Upper Rogue River Trail (Mazama View Point to Hamaker Meadows) 27-Mar-2015

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon)

The Upper Rogue River Trail (USFS #1034) follows the Rogue River for about 47 miles from near its headwaters at Boundary Springs in the northwest corner of Crater Lake National Park to the North Fork Dam Recreation Area outside of Prospect, Oregon. The trail can be day hiked in sections between readily accessible trailheads.  Today we did the section from the trail’s start at Mazama Viewpoint on Highway 230 to Hamaker Meadows, passing Rough Rider Falls along the way. {UPDATE: The first four miles of this trail were burned in August of 2015 by the National Creek Fire.}

We started our hike to Hamaker Meadows at the Mazama Viewpoint just off Highway 230. There’s a sign here marking the start of the trail, which was thus easy to find – something which is not necessarily true for the trailheads for other sections of the #1034.

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
The trailhead sign at Crater Rim View

We started off through open forest,

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
The trail just beyond the trailhead

on a bluff overlooking the Main (or North) Fork of the Rogue River. About 0.5 miles from the trailhead, we passed a junction with the Boundary Springs Trail #1057 which you can take to the actual headwaters of the Rogue River.

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
The trail overlooks the Rogue along here

But this is also where the Rogue River cuts through the ash from the eruption of Mount Mazama some 7,700 years ago,

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
These cliffs are the Mount Mazama ash flow

so along here it’s only possible to catch a glimpse of some of the falls/cascades in the river.

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
An unnamed cascade

The snow permit requirement was still in place, but there was only one short section of trivial snow along the trail.

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
Not much snow for March

A little further along, we could see the ash flow cliffs that block ready access to this section of the river.

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
For scale the arrow points to a tree over 100 feet long

After about 5 miles of pleasant wandering through the forest along the bluff,

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
Along the bluff

we descended to the river, which looks so much smaller than it does further downstream.

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
On the shores of the Upper Rogue River

Along the river, the Forest Service has done a good job of keeping the trail clear of some very large trees – 5+ feet in diameter in this case.

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
Trail maintenance

About 6 miles from the trailhead, the river starts to pick-up speed again,

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
The Upper Rogue River gathers flow

in preparation for its plunge over Rough Rider Falls, the main waterfall feature on this section of the river.

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
Rough Rider Falls
Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
Rough Rider Falls

After Rough Rider, the trail continues on along the river,

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
Along the river and through the woods

through a boggy spot,

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
A informal log crossing of the bog

to a small, unnamed fall about 7 miles from the trailhead.

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
A small, unnamed waterfall

Then the river slows again as it enters a large meadow complex, where we followed the trail up and away from the river,

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
Slack water on the Upper Rogue

and continues through forest to a trailhead on Forest Road 6530 near Hamaker Campground. This trailhead is poorly signed and is easy to miss from the road. It also shares space with an Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) trail which goes left while the #1034 goes right.

Upper Rogue River Trail Mazama View Point Hamaker Meadows Oregon
The OHV trail goes left, while the #1034 goes right next to the signpost (arrow)

Overall, a really pleasant hike (9.3 miles; no elevation gain) with travel through open and riparian forest and good close-ups of two waterfalls. Hikes on the Upper Rogue require stop at Beckie’s Cafe in Union Creek for a piece of their very, very good homemade pie. And so it was…

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