Stars, Strides, and Shakespeare: A 40+ Women's Adventure in Southern Oregon

Sierra Club Outings Trip # 14249A, Lodge


  • Enjoy day hikes to mountain lakes and along the Rogue River for pristine views of wilderness areas
  • Stay overnight in Ashland, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival


  • Comfortable lakeside lodge on Upper Klamath Lake
  • On-trip transportation, some scheduled airport pickups
  • B&B or comfortable hotel in Ashland


DatesAug 9–15, 2014
StaffCandy Barnhill

Trip Overview

Please note that the trip title has changed from what was originally published. If you have questions, please contact us.

The Trip

Ladies, leave the "routine" behind. Pack your hiking boots, spirit of adventure, and discover Oregon! 

Home to 13 national forests totaling almost 30 million acres, more than 6,000 lakes, 363 miles of coastland, snowy mountains, high deserts, 16 known hot springs, and 17 wine growing regions, Oregon is calling to you to come explore. Oregonians pride themselves on treating the places they love gently and being "pretty green minded." In order to minimize our impact on the environment, we will embody the same philosophies, including practicing Leave No Trace wilderness principles while exploring some of Oregon’s best hiking trails and natural wonders.

Southern Oregon is one of the 13 most bio-diverse regions in the world. Our Discover Oregon adventure begins in Ashland, 15 miles north of the California border and home to healing Lithia water springs and the world-class Oregon Shakespeare Festival. We will travel by van to our private lodge near Klamath Falls, ideally located on the banks of the Upper Klamath Lake. From the lodge’s wrap-around porch, we will watch the sun rise over the mist-shrouded marsh of Klamath Lake National Wildlife Refuge. In the evening, we’ll bid the setting sun farewell as it slips behind stands of old-growth trees while we sip a cup of chamomile tea. No Oregon adventure would be complete without wishing upon a falling star. Our trip is timed to provide front-row seats beneath endless black satin skies as the Perseid Meteor shower peaks. Mindful that not every meteor shower is a winner, we’ll embrace the meteor watcher’s motto, “You may see a lot, you may see many, but if you stay inside you won’t see any.”

Our hikes will include trails of varying terrain and difficulty. They were chosen to give unique forest experiences and an introduction to the various ecosystems of Klamath County, Sky Lakes, and Mountain Lakes wildernesses. A naturalist will join the group to assist with tree and bird identification, and discuss how Klamath Siskiyou forests depend on the variability that fire brings to the landscape and the adverse effects climate change is having on Southern Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

One of the most well-known rivers in Southern Oregon is the Rogue River, which is 215 miles long from its start within Crater Lake National Park to where it meets the ocean at Gold Beach. During our rafting adventure, we will watch for bald eagles, blue herons, dragonflies, river-side beaver dams and fox seeking their lunch. We will use a commercial outfitter with experienced, professional river guides and excellent safety practices. Participants on the rafting adventure will be asked to sign a liability waiver from the commercial outfitter.

Crater Lake, known for its intense blue color, is the deepest lake in North America and the 8th deepest lake in the world. Crater Lake National Park is Oregon’s only national park. An ongoing research project at Crater Lake is studying the effects of climate change on Pikas -- the “rock rabbits” that live in timberline rockslide. They are so intolerant to heat that they can die from overheating on a 78° F summer day. Other long-term monitoring projects focus on owls, white-bark pines, and rare plants.  We will also view the Pinnacles and stop at historic Crater Lake National Park Lodge to give the rocking chairs a try while contemplating Phantom Ship and Wizard Island. A moderately steep climb to the Watchman’s lookout tower provides an eagle’s-eye view across the lake and panoramic views of the Park. 

On our return trip to Ashland via the Rogue-Umpqua National Scenic Byway, we will hike beside the Rogue River, see the Natural Bridge lava tubes, and the Rogue Gorge caves. Our Discover Oregon adventure culminates with an overnight stay in Ashland. We will have time to visit an organic chocolatier, partake in the locavore food movement, shop unique boutiques and wineries, or enjoy Ashland’s arts scene. Although not included in the trip price, it's highly recommended to enjoy a backstage tour and/or attend one of the 11 plays produced by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, performed in one of three unique theatres.

Guest speakers during our Discover Oregon week may include staff from KS Wild, Rogue Riverkeepers, Rogue Chapter Sierra Club, or the lodge owner, an Iditarod finisher.


Day 1: We will depart Ashland and/or Medford with plans to arrive at the lodge by mid-afternoon. On the agenda are unloading the vans, settling in, getting acquainted over social hour and a light dinner. The lodge has a wonderful porch for relaxing on while listening to bird songs or the wind’s whispers; short trails can be explored at any time.

Days 2-3: We'll enjoy day hikes of varying difficulty and length, breaking for lunch in a scenic spot along the trail or near a lake. In the evening, we'll watch for meteors from the lodge’s porch, while sipping hot chocolate or chai tea.

Day 4: After a leisurely breakfast, we'll enjoy a half day of river rafting. We'll stop along the way for a picnic lunch on the river bank.

Day 5: Today we'll have an early departure for Crater Lake National Park. En route, we'll stop to enjoy the scenery at several viewing points. After lunch there will be time to visit Sinnott Memorial Overlook Center or the visitors center, or hike down a steep switchback trail to Cleetwood Cove’s tour boat dock. In the early evening, we'll return to the lodge and pack for next day’s early departure.

