The Rogue Valley is a farming and timber-producing region in southwestern Oregon in the United States. 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.
The valley forms a relatively isolated enclave west of the Cascade Range along the north side of the Siskiyou Mountains. It is separated from the nearby coast by a high section of the Southern Oregon Coast Range. The valley is characterized by a mild climate that allows a long growing season, especially for many varieties of fruits and nuts. A regional manufacturing industry is centered in Medford, the most highly populated area of the valley. In recent years the valley has emerged as a wine-growing region and it is the location of the Rogue Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area). The mild climate and relative isolation had made the valley a popular retirement destination. The community of Ashland is famous for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Interstate 5 follows the valley through Ashland and Medford.
In the early 19th century, before the first European American settlers arrived, the river valley was inhabited by the Shasta, Takelma, and Rogue River tribes of Native Americans. The early fur traders named this river the "River of the Rogues". A flood of white settlers began to arrive in the valley after the Donation Land Act, which allocated 320 acres (1.29 km2) of land to each married couple. Between 1836 and 1856, the valley was the scene of a series of bloody conflicts between white settlers and the Rogue River tribe. In 1851 gold was discovered in the nearby mountains. The mining activity was centered on the now-restored town of Jacksonville west of Medford. At the peak of the gold rush some $70 million was extracted from the Rogue.
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