The Rogue River was originally called ‘River of the Rogues’ after the Native Americans that occupied the area and refused to give up their land to early settlers without a fight. When trappers and fur traders first began moving into the territory in 1836, and until 1856, there were countless numbers of battles between the native Shasta, Takelma and Rogue River tribes and the new comers to their land. The largest surge of new settlers came with the passing of the Donation Land Act in 1850. This Act gave couples 320 acres and single white men 160 acres, if they agreed to live on and cultivate the land for a minimum of four years. In 1851 the area saw another huge increase in settlers when gold was discovered on the Rogue. There was a total of over $70 million in gold taken from the river; $5 million was taken from Tyee rapids alone by a group of Chinese miners. Over time the abundance of gold dwindled and most of the valuable animal pelts had been trapped out forcing the settlers to turn to agriculture. The valley was largely used for farming because of its mild climate which allows for an extra long growing season, especially for fruit and nuCommercial salmon fishing was also once popular along the Rogue until it was outlawed in 1962 by state legislation banning the use of gill-nets.
The Rogue River became famous in Hollywood in the 1930’s. Many famous actors and actresses such as Clark Gable, Ginger Rogers, Zane Grey and Herbert Hoover loved the Rogue River area. Clark Gable was reportedly once overheard at a start studded Hollywood diner saying “I’d rather be eating flapjacks at the Weasku Inn,” an historic inn located near Savage Rapids Dam.
Starting with such shows as “Gunsmoke,” “Rooster Cogburn” and “Butch Cassiday and the Sundance Kid” (remember that jump from the cliffs to the water below?) among more recent movies such as “The River Wild” and “Dead Man”, the Rogue is used for its savage beauty and versatile landscape to create the backdrop for many movies and T.V. shows. It has also become home to many stars such as Ginger Rogers, Kim Novak and Kirstie Alley.
The Rogue is one of eight rivers Oregon designated as a wild and scenic river. The river begins its journey high in the Cascades at Boundary Springs located inside Crater Lake National Park. From there the river twists and winds its way through the Cascade, Siskiyou and Coastal Mountain Ranges, entering and leaving four counties, before emptying into the Pacific Ocean 215 miles later at Gold Beach, OR. There are three sections to the Rogue, the upper, middle and lower. The major tributaries of the Rogue River are the South Fork Rogue, Elk Creek, Bear Creek, the Applegate River and the Illinois River.
The Rogue River provides a wide variety of year round fishing opportunities including Chinook and Coho salmon along with steelhead, brown trout, cutthroat trout, catfish and sturgeon. The Rogue is of course most famous for its salmon and steelhead runs. Chinook and steelhead run in both the fall and spring and Coho run in the fall. There are many places along the Rogue where fishing is good from stream banks and gravel bars. A large portion of the river is also fished with boats.
Upstream of Lost Creek Lake (also known as the Upper Rogue) provides a large variety of trout. The middle section of the Rogue from Lost Creek Lake downstream to Grants Pass produces major opportunities for both fall and spring Chinook as well as Coho in the fall and an amazing summer and winter steelhead run. This section of the river also provides the opportunity to catch some very large rainbow trout.
The Lower portion of the Rogue River from Grants Pass to Grave Creek boasts great runs of summer and winter steelhead and a large variety of trout and possibly even a catfish or two. The bottom half of the Lower Rogue from Grave Creek to Foster Bar allows one the opportunity to fish again for summer and winter steelhead, spring and fall Chinook and Coho. The portion of the Lower Rogue near the Pacific Ocean also produces the opportunity to fish for perch, lingcod, and sturgeon.
Trails & Waterfalls
Upper Rogue Trail & Knob Falls
The Upper Rogue Trail is a 3.5 mile trail that follows along the banks of the turbulent Rogue River. It starts with a Natural Bridge that is formed where the river flows through an underground maze of lava tubes before releasing a portion of the water flow into a small pool below the bridge. The remainder of the water continues through the tubes to the east bank where the largest of the tubes emits the remaining flow into the main channel of the river.
The trail continues through a lush, green forest and can be slippery when the ground is wet. The surroundings vary from old growth forests of huge trees to low lying brush and the water ranges from swift, raging rapids to pools of calm, quiet water. The trail continues climbing above the river to a view point for a spot in the river known as Knob Falls. Here the river takes a sharp turn before rushing through the narrow chute of a collapsed lava tube. The trail continues to Woodruff Bridge, which not only provides a peaceful picnic area, but is also known as a favorite fishing spot.
The Rainie Falls trail is a 4 mile round trip hike. Portions of this trail are a steep, narrow and somewhat rocky climb, but well worth the hike. In the spring there are natural water runoffs that cross portions of the trail making it potentially slick. During the summer the hike can get very hot, but there are many beautiful calm pools of water along the way to cool off. Approximately halfway up the trail, a beautiful view is provided of the bare and rocky Sanderson Island. Once you reach Rainie falls, there is a beautiful spot for a peaceful rest and a wonderful view of salmon and steelhead jumping the falls when the season is right.
Union Creek Trail
An 8.2 mile round trip hike through the beautiful forest along the banks of Union Creek, a tributary of the Rogue River, this trail begins in the beautiful little village of Union Creek, Oregon on the Upper Rogue River. The trail takes you through old growth forests of Douglas Firs with beautiful wildflowers and shrubs along the way. Further upstream, the creek banks are lined with moss covered volcanic rock. About three miles into the hike, the trail provides a breathtaking view of Union Falls before turning north for an addition half mile to the upper trail head which ends on Road #610.