Walking the Rogue IV: Paradise Lodge to Big Bend Trailhead 15-May-2021

We had to cover 11.4 miles (18.2 km) on this last day of our trip and we had to do it by a certain time. We had hoped to return to the Galice Resort via the Bear Camp Road but that wasn’t open yet. So we’d have to make the two-hour longer return via Brookings and Highway 199. To get back to our cars at a sorta reasonable hour, we had to be at the trailhead no later than 1330. Because the heat and overly full stomachs had been an issue, The LovedOne and I elected to skip breakfast and start our hike at 0730, right after coffee was served. No one, least of all us, was going to hike uncaffinated! This way we could hike in the cool of the morning and not have to overly hurry to reach the trailhead. Another option was to raft the last few miles to the trailhead. This is faster than walking and half our group availed themselves of this option.

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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.

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Walking the Rogue II: Black Bar Lodge to Marial Lodge 13-May-2021

Our second day on the Rogue River Trail would be our longest: 14.3 miles (22.9 km) from Black Bar, past Zane Grey’s cabin at Winkle Bar, to the lodge at Marial. The weather forecast had indicated a cooling trend but the weather itself hadn’t got the message. So we were looking at another hot (85°F / 29°C), sweaty day. Fortunately, there are several (very welcome) cool, shady stretches along this part of the trail. Most of the small, intermittent, unnamed creeks had already gone dry. But we noticed that many of the named creeks had not – which is probably why they got named in the first place. If you backpack this trail in mid-summer, when it’s really, really hot, these named creeks may be your only (mostly) reliable water sources. Because, while it may be a “river” trail, it doesn’t always take you very close to the cooling waters of the river itself.

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Walking the Rogue I: Grave Creek to Black Bar Lodge 12-May-2021

The Rogue River and the Rogue River Trail are iconic features here in Southwestern Oregon. Our first close contact with the Rogue River was when we hiked to its source at Boundary Springs in 2012. We backpacked the Rogue River Trail from Grave Creek to Foster Bar in 2015 and then rafted the river from Morrison’s Lodge to Foster Bar in 2016. We backpacked the Wild Rogue Loop in 2017 and, by 2018, had hiked all of the hikeable trails adjacent to the Rogue River between Boundary Springs and Lobster Creek [Note: Another trail has since been added between Lobster Creek and Gold Beach.]. We love the Rogue but other hikes beckoned. So we made some plans. Then the Big V threw all our hopes and wants and plans out time’s window. 😥

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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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Whisky Creek Cabin (Rogue River Trail) 13-Jan-2017

Whiskey Creek Cabin Rogue River Trail Oregon

Whisky Creek Cabin is the oldest known still standing mining cabin in the remote lower Rogue River canyon. It sits just above the iconic Rogue River Trail (BLM, USFS, Our Trip) about 3.5 miles downstream of the put-in at Grave Creek. It makes a great goal for a moderate and educational dayhike in all but the summer months, when it can be brutally hot in the canyon. With the remnants of the Great Storm of 2017 (now referred to locally as the “Big Dump”) still stifling access to higher elevations, we figured, based on a previous hike there (post), that the Rogue River Trail, which is south-facing and at an elevation of only 600 feet, would allow us to do a snow-free out-and-back hike to the cabin. The drive over to the trailhead was on roads disconcertingly lined with a foot or more of snow but when we got to Grave Creek, we found it and the trail almost entirely clear of snow! The added bonus for hiking at this time of year was a chance to see the Rogue at high water – it had come down some since being in flood just two days ago but was still impressively high.

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Upper Rogue River Trail (Foster Creek to Big Bend) 07-May-2016

Upper Rogue River Trail Oregon

This section of the #1034 was in poor shape in 2016 and recent reports say that it’s still a wreck. Expect slow-going and navigation challenges.

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 short (~7 mile) Foster Creek to Big Bend section and allowed for slow going due to winter storm damage and limited trail maintenance.

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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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Rainie Falls (Rogue River) 09-Feb-2016

Rainie Falls Rogue River Oregon

Last year we backpacked the 40-mile long Rogue River Trail from Grave Creek to Foster Bar – an amazing trip!  This year we have plans to raft the river – which should also be amazing but we won’t have to carry anything! The Rogue River Trail runs along the north side of the river while the much shorter, but equally scenic, Rainie Falls Trail runs along the south bank. We hadn’t hiked it before and so used that as excuse to reacquaint ourselves with this segment of the river. The Galice-Merlin Road was temporarily closed by a landslide, so we worked our way to the trailhead from Interstate-5 at Sunny Valley via some backroads.

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