Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rogue River Walk

The Rogue River was the star of the show

I first heard about the Rogue River Walk in a newspaper article I recently read. Apparently, there was a grassroots effort made by various Gold Beach citizenry several years ago to put in a brand spankin' new 6 mile trail alongside the Rogue just upstream of Gold Beach. The basic reason for the trail was to provide access for birders to see and observe some of the feathered wildlife that reside in and along the river. Me, I just heard 6 mile trail (a 12 mile round trip, better yet!) and decided to enjoy the new-trail smell on a pleasant spring day.

Dollie is a tree hugger!
Beginning at the trailhead closest to Gold Beach, Dollie and I walked on the road for about 25 yards in back of our car and descended on a rocky and muddy path towards the river. The trail was rough, faint, with wild up and down swings. After struggling through this, the trail climbed steeply up to the road about 25 yards in front of our car. Not a good first impression!

However, the trail got very cool very quickly as it cut across prominent Coyote Point. The path was well marked, relatively level, and clear of debris as it meandered through simply gorgeous woods comprised of tan oak, madrone, leafless maples, and aromatic bay laurel. 

The sky was blue and cloudless and spring is definitely in the offing as we saw plenty of oak toothwort blooming away. We enjoyed intermittent meadows, creek crossings (all with new bridges), and views of the mighty Rogue. 

Lush woods near Coyote Point
The halfway point of the trail is at Huntley Park, administered by the Port of Gold Beach, and we made use of the civilized restrooms there. The trail reverted to being faint and sketchy as it climbed away from the park and we wound up on game trails a couple of times. However, it's hard to get lost because all one has to do is keep the river on the left hand side and we managed to head in the right direction despite the few wrong turns. 

We ate lunch at Orchard Bar

A brief half-mile road walk takes hikers around some private property before descending to the cliff-hugging portion of the hike. The Rogue was virtually one step and one hundred feet of rapid elevation loss away. Way cool, and my inner mountain goat was bleating happily. Eventually the trail descended down to massive and rocky Orchard Bar where we ate lunch beside the wide river with an osprey nest perched precariously atop a snag.

This was a great trail and I give it a whole bunch of boots up.

For a nice brochure and guide for the Rogue River Walk:

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