Lower Rogue 3-18-24

Photos by Linda, Randy and Steve

Ashland Hiking Home

The weather man forecasted a perfect spring day so we headed up to the Lower Rogue River for one of our favorite hikes. Ten from Ashland met four more at the trailhead.

With the bridge still closed as a result from the 2022 Rum Creek fire, we took Exit 71(Sunny Valley) off I-5 and wound our way 10 miles along Grave Creek to the north side of the Rogue.

At parking, some were wondering if they had brought enough clothes as a cool morning breeze blew through. But once up on the trail the breeze stopped and we could feel the welcomed sun. So it was a very lucky day to be out hiking the Lower Rogue and not a day for layers but for sunscreen and sun hats.

At this time of the year, one can expect spring runoff from snow melt at the seven seasonal water crossings on the trail. The first was easily apparent as water was flowing into the parking lot.

High praise to all of our hikers who made it across all of the crossings on various stones without any falls or damage!

The trail quickly climbs up about fifty feet from parking where you get your first view down the green river and see the first of many early spring wildflowers. Growing from water seeping through the cracks on the cliff face were yellow Monkey Face flowers (Seep Mimulus); pink ball flowers (Rosy Plectritis), blue flowers with telltale spurs (Larkspur), normally white but showing a periwinkle shade (Milk Maids or Tooth Wort), yellow shiny leaf (Western Buttercup), perhaps the beginnings of Scarlet Gilia, Red Bells or Scarlet Fritillary, and Henderson's Shooting Star pointing towards earth.

The array of colors from spring flowers are a special treat at this time of year along with views of the wild and scenic Rogue River.

Another treat for our first timers on the trail was heading up Whisky Creek, which was roaring with white water rapids.

Crossing the bridge we took the short hike up to Whisky Cabin. Lew Martin, the resident gold miner in the 1950s and into the 70s, kept a one bedroom cabin that included a cold storage locker, outside shower, toilet and tool shed, and featured a ditch dug for panning gold.

After visiting the historic cabin we headed back down to have lunch by the Rogue.

Our hike from the TH to the cabin was about 4 mile on the rocky up and down trail with temps in the 60s. On the way back it was a bit more uphill as we were going up river and temps rose into the 70s, a first for 2024!

Randy's Garmin calculated 7.3 miles RT with 800' of elevation gain.

It was a stunningly beautiful spring day but winter plans to return next week.

Some of us stopped at the Weekend Beer Co. in Grants Pass post hike for refreshments.

Happy Trails,
Rich