Grave Creek to Foster Bar Trail Log
|National Recreation Trail|
|Day Use Info|
How to use this log
The trail log starts at Grave Creek as mile zero. Continuing miles are from Grave Creek, which is the east trail head of the Rogue River Trail. The term "north bank" refers to the same side of the river as the trail. The term "south bank" refers to the opposite side of the river, from the trail. Mileage and facilities are identified in bold type. Campsites on the north bank that are accessible from the trail and river are described in this log. Campsites on the south bank are not described in this log, as the log was originally developed for trail hikers. In the summer trail hikers and boaters can expect to compete with each other for riverside sites. Water from creeks needs to be treated for drinking.
Mile 0.0 Grave Creek - north bank. The Rogue River Trail head is located west of the boat landing. This is the beginning of the Wild Rogue River.
Named after the grave of Martha Leland Crowley, daughter of a pioneer couple. Martha was buried under an oak tree near the creek in 1846.
The first 5 miles of the trail are quite rocky. Most of these rocks are part of the Rogue Formation. They are a result of lava flows and rocks formed by ancient volcanoes which were active about 140 million years ago. High temperatures and pressure have altered and folded these rocks into a nearly vertical position. Signs of this folding can be seen on the steep canyon walls which have been carved by the powerful forces of the Rogue River over a period of nearly a million years.
Camping - 4 miles upriver at Almeda Campground or 0.6 miles downriver. Almeda Campground has drinking water available April through November. Grave Creek has toilets and a small parking area. Overnight parking is allowed along the road above the trail head, and is not allowed at the Grave Creek boat ramp.
Mile 0.1 Grave Creek Rapids
Mile 0.6 Sanderson Homesite - north bank. The remains of a concrete foundation from a home built in 1940 by the Sanderson brothers (miners) can be seen. Evidence of old mining operations exists at this site. The cabin was dismantled in 1971.
Camping - Small site between river and trail with no water or toilet.
Mile 1.1 Sanderson - The concrete piers visible on both sides of the river are all that remain of the bridge used for mule pack trains and foot traffic. The bridge was built in 1907 and was destroyed by flood in 1927.
Mile 1.3 Cabin - south bank. Above Sanderson's crust and it is believed the serpentine has been squeezed like toothpaste out of a tube into these weakened zones from a deeper layer of the earth.
Mile 1.8 Rainie Falls - A narrow zone of extremely durable amphobolite has made this area more resistant to erosion resulting in a 15 to 20 foot high falls. The falls were named after old man Rainie who lived in a small cabin below the falls and made a living by gaffing salmon.
Camping - Large site under trees, between river and trail with toilet but no water. A 2 1/2 mile long trail on the south side of the river provides an excellent view of the falls.
Mile 2.1 China Gulch - north bank. This gulch was named after the Chinese miners who worked in the area in the late 1800s. Around 1946, Joe Utassey (a miner) built a cabin on the north side of the river and planted apple and pear trees.
Camping - Small site between river and trail with no water or toilet.
Mile 2.6 Hansen Saddle Fault - This fault zone, the first of two the trail crosses within a mile, is several hundred feet wide and marked by the presence of shiny, greenish-black rock called serpentine. These faults are major dislocations of the earth's crust and it is believed the serpentine has been squeezed like toothpaste out of a tube into these weakened zones from a deeper layer of the earth.
Mile 3.1 Rum Creek - south bank. "Bedrock" Nell (a miner) lived on Rum Creek in the late 1920s and 1930s. Rum Creek is approximately 10 degrees cooler and fresher than other creeks and salmon can often be found schooling at the mouth of the creek.
Whisky Creek - north bank. About 1/4 mile up the creek is Whisky Creek Cabin. The cabin was built by a placer miner about 1880. The last miner to live at this cabin (1957-1973) was Lou Reuben Martin. Whisky Creek Cabin is on the National Register of Historic Places, and offers a glimpse into the pioneer history of the Rogue River. This and other cabins along the river are part of our national heritage and are for viewing only. Please do not remove or disturb features along the trail; they are what make the Rogue River Canyon a unique area to visit.
Camping - Large sites by river on both sides of the creek with toilet (east side) and water.
Mile 3.2 Old Rogue River Trail - This was the trail used by miners and settlers in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The trail came in on the north from Mt. Reuben.
