Saturday, October 3, 2015

Featured Nat'l Recreation Trail: Rogue River NRT, Oregon

Featured National Recreation Trails

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Every kind of trail activity is represented in the listing of designated NRTs. Besides hiking and bicycling, the system includes water trails, motorized routes, snow tracks, greenways, and equestrian paths. The NRT program showcases the diversity of trails across America, from our cities and suburbs to the deserts, waterways, and high mountains.

Rogue River National Recreation Trail, Oregon

Photos courtesy of Mike Bullington

The Rogue River Trail traverses the wild section of the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River along its entire length, offering scenic landscapes and opportunities for hiking and backpacking.

The Rogue River National Recreation Trail runs 40 miles along the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River in southwestern Oregon. The route offers a variety of amazing landscapes and rewarding hiking experiences.

In addition, the western 16 miles cross the Wild Rogue Wilderness. These national designations recognize and help protect the Rogue’s outstanding scenery, fisheries, and recreational resources for present and future generations. The trail and the river are co-managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s Medford District and the US Forest Service’s Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

The Salem, OR Statesman Journal describes the setting: “The mountains encase the valley in thousand-foot walls, and the river glides deep and green past wildlife, forest, and a civilization of rustic lodges built beginning in the 1930s.”

The Rogue River Trail is managed for hiking and backpacking only. Most of the trail is well constructed and has moderate grades. The average hiker takes 4-5 days to walk the 40 miles.

The trail may be hiked from either end or from the middle. During the heat of the summer when temperatures may reach 100 F, many choose to hike from west to east, keeping the afternoon sun at their backs. Moderate temperatures make spring and fall popular seasons to hike.

Downed trees, landslides and high water in creeks can create difficult passage during the rainy season, usually November through April. Annual maintenance usually occurs April through June, after winter storms are no longer a threat.

Backpackers will find a number of campgrounds along the way. Many campsites are sandy beaches next to the river. These sites may also be used by boaters. Private lodges along the trail can also accommodate hikers who make reservations.

The Rogue River Trail follows the north bank of the river as it winds its way toward the Pacific Ocean. The eastern trailhead is at Grave Creek about 30 miles northwest of the city of Grants Pass. The western trailhead is at Big Bend near Foster Bar, about 35 miles upriver from the coastal town of Gold Beach. The Marial Trailhead and Rogue River Ranch provide access near the midpoint of the trail.

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