My favorite tips and locations for visitors to Grants Pass and the Rogue River in southern Oregon. Thank you to Karen Fronek for her assistance with this post.
The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to Evergreen Park.
When I crave southern Oregon cuisine, I turn to AJA Restaurant or the Taprock Northwest Grill.
To escape work I go to the Blue Stone Bakery or River Rock Cafe for a good cup of coffee and quiet time.
For complete quiet I can hide away at the Weasku Inn (W-Ask-U) a historic lodge located just outside of the city limits on the Rogue River Highway.
If you come to Grants Pass, get your picture taken on a Hellgate Jetboat or at Evergreen Park with the bridge in the background.
If you have to order one thing off the menu at Taprock Northwest Grill, get the crab cakes.
Grants Pass is my one stop shop for fishing and outdoor accessories. Located above the Hellgate Jetboat Excursions office, ShopRiverRock features 4,000 square feet of gifts and home decor.
If I don’t have a lot of money on me, I got to Wild River Brewing and Pizza.
For a splurge I go to AJA (A-ja) an Asian-inspired boutique restaurant that only seats 25. The chef and her husband cater to each guest, using fresh, local products. The couple, formerly of Santa Barbara, brought their skills to Grants Pass and have kept their prices affordable. They also do great winemaker dinners, paired with local wines. Call ahead for reservations.
Photo opportunities in Grants Pass include Evergreen Park, Hellgate Canyon and Wildlife Images, a rehabilitation and education center for wild animals.
The best vantage points are taken by walking or boating to the top of Hellgate Canyon in southern Oregon.
Hellgate Jetboat in Southern Oregon
The most random thing about Grants Pass is the Rogue Winterfest located at the Bear Hotel.
In Grants Pass, an active outdoor day might include walking, rafting, fishing and hiking.
My favorite walking route is the Bear Camp Trail which runs along the Bear Camp Ridge, the highest portion of the Galice Ranger District 1.5 mile moderate hike or Big Pine Loop Trail, an interpretive loop trail.
To find out what’s going on at night or on weekends, read Grants Pass Daily Courier.
You can tell a lot about Grants Pass from visiting the rural area of Applegate Valley and visiting wineries like Troon Vineyard, Wooldridge Creek Vineyard, Schmidt Family Vineyards or Valley View Winery.
In the spring you should attend Hope Floats and evening of water, wine and wishes.
In the summer you should attend the Britt Festivals in historic Jacksonville or Oregon Shakespeare Festivals in Ashland, both just 30 minutes south of Grants Pass.
In the fall, visit the Applegate Valley for the changing of the leaves and a taste of regional wines. On this scenic 25 mile drive, many of the farms are open for visitors to purchase local cheeses, produce and homemade jams.
For a great breakfast treat or espresso go to the River Rock Cafe for a quality cup of joe. The Good Bean Coffee is air-roasted, compared to drum roasted, producing a rich cup of coffee. They also have fresh house made scones.
Just outside of Grants Pass you can visit Jacksonville, Oregon. The town is a historic gold mining town. There is a one-two mile walking trail around the Britt Festival amphitheater that offers spectacular views and beautiful Oregon forests to enjoy. Have a paninni sandwich at Mama Mia’s Gelateria located on California Street, and a gelato, of course. Enjoy an espresso at the Good Bean Coffe House (this is the coffee used at the River Rock Cafe.) If you have time for dinner, go to the Garden Bistro at the McCully House featuring local products from farmers and food purveyors.
The best way to see Grants Pass is on foot.
If you have kids, you won’t want to miss Wildlife Images or the Hellgate Jetboat.
Want to visit Antarctica in February compliments of Quark Expeditions? Bloggers have a chance to win a 12 day, all expense paid trip on the cruise ship Lyubov Orlova, a 112 passenger ship. You can join me in entering the contest, or you can vote to send me on this adventure of a lifetime.
Here’s what I had to say in my official entry:
“Toto, we must not be in San Francisco,” remarked Nancy Brown, as she awoke from her dream. The northern California adventure travel writer was still reeling from the news that she had been selected to be the official Quark Environmental Blogger for the February 2010 Expedition to Antarctica.
Brown, a blogger and social media fanatic, was looking forward to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and sharing her discoveries with her What a Trip readers, as well as her Twitter, Facebook and YouTube friends from across the globe.
She’d often fished the wild rivers of Alaska, and felt at home on float planes, helicopters and Zodiac rafts, but the adventure traveler had never been on a cruise ship to Antarctica for an up close encounter with penguins.
“I see the Quark Expedition as an amazing opportunity and am honored that I was selected. There was a huge response to the call for entries and there was quite a lot of competition among the well qualified participants. I look forward to blogging about my experiences and hope this mission will be part of the continuing global effort to protect our environment.”
Asked how her family felt about her upcoming 12 day adventure, Brown shared that her husband has always been extremely supportive of her travels. The family’s two teenagers have learned to become self-sufficient during their mother’s journeys and always look forward to her return.
However, Nancy can’t go on this expedition unless she receives enough votes. So do your part. Vote for Nancy D. Brown. And, yes, you do have to register to vote.