Mile 3.5 Cedar Mountain Fault - This fault zone, like Hansen Fault upstream, also contains serpentine with surfaces smoothed and polished by tremendous pressures generated by movements of the earth. At the trail level, most traces of this fault are covered by the gravel bar of Whisky Creek and landslide debris of Big Slide.
Mile 3.7 Big Slide - north bank. In the late 1800s a landslide blocked the entire river, causing it to back up as far as Hellgate Canyon (15 miles upriver). Another small more active slide can be seen in the sheared rocks of the Cedar Mountain Fault zone just across the river from Big Slide camp.
Camping - Large park-like site next to trail with toilet, no water.
Mile 3.9 Doe Creek -south bank.
Mile 4.4 Alder Creek - north bank. Lou Martin (see mile 3.1) mined for gold here, but was unsuccessful.
Mile 4.7 Booze Creek - north bank. Hardrock mining was attempted here but no gold was found.
Camping - Small site by creek after bridge with water, no toilet.
Mile 4.8 Tyee Rapids - north bank. Tyee is the Chinook word for chief. Tyee Bar (south bank) is the site of a once-famous gold mine where 300 Chinese workers took one million dollars in gold dust.
Camping - Large site by river with toilet, no water.
Mile 5.7 Wildcat Rapids
Mile 5.8 Russian Creek - north bank. Named after a Russian gold prospector who lived in the area.
Camping - Two small sites after bridge with water, no toilet.
Mile 6.1 Montgomery Creek - south bank. During the Depression there was extensive gold mining on Montgomery Creek. More than 25 buildings were located on the north bank of the river until they were destroyed in the 1955 flood.
Mile 6.3 Howard Creek - south bank.
Mile 6.6 Slate Slide - north bank.
Camping - Several small sites between trail and river with no toilet or water.
Mile 6.9 Slim Pickens - A large steel tank, located on the south side of the river above the rapid, washed down from a dredge at Almeda mine in the 1955 flood.
Mile 7.6 Bronco Creek - north bank. This was originally Jackass Creek (1855), named so because of the loss of a pack burro during an Indian skirmish.
Mile 9.1 Bunker Creek - north bank.
Camping - Small site after bridge with water, no toilet.
Big Windy Creek - south bank. Both Bunker and Big Windy Creeks were mined for gold.
Mile 9.6 Black Bar Lodge - south bank. Black Bar is named after William Black who was killed here, put into his boat, and shoved into the river by his assailant. The lodge was built in 1932 and is open from April through mid-November. Reservations are required. There is a well maintained trail that leads from the main trail to the river.
Mile 10.1 Little Windy Creek - south bank.
Mile 10.9 Jenny Creek - south bank. This is another site where gold was mined. The 1964 flood washed away much of the machinery that was located here. Miners used a cable car to cross the river here. In 1855, this was the site of a battle between Indians and army volunteers. After 5 hours of fighting, the army volunteers gave up and left.
Mile 11.1 Horseshoe Bend - Because the rock across the river is harder, it forced the river to carve its channel into the adjacent softer rock, creating the tight, horseshoe-shaped curve.
Mile 11.8 Shady Creek - north bank.
Mile 12.1 Francis Creek - north bank.
Mile 12.3 Copsey Creek - north bank. Price Copsey mined the area around Horseshoe Bend. His cabin was located on the south side of the river, 1 1/2 miles below Black Bar.
Camping - Small site with water but no toilet.
Mile 12.4 Cowley Creek - north bank.
Mile 13.6 Meadow Creek - north bank. Miners used a winch to move large boulders on the bar, then mined the sand that had accumulated around the base of the boulders. Dutch Henry came to live at Meadow Creek. He raised cattle and grew fruit on his homestead.
Camping - Two small sites by creek with water, no toilet. Large site just downriver with toilet , no water.
Mile 14.1 Dulog Creek - south bank. Dulog Rapid was blasted by Glen Wooldridge. Glen was one of the first Rogue River guides. He guided from 1917 to the 1970s. Wooldridge ran the first successful upriver trip in 1947, from Gold Beach to Grants Pass.
Mile 15.4 Kelsey Creek - north bank. The creek and Kelsey Canyon are named for Colonel John Kelsey who led a group of territorial volunteers against Chief John's Indian forces in the spring of 1856.
Camping - Two medium sites with water. Trail site east of bridge, river site west of bridge.
Mile 15.5 Corral Creek - north bank.
Mile 16.6 Battle Bar - south bank. Named because of a fight between Colonel Kelsey's calvary on the north bank and a band of Takelma Indians on the south bank.
