NW Life

Explore the Upper Rogue River

OPB | Sept. 12, 2012 midnight

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The mainstem of the Rogue River gets plenty of attention as a haven for rafters. But have you ever headed to the Upper Rogue? This is a beautiful stretch of river that's often accessible within a short walk from your car. 

The mainstem of the Rogue River gets plenty of attention as a haven for rafters. But have you ever headed to the Upper Rogue? This is a beautiful stretch of river that’s often accessible within a short walk from your car. 

Head up Highway 62 from Medford towards Crater Lake and check out various river views like the Rogue Gorge. Sheer, basalt channels give the river real force here.  

Just above the gorge where there are no fences, the waters tumble over a stairstep of rocks. Be careful. There’s nothing to grab on to if you slip in, so show the river respect by keeping your distance. (A child was swept away a few months ago.)

In another stretch known as the Natural Bridge, the river disappears into underground lava tubes and then surges out of its subterranean path. The Forest Service has built a trail around to the best viewpoints. 

About 10 miles north of the turn to Prospect, the Union Creek Campground allows you easy access to one of the Rogue’s tumbling tributaries. The creek seems to have changed its channel in the last few years and now it flows through the forest. Those trees probably won’t last much longer if the river continues to drown their roots. In the meantime, it makes for some colorful reflections. 

So bring your camera and enjoy some classic cascades in the Cascades. 

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