Trails of Oregon’s Rogue River (October 2018)

Rogue River Trails Oregon

Southern Oregon’s Wild and Scenic Rogue River flows, from its headwaters at Boundary Springs within Crater Lake National Park westward for some 215 miles to pour into the Pacific Ocean near Gold Beach, Oregon. Hiking trails – some loved a lot, others almost unknown – follow the main river and its tributaries for over 100 miles. This post highlights nine such trails across the Rogue’s entire watershed. Links to day hikes or backpacks on each are provided so you can go out and experience the Rogue – in whole or in part – for yourself.  Go outside, go Rogue!

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Wild Rogue Loop Backpack 20/22-Jun-2017

Wild Rogue Loop Trail Rogue River Oregon

Oregon’s Rogue River flows some 215 miles from its headwaters at Boundary Springs within Crater Lake National Park to the Pacific Ocean at Gold Beach, Oregon. Although not as large as the Columbia or the Willamette, it is nonetheless one of Oregon’s iconic rivers.  It’s been in our hearts for years but only recently have we had the time to give it the attention it deserves. Between 2012 and 2016, we hiked (in sections) the entire Upper Rogue River Trail (USFS #1034) as it roughly parallels the river from near Boundary Springs to Prospect, Oregon.  In 2015, we backpacked the famous Rogue River Trail (USFS #1160) from Grave Creek to Foster Bar and also did a rafting day trip from Robertson Bridge to Grave Creek.  In 2016, we bolstered the local economy again with a multi-day rafting trip on the Wild and Scenic Rogue from Grave Creek to Foster Bar.  After attending a presentation earlier this year by Gabriel Howe of the Siskiyou Mountain Club on their 2015 restoration of the Wild Rogue Loop, we knew we had to hike it.  With lingering snow keeping us from the High Cascades and parts of the Siskiyou Crest, now seemed like just the time to do this lower-altitude loop.

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Rafting Oregon’s Rogue River 6/9-Jun-2016

Rogue River Oregon Rafting

Oregon’s Rogue River flows from its headwaters at Boundary Springs within Crater Lake National Park westward for 215 miles to where it enters the Pacific Ocean near Gold Beach, Oregon. One hundred twenty-four miles of the river have been designated as Wild and Scenic and hiking trails follow it for approximately 100 miles.  The most well know and justifiably famous of these is the Rogue River Trail, a National Recreation Trail which runs for 40 miles from Grave Creek to Foster Bar.  In 2015, we backpacked this trail over four days and three nights (post). After having walked the trail, we thought rafting the river would a complimentary (and less energetic) way to gain a different perspective on one of Southern Oregon’s most iconic features. We were also enamored of the beer-carrying capabilities of a raft versus our backs (since freeze dried beer has proven to be the ultimate oxymoron). We got our friends Wayne and Diane to join us and arranged for a 4-day rafting camp/lodge package with Morrison’s Rogue Wilderness Adventures (based on our having used them previously to shuttle our car for the backpack and for a “family comes to visit” day of rafting on the recreational (Hog Creek to Grave Creek) section of the river).

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Whisky Creek Cabin (Rogue River) 16-Feb-2016

Whisky Creek Cabin Rogue River Oregon

When we backpacked the Rogue River Trail last year, we were so anxious to get on with that long-awaited backpack that we blew right past the Whisky Creek Cabin historic site. On reflection, we came to realize that we should have slowed it down and done a visit. So, thus chastened, we used a rare break in the waves of storms rolling over Southern Oregon (and elsewhere) to remedy that oversight.

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Rogue River Trail (Southern Oregon) 27/30-Apr-2015

Rogue River Trail Oregon Grave Creek Foster Bar

There are numerous good hikes in Southern Oregon but the premier backpack – and probably the best known – is along the Rogue River National Recreation Trail from Grave Creek to Foster Bar. It’s been on our “to do” list for a long time and when we saw four days of mostly good weather in the forecast, we went for it. Descriptions of how to access the trail and what’s along it are numerous – we found the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) detailed trail log to be reasonably accurate and helpful. We arranged with Morrisons Rogue Wilderness Adventures (Merlin, OR) to drop us at the Grave Creek Trailhead, store our truck on their lot, and then shuttle it around to Foster Bar when we came off the trail – they did a great job and it was well worth it to not have to worry about having our car clouted.

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