Lost Creek Lake is a very large reservoir on the main stem of the Rouge River approximately half way between Crater Lake National Park and Medford, Oregon. In a narrow canyon toward the lake’s north end is the Blue Grotto. Here a seasonal stream falls some 40 feet over a cliff composed of bluish-greenish ash from the eruption of Mount Mazama – the massive volcano that blew-up some 7,000 years ago to form Crater Lake. The Grotto is open all year but your best chance to see this ephemeral water feature is between March and May when runoff (from rain or snow melt or both) is highest. It’s a great winter destination when we don’t want to engage with snow in the high country.

Today was a bluebird day between winter storms when nothing was going on at the library and our extra moist winter virtually assured water for the falls.  So off we went to the Lost Creek Trailhead at Lost Creek Lake.  From there, it’s some eight miles out-and-back along the North Shore Trail to the Grotto.  The Lewis Road Trailhead is closer but the section of the trail between Lost Creek and the Grotto is particularly nice as it weaves easily through oak forests, stands of pines and cedars, and open meadows that will explode with wildflowers come Spring.  In addition, there are viewpoints for the lake and the surrounding hills.

Our hike today was in near perfect Spring-like weather 😎 and the falls were gushing as vigorously as we had anticipated.  And the first wildflowers were blooming – a patch of Spring Golds in one of the open meadows and tiny clumps on Snow Queens under one of the forest canopies.  So after a snack at the falls, we headed back to finish yet another great hike to one of our enduringly favorite winter destinations! 🙂

Through one of the moss-laden oak forests
Pines and cedars along the trail
Lost Creek Lake
A Flota-Potty is moored in the bay below the Blue Grotto
Blue Grotto
Blue Grotto (today there was enough water for a double pour-off)
Blue Grotto
From behind the falls
From behind the falls
Over the lip
And into the pool
Clouds were coming in as we headed back
Winter trees and clouds
Back along the trail below Fawn Butte
Snow Queens – one of the earliest blooming wildflowers