The Rogue River National Recreation Trail traverses the wild section of the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River for it's entire glorious 40 miles. Majestic waterfalls, steep canyons, and glistening side-streams are just the beginning of this special place.
Although long-distance runners can do this in a day, it is most commonly backpacked over 3 to 5 days. Many people use the private lodges instead of camping.
Be prepared for everything: exposed sections can be brutally hot in the summer sun, but a cold day with drizzle will be especially cold in the deep forest. There is easy access to the river every few miles, and a swim might be just the ticket to keep you going on a hot day.
It is possible to use raft support to make this a luxury experience suitable for everyone: some people can raft or kayak while other run or hike. You can even mix up it half and half. Momentum River Expeditions
is particularly good at this and can help create an incredible experience for runners, hikers, rafters, or any combination.
Features: River/Creek — Swimming — Views — Waterfall — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Potable water can be found at Galice Resort, Smullin Visitor Center at Rand, Rogue River Ranch and Foster Bar boat launch site. River water should be filtered and treated.
Bears are common on the lower third of the trail. You MUST use the provided bear-proof boxes and hanging systems at the lower campgrounds.
The BLM website
provides excellent detailed information about campsites and more.
The first five miles are quite rocky due to lava flows that have been folded upright. The lava is about 140 million year old, and the Rogue River has been eating away at for the last 1 million. This section is exposed and can be hot.
At 1.7 miles, you'll pass Rainie Falls, one of the larger falls of the river. At mile 3.3, Rum Creek comes in on the south bank and Whisky Creek on the north. A quarter up Whisky Creek lies a miner's cabin dating from 1880 and used until 1973.
At 9.3 miles you'll find the Black Bar Lodge, which was built in 1932 and is now a commercial lodge run by the same family since the 1960's (call ahead for reservations).
At Mule Creek (22.7 miles in), you can see terraces dating back 8,000 years that Native Americans used for farming. The Rogue River Ranch, also located here, was built in 1903 and is now a museum that might be open. You can get potable water here from May 15-October 15.
At 22.8 miles, the trail just goes along a road for 2 miles. It is possible to start or end your trip here if you want to do half of it.
At 23.9 miles, there is another private lodge named after the community of Marial. Reservations are required.
The official Wild Rogue Wilderness begins at mile 24.4, and the next two miles are some of the most scenic. Take it slow and enjoy this section.
The aptly-named Inspiration Point is at mile 25.2, where the trail goes on a narrow ledge high above the cliff. The trail is both beautiful and exciting. You'll run on a ledge carved out of the cliff high above the canyon - don't make a misstep! This is another particularly hot and exposed section.
The Blossom Bar rapid, at mile 26.6, is the most difficult rapid for boaters. It was impassible until rocks were blasted out many years ago.
More lodges at mile 27, 28, and 33 (the Paradise Bar Lodge, Half Moon Bar Lodge, and Clay Hill Lodge) are open to the public... if you have reservations.
Just past the Paradise Lodge, you'll pass the Devils Backbone
trail, which is a nice option that will add a big hill and a big view to your run.
The final miles include one substantial hill, but as you roll into the parking lot you should have a huge smile on your face!
Along the river you may see deer and otters or even black bears looking for a meal of salmon. Bears, grown accustomed to easy pickings from boaters, may prove to be a nuisance in numerous campsites.
Birds abound, such as fish-eating osprey and great blue heron, and lizards hasten over the dry slopes above the water. Ticks and rattlesnakes are often encountered.
The river corridor is also excellent habitat for poison oak, whose stems and shiny leaves in groups of three can be a problem throughout the year. Mosquitoes are present during a good part of the season and yellow jackets can also be a nuisance during the typically hot, rainless summer days.