We found out after this hike that this recreation site has been closed because of the Big V. There was no signage at the Homesteaders Trailhead to indicate this. We saw no one on the hike itself but there were several cars parked at both trailheads when we returned. So we weren’t alone in not getting the message in time. Still, our mistake. 😦
Elk Creek is a tributary of the Rogue River and one that was planned to be turned into a reservoir to accompany the one that is nearby Lost Creek Lake. Fierce opposition prevented the dam from being finished (it was eventually breached to allow fish passage) and the land that was supposed to be at the bottom of a reservoir became a recreation area. The old road along Elk Creek now serves as a hiking, biking, and equestrian pathway.
We parked at the upper (Homesteaders) trailhead under absurdly blue and sunny skies 😎 and wandered down the old road and along the creek for about 2.5 miles before having a snack and turning back. We passed by the 7-Mile swimming holes and traversed some of the old farm land that is now meadows. We saw no people during the three hours we spent wandering around but did see plenty of wildlife – including flocks of woodpeckers, robins, and butterflies. But it’s still early yet for big wildflower displays. On the way back, The LovedOne became particularly adept at nearly stepping on “sticks” that wiggled and had forked tongues. 😮 Despite seeing no one, we returned to the trailhead to find a half dozen cars there. With all the sunshine pouring down and the various critters running around, we had a nice time of it.
On the drive home, we passed the entrance to the lower trailhead and remarked on why there were a bunch of cars parked along the road. As noted above, it was because the site is now officially closed and the gate to the Yellowrock Trailhead is locked. So either these folks didn’t get the closure message (like us) or are intentionally ignoring it (not us). Either way, this is yet another developed recreation area that is off our list for the duration. 😥HOME