hwy 5, turn left onto Dead Indian Memorial Road. Continue on Dead Indian Memorial Road for about 6.4 miles. Turn Left onto Shale City Road. From here the way to Grizzly Peak is marked. There are at least 2 forks in the road, just follow the signs.
Grizzly Peak Winery is about a 30 minute drive from the Grizzly Peak trailhead, but sitting on their patio, looking up at the peak while sipping their 2013 Rogue Rouge, a Bordeaux blend, makes it worth the wait. Or for white, their OR Wine Awards Gold Medal 2014 Roussanne/Marsanne blend will be the refreshment needed after a hike.
Grizzly Peak Winery, 12 – 4 pm, Thursday – Sunday, 1600 E. Nevada Street, Ashland, 541.482.5700
Roxy Ann Peak and RoxyAnn Winery in Medford: The Roxy Ann Peak hike offers views of Medford rivaling those of a monarch overlooking their domain. In addition to the traditional 4-mile hiking loop with a bit over 1000-foot elevation gain, the surrounding trail system boasts designated downhill bike trails and an equestrian trail added earlier this year.
Roxy Ann Peak and the Prescott Park Trail System can be accessed at Prescott Park, 3030 Roxy Ann Road, Medford.
A quick 10-minute drive from Prescott Park, RoxyAnn Winery has grown to over 200 acres since starting as Hillcrest Orchards in 1908. They make a delectable Pear Wine from their very own Hillcrest Orchard pears, or for a lighter take on a red, try their 2015 Honor Barn Red while congratulating yourself on a hike well done.
RoxyAnn Winery, 12 – 7 pm, Monday – Thursday, 11 am – 9 pm, Friday, 11 am – 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 3283 Hillcrest Road, Medford, 541.776.2315
East ART Trail in Jacksonville and DANCIN Vineyards in Medford: A delightful 5.6-mile chunk of the proposed 50-mile Applegate Ridge Trail (ART) was just unveiled for the public last year. The full ART seeks to combine some already existing trails and will conclude to the West at the Cathedral Hills Trail in Grants Pass. It is advised to shuttle and enjoy this hike as a thru trek.
The trailhead is located off Sterling Creek Road, off of Cady Road, which is accessed at the top of the Jacksonville Hill on Hwy 238.
A mere seven minutes away lies DANCIN Vineyards, voted by Messenger readers as the Best Local Winery earlier this year. After a strenuous hike, settling down on their lawn with a 2017 Passé Southern Oregon Chardonnay is anything but “passé.” And their fruit-laden 2016 Danseur Southern Oregon Syrah is another gem to toast a gorgeous day in the Applegate with.
DANCIN Vineyards, 4 – 8 pm, Wednesday, Noon – 8 pm, Thursday – Sunday, 4477 S. Stage Road, Medford, 541.245.1133