Day 6: After tidying the lodge and loading our gear in the vans, we’re off to Ashland. The highlights of the day will be hiking along the Rogue River (which includes our last on-trail lunch) and viewing the Natural Bridge and lava tubes. After a late-afternoon arrival in Ashland, we'll check in at our accommodations, take a quick shower, and sit down for a group dinner (not included in trip price) at one of the local eateries. 

Day 7: We'll start our day together with a group breakfast at a local bakery or sidewalk café. Our morning activities will be based on group input; the afternoon is free to enjoy Spay-Day or explore downtown Ashland. We'll say our goodbyes after a late-afternoon shuttle to the airport.

Every attempt will be made to follow this itinerary; however weather conditions and/or other unforeseeable events may necessitate an impromptu modification.



Getting There

The starting point is Ashland, then, Medford, Oregon. Participants should plan to arrive by noon on the first day of the trip, August 9th. Departures should be scheduled after 4 p.m. on the last day of the trip, August 15th. There will be one airport pick-up on the day the trip begins and one drop off on the final day of the trip to/from the Rogue Valley International Airport in Medford. Details will be provided to confirmed participants. Participants interested in arriving early or staying after the trip to explore Ashland and/or Southern Oregon are encourage to contact the leader for additional information.

Transportation to our lodge from Ashland/Medford and to daily activities while staying at the lodge will be provided.

Accommodations and Food

Trip price is based on double occupancy. Participants can expect to share their room with at least one other participant. The lodge has semi-private rooms with en-suite baths, a commercial kitchen, and a great room for evening discussions and late-night reading.

The accommodations in Ashland will also be double-occupancy in a B&B or comfortable hotel.

Your leaders believe meals are part of the trip experience. Nutritious, wholesome meals made with locally grown food whenever possible will be served. Breakfasts and dinners will be at the lodge; in Ashland, breakfast and dinner will be in a local restaurant that adheres to green practices. Lunches and daily snacks will be assembled at the lodge and eaten on the trail. If you have specific dietary restrictions, please discuss them with the leader before signing up for the trip. Meals will be vegetarian friendly. In Sierra Club tradition, participants will assist with daily kitchen chores of meal preparation and clean up on a rotating basis. We will model recycling, conservation, and minimal use of water and disposable products.

Trip Difficulty

The hikes are easy to moderate; however, based on the abilities of the group and at the discretion of the leader, more strenuous options may be available in addition to the planned moderate hikes. Hikes range from four to 10 miles, with modest elevation gains. Participants should be in good physical condition, hike regularly, be accustomed to carrying a loaded daypack, and enjoy participating in group activities. The river rafting trip is a professionally guided whitewater trip and includes Class III rapids. A liability waiver from the commercial outfitter must be signed. 

Equipment and Clothing

Well broken-in hiking shoes or boots are a must. Closed-toe Tevas or similar footwear is not appropriate for hiking. A list of recommended clothing and personal gear will be sent to participants accepted on the trip.




  • Kerr, Andy, Oregon Wild: Endangered Forest Wilderness. (Out of print, available through Amazon)
  • Luoma, Jon R., The Hidden Forest; the Biography of an Ecosystem.


Oregon’s Klamath-Siskiyou region covers nearly 11 million acres. There is much work to do to protect Oregon’s forests, waters, wildlife, and private property. Major conservation challenges in Oregon are similarly faced by many other states in our nation. The immediate and long-term effects of climate change, sustainability, recycling, and eating locally are all big challenges. Guest speakers and evening roundtable discussions will inform us of heroic grassroot and planned, sustained group efforts in these pivotal areas. 

All Sierra Club leaders are volunteers, dedicated to conservation and the enjoyment of the outdoors. If at the end of our Discover Oregon adventure you share just a bit of our love for the outdoors, we’ll feel that we’ve done our job well. Our wish is that the hikers on this outing will become strong believers in the need to protect our wild areas, become dedicated stewards of the Earth, and live more greenly.

In 2014 America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Sierra Club, various other organizations with a wilderness focus, and the four federal wilderness management agencies are vigorously planning this celebration. The goal of the effort is to assure that a broader public knows about the concept and benefits of wilderness. Sierra Club Outings is a vital part of the celebrations for wilderness.
While the Act was far in the future when our outings program started, we were already promoting the principle behind it: to forever set aside from human developments certain special places, by civic agreement. This is the basic principle on which the Sierra Club was founded. The wilderness anniversary gives us an opportunity to highlight our organization’s leading role—in publicizing this principle, in passing the 1964 Act, and in achieving more designated wilderness since then.

Sierra Club National Outings is an equal-opportunity provider and will operate under permits from Crater Lake National Park, the Fremont-Winema National Forest, and the Klamath-Siskiyou National Forest.



Candy Barnhill, an outdoor enthusiast and Master Gardener, enjoys volunteering as a Sierra Club Outings chef and trip leader. Smitten with traveling nationally and internationally, she enjoys being outdoors with her shelties, living healthfully, making new acquaintances and sun-soaking on any beach or trail. Candy looks forward to learning your strategies for living greener lives and sharing adventures on National Outings trips.

Assistant Leader:

Theresa Breen's interests include photography, animals (especially Corgis), and travel.

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