The Rogue River Trail is one of Oregon’s most unique hiking experiences. The trail was originally built by miners and homesteaders in the early 1900s as a way in and out of the gorge without the dangers of floating. The scenic trail was literally blasted into the rock cliffs in places, rewarding all who brave the 40-mile trail with breathtaking views daily.
While the entire experience of hiking the Rogue River Trail is a highlight unto itself, the canyon has a few extra special features and spots that add to it’s over all incredible nature.
1. The ability to hike lodge to lodge. This is unique in a wilderness canyon in the U.S. With four riverside lodges well spaced down the canyon, you can opt to leave your tent, sleeping bag and cooking tools at home. The commonly used lodges are spaced at trail miles 9.6, 24.3 and 33.2. Orange Torpedo Trips can arrange your lodges and logistics for one easy price. Learn more about our guided Rogue River Trail Trips.
2. Zane Grey Cabin – Stop in and have lunch at this unique historical site. Zane Grey was a famous American author of books such as Riders of the Purple Sage. After an hour of relaxing in the sun near the cabin, you quickly understand why the author chose to spend so much time here. Trail mile 18
3. Inspiration Point – Overlook Stair Creek Falls from a narrow ledge high above the river. This is one of the most picturesque points on the trail. Trail mile 25.7
4. Tate Creek Slide – A ride down the 25-foot natural waterslide into the deep and cool pool below is a highlight of any hot day on the Rogue River Trail. The slide is up the creek about 200 yards from the trail. Use caution; the rocks are extremely slippery. Trail mile 32.9
Length: 40 miles
Start Elevation: 689 ft, above sea level
End Elevation: 474 ft, above sea level
Start Point: Grave Creek.
End Point: Foster Bar/Illahe.
Permits Needed: Currently no permits are needed to hike the trail.
Plan on 3-6 days if you are going to be doing Graves Creek (upriver point) to Illahe (downriver point). You will need to have your vehicle shuttled from your start point to your end point. We offer vehicle shuttles for hikers moving your rig from the start to the end. Learn more about our Rogue River Trail hiking shuttles.
Advice / Hints
1. If it’s your first time, take a guided trip. With a guide on the trail, you will learn more of the rich history of the area while also having someone to help set pace for the journey and provide support if any medical issues come up. On a guided trip you can also put your heavy gear on the raft, allowing you to focus all of your energy on enjoying one of America’s most beautiful wilderness areas. Check out guided hiking trips with Orange Torpedo Trips.
2. Pack lots of bug spray. Mosquitoes do come out in the evenings and some years ticks can be common.
3. If you are hiking downriver, the steepest and most strenuous section on the trail is within the last few miles. Overall the first 10 miles of the trail has the most total elevation gain/loss in single day.
4. Enjoy yourself, assured your car will be at the other end when you arrive. Use our car shuttle service.
5. September is a BEAUTIFUL time to be in the canyon and is less crowded on the trail, but getting into the lodges is harder/impossible because of fishing season.
6. Be prepared for bears. Pack a way to hang you food or camp in places with provided bear boxes. It’s much more of an issue on the lower end of the trail, but worth paying attention to the whole way.
7. While we are huge supporters of hiking with dogs, the rough rock of the trail has worn the pads off of many dogs feet. More than a few times we have had to go get people at the mid-way point because their dogs could not make it the rest of the way. This is a real issue. Take it seriously.
8. Poison Oak. Like much of Southern Oregon, the Rogue River trail is FULL of poison oak. While it is very possible to avoid all of it, it is prevalent so pack some poison oak specific soap to wash with daily.
9. Day one is HOT. Much of the trail is south and SW facing with significant sun exposure. If hiking in July/August start early for your day(s) in the first 9 miles. Also, the mule creek section of trail can be VERY hot in the middle of summer.