The Upper Rogue River Trail stretches along the length of the Upper Rogue Wild and Scenic River, and crosses many roads where you and your fur-buddy can access it, including several established trailheads with parking, some with restrooms. Located within the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, this National Recreational Trail can be traveled in its entirety in one long trip, but its 7 natural segments make it possible to break it up into shorter hikes, each with its own unique characteristics and thrills.
The river and its trail are distinguished by high, white pumice bluffs left from the explosion of the Mazama Volcano 8,000 years ago that created Crater Lake to the west. Ash and lava rained on the area forming black lava chutes, tunnels and crevices, and an especially distinctive lava tube at Natural Bridge that carries the raging whitewater river underground to where it re-emerges 3 miles away in mellow pools. An observation deck allows visitors to observe the phenomenon.
At the Woodruff Bridge Trailhead, you'll have access to 4-mile Takelma Gorge beginning with a long waterfall at a curve in the river. At Rough Rider Falls, you're treated to the sight of moss-covered rocks and trees over which the water falls 30 feet, raising a foggy mist. At Boundary Springs near Crater Lake, the river, fed by an underground reservoir, is surrounded by grassy meadows with wildflowers, and a spot where you and your pup are invited to take a swim. Along the Natural Bridge to Big Bend segment, you'll walk through deep forest scented with pine and the river flowing noisily beside you.
The drama of the river's course is contrasted with the other-worldly feeling of the paths you walk on, only about 2 feet wide and surrounded by trees, thick ferns, lupines and Indian Paintbrush. The wildlife here is typical of the area and includes bears, eagles and the ever-present mosquito, along with the small mammals scurrying in the underbrush.
Whether you stop at one of the campgrounds along this trail and trail-hop, or backpack the entire length of the pawsome natural byway, you and your fur-buddy will find plenty to hold your interest and weillmake lifelong memories.
The Upper Rogue Wild and Scenic River guides the route for this trail, and its name is an apt description of the terrain and personality of the river. Seldom mild and always treacherous, getting too close to it or trying to navigate or cross it except at designated areas can be life-threatening. Keep your pup firmly leashed and stay on the trail.