After the massacre of Indian families on Little Butte Creek, hostile elements broke out of the Table Rock Reservation on October 9, 1855 (Little Butte Creek and Table Rock Reservation are located near what is now Medford). The Indians traveled down the north side of the Rogue, killing settlers and burning dwellings.
Fighting between the whites and the Indians extended as far downriver as Grave Creek until winter weather stopped the campaign.
The Indian families spent the winter near Battle Bar. In April of 1856, a detachment of soldiers was sent to the area to eliminate the Native Americans. The soldiers rode into the large clearing on the north side of the river and were promptly engaged in battle with the Indians who had abandoned their camp for the protection of the bar on the south side. Though not a major battle, it was one of the skirmishes which led to the extraction of American Indians from the Rogue River country.
Bob Fox built a cabin on the south side of the river. Bob had planned a fishing resort but was unable to complete it because Jack Mahoney, a neighbor, shot and killed Fox on May 6, 1947. The 1964 flood destroyed the walls of the cabin but the roof and supports remained. In 1991, the BLM and the White City Veterans Administration Domiciliary refurbished the shelter.
Mile 16.6 Ditch Creek - north bank. This was the site of former placer mining activity as evidenced by the piles of gravel scattered about the creek.
Camping - Small site with water, no toilet.
Mile 16.7 Slide Creek - north bank
Mile 17.5 Hewitt Creek - south bank. This is the site of Jack Mahoney's cabin (see mile 16.6 Battle Bar).
Winkle Bar - north bank. Western writer Zane Grey bought the mining claim for this site from a prospector in 1926. Grey then had his cabin built and used it for a place to stay while he was fishing and writing. Winkle Bar was purchased from Zane Grey's heirs and remains private property. The owner welcomes respectful visitors.
Historic Kelsey Pack Trail - This is part of the original trail used by Native Americans and miners. The trail is a 4.5 mile loop that leaves the main trail at Winkle Bar and joins it again at Quail Creek.
Mile 18.5 Missouri Creek/Bar - south bank. This area experienced heavy gold mining. Gerald Frye lived here from the 1950s until his death in 1987. Gerald was John and Adeline Billings grandson (see mile 39).
Born in 1916 at Big Meadow, Gerald was raised in the canyon and lived here most of his life. He worked as the caretaker of Zane Grey's cabin, assisted the BLM in construction of the Rogue River Trail and worked at Rogue River Ranch when it belonged to the Andersons (see mile 23.0).
Mile 19.4 Quail Creek - north bank. Site of the Quail Creek Fire of 1970. The fire, human-caused, burned 2800 acres and claimed the life of one man (see mile 21.0).
Camping - Small site by the river with water but no toilet.
Mile 21.0 Long Gulch - south bank. Several cabins were built here by Glen Wooldridge (see mile 14.1).
Rodriguez Memorial - north bank. Luis Rodriguez died when struck by a falling tree while fighting the Quail Creek Fire.
Mile 21.5 John's Riffle - Named after Chief John, leader of the Indian tribes during the Rogue Indian wars of 1855-1856 (see mile 16.6)
Mile 23.0 Rogue River Ranch (PDF) - north bank. Rogue River Ranch is on the National Register of Historic Places and is nestled in the heart of the Rogue River's wild section. Visitors are welcome to visit the ranch area and look inside the museum. Bureau of Land Management caretakers voluntarily staff the Ranch and emergency radio communications are available. Drinking water may be obtained from a faucet near the caretaker's house and there is a toilet in the field for ranch and river visitors. The ranch is open to the public May to October.
Once a major Rogue River Indian habitation site, the area has enjoyed a rich human history of over 9,000 years. When the Europeans arrived the site evolved into a small gold-mining community, with up to 100 residents trying to scratch a living from the gold-bearing gravel bars of the mighty Rogue River. The ranch structures remaining today represent the center of the old Marial community, which had a trading post with upstairs lodging, a blacksmith's shop, and numerous outbuildings that filled the early residents' social and commercial needs.
The terraces on both sides of the mouth of Mule Creek (viewed from the ranch) were seasonal Indian camps for over 8,000 years. At the time of historic settlement the Rogue River Canyon was used by several Native American groups. These groups all followed a hunting and gathering type of existence. Their main foods were fish, deer, acorns, and roots such as camas. There were many seasonal villages along the river. Using your imagination you might be able to picture a village on a riverside terrace near a good fishing spot. Visit the ranch museum to learn more about Native American life in this area.
