Rogue River Trail
June 3-5, 2005
Three hearty souls decided to brave the wild and scenic section of the Rogue River Trail starting June 3rd for three days. Starting from the downstream trailhead at Foster Bar after a 2.5 hour shuttle, Ken Horton, Becky Lipton, and Evelyn Nagy set out in high spirits. Starting from the far end of the trail facilitates a much shorter drive back to Eugene on the last day when you’re already tired.
The first part of the trail meanders though cow pastures, and isn’t terribly exciting from a scenery standpoint, but it’s far superior to being inside! Once through the pastures and the more recent section of the trail, Flora Dell Creek with its beautiful waterfall is a cool refuge from the Southern Oregon heat. After a quick break and replenishing our water, we passed Clay Hill Lodge followed by the USFS guard station at Brushy Bar. A few miles past Brushy Bar we come upon Paradise Bar Lodge complete with its small herd of cattle and landing strip. Finally after 13 miles or so we hit our first campsite Blossom Bar which is named for the wild azaleas that bloom there. Blossom Bar also happens to be one of the tougher riffles on the river and thus offers good raft watching. After eating dinner and utilizing the handy bear box, everyone retires to their tents to get some rest.
After breaking camp, day two consists of some of the best scenery on the river. . . Mule Creek Canyon. Unfortunately, the canyon is also the hottest part of the trail. After several riffles like the Coffeepot and Stair Creek, we come out of the canyon and pass by the Mule Creek guard station and Marial Lodge. From the lodge we have to stay on the road for a couple of miles until we hit the Rogue River Ranch. The Ranch is another oasis on the trail. It sports nice lawns, picnic tables, a swimming hole (if you can brave the temperature), and a museum. We all had a snack and water break while Evelyn and Becky checked out the museum and the other historic buildings on the site. After the ranch, we hiked another nine miles to our second campsite Meadow Creek.
Day three dawns and the mileage is starting to show. We’re all a little sore but looking forward to the day and getting back to hot showers. Day three also brought intermittent rain so we were forced to break out the raingear in spots. As we head to the east trailhead, we pass such landmarks as Horseshoe Bend, Black Bar Lodge, Bronco Creek, Russian Creek, and the popular day hike destination Whiskey Creek with its historic cabin. Rainie Falls, a 15–20 ft. waterfall is about two miles from the trailhead at Grave Creek. Finally after the last two weary miles we make it to the trailhead and our awaiting shuttle. Congratulations to everyone for trekking 41 miles in three days! Thanks again to my father for providing shuttle services.