Walking the Rogue III: Marial Lodge to Paradise Lodge 14-May-2021

This, our third day on the Rogue River Trail, would be our easiest, as only 4.2 miles (6.7 km) of level trail separates the two lodges. The cooling trend had yet to arrive so it was another hot (85°F / 29°C) day. We lounged around Marial Lodge for most of the morning (paying catch with Maggie), then pulled ourselves together and headed out after lunch. Management of the trail passes from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the U.S. Forest Service at Marial. So soon after leaving the lodge, we passed an historic Forest Service station – which has suffered some damage since we first saw it in 2015.

The USFS Fireman Station at Mule Creek (2015)

Although this was a short hike, the scenery was extra impressive. Past the station, the trail emerges from the forest and runs along the rocky cliffs above Mule Creek Canyon, one of the narrowest sections of the river – the narrowest is called the Coffepot. When we rafted through here in 2016, the raft was just barely narrower than the canyon walls. 😮 At the lower end of the canyon, we passed Stair Creek Falls and turned the corner at Inspiration Point, high above the river.

On the way to Mule Creek Canyon
Rafts (arrow) in Mule Creek Canyon
Approaching Inspiration Point
Siskiyou Lewisia
Inspiration Point
Stair Creek Falls
Rounding the corner to Blossom Bar
Bog Lotus (growing in a small seep next to the trail)

The highlight of the day was watching Glen and Sarah run Blossom Bar Rapids, possibly the most difficult rapids on the Rogue River.

Blossom Bar Rapids

A number of rapid course changes are required to navigate it safely and avoid screaming and ropes and swimming and other un-fun stuff. Being the experienced guides they are, both Glen and Sarah made it look easy – which, of course, it’s not. We watched perched on cliffs above the river, after having dodged a pair of rattlesnakes on the trail (the only ones we saw on this trip).

After the excitement at Blossom Bar, we plodded along over Paradise Creek and on to Paradise Lodge. This is by far the largest and fanciest lodge on the river and one we stayed at during our 2016 rafting trip. You can hike down to it from the end of the road at Marial (as we did) or reach it by jet boat from Gold Beach.

Paradise Creek
Cooling in the shade at Paradise Creek
Arriving at the big meadow at Paradise Lodge
The main building at the lodge
Sarah, Barb, Sue and The LovedOne on deck at the lodge

The 85-acre property was first homesteaded around 1903 and began operating as a lodge in the 1950s. Today it can accommodate about 50 guests, with guest rooms in several buildings. Our room was modern – with a rustic vibe – and comfortable. However, unlike at Marial Lodge, which had us eating in their dining room, at Paradise we were given take-out meals, which we ate on the deck. Which was fine, except for all the extra trash this approach generates. There was no ready explanation for why dining rooms just four miles apart, and in the same county, would have such different takes on how to serve virus-safe meals.

As tomorrow would be our second longest section of the trail, we ate dinner, hung out a bit, and turned in a dusk. Getting to bed is expedited by the fact that the generators that power these lodges are typically turned off by 2200 to save fuel. By this point, however, we were so far into decadence we didn’t care. 🙂

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5 comments

  1. We rafted it in 2016 and the guides made it look easy. I don’t remember Blossom Bar as being particularly scary – it was more “Oo Ah” kind of exciting (but maybe we didn’t know any better). The narrowness of Mule Creek Canyon was fascinating.

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  2. I’ve always thought Blossom Bar is beautiful…but it looks scary to raft it. Those guides really are skillful. I’m still happiest looking down on it, LOL.

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  3. We were on that part of the trail between about 10AM and noon. Passed one woman going upstream with a giant backpack and a party of 4 wanting to know where they were. Funny we didn’t see you two. Those hills between the Big Bend Trailhead and Hicks Creek are my least favorite part of what is otherwise a wonderful trail.

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  4. Looks like we almost crossed paths.😄 We were on the trail that day doing a day hike to Clay Hill Lodge from the TH near Foster Bar (post to come). Looks like a nice way to experience the trail.

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