Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rogue River Ranch and Trail

Earlier this week I visited the remote Rogue River Ranch, next to the Wild Rogue Wilderness on the lower Rogue River. It's a wonderful corner of the world and I enjoyed comparing notes with the caretaker there. Buck and his wife are new to the place and are both working their butts off to maintain the beautiful historic ranch. Being in such a remote area they are way off the grid and rely on solar panels and a hydro generator to keep the lights on. The ranch is three hours from Grants Pass, or the coast- much of it on dirt roads- so they take very few trips into town. However, due to the rafting traffic down the Rogue River, they get lots of visitors. Snow closes all access to the site, so they close down completely in the winter, starting at the end of October.

I hiked the Rogue River Trail just downstream from the ranch as it winds its way through some of the most spectacular scenery in the region. The photo above shows the Rogue River as it drops into Mule Creek Canyon, a deep slot canyon carved into basalt. This canyon is the narrowest section of the lower Rogue, so narrow in fact that it's possible to wedge a raft in sideways during low water years. Just downstream from this pic is the dreaded Coffee Pot, a wirlpool that traps rafts every year.

Immediately downstream from Mule Creek Canyon is the sublime Inspiration Point, perched high above the Rogue at the confluence of Stair Creek. From this point I stood transfixed, watching Stair Creek Falls spill directly into the Rogue.

The view just downstream from Inspiration Point.

Pinnacle Point just upstream from Blossom Bar rapids.

Three kayakers showing the proper approach through the notorious Blossom Bar Rapids. This rapid was once impassable until Glen Woolridge, one of the first river guides, blasted out the rocks with dynamite to create a passage. This is still considered the most dangerous rapid on the river, as has taken several lives over the years.

Still, it's a very makeable rapid if you know the proper approach through the rocks. I love this pic of a rafter and his sheepdog calmly making their way through the rapids. Note the life vest on the dog.

Pancreatic problems cut my trip short, but it was all worth the long drive out to this remote corner of Oregon.


  1. Great shots Tree-G! Hope you got a good day in before the belly twisters chased you back home. I'm still riding on the buzz from our outing with Monkey Mind to China Camp; I love that spot. Heal up, buckaroo.

  2. Great photos! Someday you'll have to show us where the Rogue River trailhead is. I've been out thataway before but can never seem to find the trail.

  3. super sicko, brother Trizzle-Gizzle! Makes me miss Oregon like my Mom goes to college! Take care and keep posting the chrondillies!