Review: Southwest Oregon’s trailhead towns

Guide: Southwest Oregon’s trailhead towns

07 JUNE 2017 | SELMA, ORE. — Our recommendations after more than a decade of traveling around Southwest Oregon on the way to the trailhead. These aren’t the only great establishments to visit. They’re just the places we’ve been to and liked.

Grants Pass: It’s the people
Stop in at Climate City Brewing Company (509 SW G Street) for a cold beer. Great pub menu in post-hike portions, pizzas, and a strong kids menu. Climate City’s brew master, Acacia Cooper, puts out a line of crisp and well balanced ales.

And get this: They’ll fill and seal a 32 oz can of beer from their taps, ideal for the outdoors. No glass and they’re easy to pack, crush and recycle. “They keep just like any other canned beer,” says Joe, a bartender at Climate City.

Hit up Rogue Roasters (610 SW 6th Street) for your caffeine fix. Forget some gear on your way to the woods? Check out Three Rivers Outdoor Store (208 SW G Street) for a good line of hiking and backpacking gear.

Hidden gems in the Illinois Valley
The Smoking Duck (18252 Redwood Highway, Selma) has sophisticated pub fair, rotating taps, and comes with a robust cultural experience. Stop in at Taylor’s Sausage (202 Redwood Highway, Cave Junction) for a full, meat-centrid deli that starts at 6am with a breakfast menu with lumberjack sized portions. Great trail snacks and legendary dogs for cooking over the campfire.

Head to the Oregon Caves (19000 Caves Highway, Cave Junction), Oregon’s oldest and probably it’s most interesting National Monument. The Chateau, a full service hotel built by the Civilian Conservation Corps is clean, quaint, and has been maintained in period. Get breakfast and lunch at their Coffeehouse, a 1950s style wrap around diner. Great place to leave your kids with the grandparents and head for a hike to Mt. Elijah. Selma’s Deer Creek Center (1241 Illinois River Road) has affordable beds.

On the up: Oregon’s south coast
In Brookings-Harbor? Head to Vista Pub (1009 Chetco Ave) for mouth watering burgers. Star Sushi (611 Chetco Avenue) and their dimmed, rustic lounge next door have excellent menus. Feeling peckish after hiking the 27 miles of trails that lead to secluded beaches in Samuel Boardman State Corridor? Head to Gold Beach and hit up the Arch Rock Brewing (28779 Hunter Creek Loop, Gold Beach) for local brews that have brought international acclaim. They focus on a few staples and the result is mouth watering. Hit up The Tav next door for juicy burgers and Arch Rock beers.

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Build yourself a ferocious appetite climbing Humbug Mountain and head to Port Orford for The Crazy Norwegian Fish & Chips (259 6th Street, Port Orford). The people running this place know what they’re doing, and their namesake menu item is top notch, the batter this soft and crunchy piece of perfection that cradles a perfectly cooked, juicy piece of local fish that is big enough for a hiker’s appetite. Their staff says everything is made on site.

And we believe it. The homemade tartar sauce is something out of a dream, and double, or even triple down on the coleslaw. If you can’t stomach anymore, bring home some of their dessert, and come back again for coconut shrimp.

We would never encourage you to turn on the news while on your way to and from the trailhead, but if you need WiFi to get some business done, find a Josephine or Curry County branch library and plug in. Don’t leave without giving a donation. ###

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