The two-story main house is now called the museum. The main house was built in 1903 by George Washington Billings (oldest son of John and Adeline Billings). George operated a trading post, post office and boarding house here with his wife, Sarah Ann. The ranch was a popular gathering place with a barn known as the "Tabernacle" serving as a focal point. The ground floor of the tabernacle was used to stable horses and mules and the top floor was used for storage, dances, parties and Sunday worship services.
In 1931, George Billings sold the ranch for $5,000 to Stanley Anderson who expanded the house and added a caretaker house, bunkhouse, tackroom, woodshed and storage shed. The Andersons used the ranch as a recreational homesite until 1970 when they sold it to the Bureau of Land Management under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Mile 23.2 Marial Road - follow to the west. The trail runs on this road about 2.8 miles from the ranch to 0.2 miles beyond the Mule Creek Guard Station.
Mile 23.4 Tucker Flat Campground - north bank. Take side road to north off Marial Road. Mule Creek Trail begins at the north end of the campground and provides access to the Wild Rogue Wilderness.
Camping - Developed Bureau of Land Management campground on Mule Creek, accessible by car, with 6 sites, pit toilets, trash cans, picnic tables, and untreated water.
Mile 23.5 Mule Creek - north bank. This creek was named in the summer of 1852 when a company of soldiers from Fort Orford tried to open a trail along the Rogue. A member of the party later related that a Lt. R.S. Williamson rode a mule named John. When the mule was turned loose to graze near the stream, it wandered off and was not found despite a thorough search. Because of this incident, the stream was named John Mule Creek, but later shortened to Mule Creek. The tale ended happily several years later when Williamson found his mule.
Camping - Large sites by the river with toilet and water on east and west side of Mule Creek. These beaches are very popular camping spots for boaters and can be congested in the summer months.
Mile 24.3 Marial Lodge - north bank. Private lodge, reservations required.
The lodge and the community of Marial were named after the first proprietress of the lodge, Marial Billings Akesson. Marial was raised on the river and operated Marial Lodge until 1967. Born in 1894 to Tom (second son of John and Adeline Billings, see mile 39.0) and Anna Billings. The Post Office located at Marial was unique. As late as 1963, mail was transported to Agness by mule or horse from Marial, and then to Gold Beach by boat, as there were no roads. The old pioneer cemetery near the end of the road is the burial spot for several old families of local importance.
Mile 24.4 Mule Creek Guard Station - Is a historic U.S. Forest Service guard station that is no longer staffed and no longer has drinking water available.
Mile 24.5 Mule Creek Canyon - Two large boulders called "Jaws" or "Guardian Rocks" mark the entrance to the canyon.
Mile 25.0 Mule Creek Trail Head - Parking area for 5-8 vehicles; site also has a toilet. A Northwest Forest Pass is not needed to park at this Forest Service site. This is the end of Marial Road. The next 2 miles of trail are particularly scenic. After a few hundred yards through the forest, the trail comes out on the cliffs above Mule Creek Canyon.
Mile 25.5 Coffeepot - The trail overlooks the Coffeepot, a churning semi-whirlpool, one mile from the beginning of Mule Creek Canyon. The river bounces off the canyon walls creating diagonal waves and tricky currents. This is the narrowest passage on the river.
Mile 25.6 Stair Creek - south bank. Stair Creek Falls.
Mile 25.7 Inspiration Point - Inspiration Point overlooks Stair Creek Falls from the north bank. The trail is on a narrow ledge high on the cliff. Below can be seen deep, cool pools where salmon gather in the summer.
Camping - Small site with water but no toilet.
Mile 27.1 Blossom Bar - Named after the wild azaleas that bloom here. Blossom Bar was the site of a stamp mill used in mining operations. The rapids used to be impassable until Glen Wooldridge (see mile 14.1) blasted out the rocks to make a passage. It is the most difficult water to navigate on the river.
Camping - Large site with water and toilet. There is a bear-proof box and food hoist at Blossom Bar.
Mile 27.3 Devils Staircase - A series of pour-offs.
Mile 27.4 Gleason Creek - south bank.
Mile 27.9 Paradise Creek - north bank. Cascades over a rock wall into the Rogue from the north. Some years there are sand deposits at this site, permitting camping, and other years the sand is washed away.
Camping - Small site with water.
Mile 28.3 Paradise Bar Lodge - north bank. Private lodge, reservations required. Jet powered mail boats bring passengers upstream to this lodge.
Mile 28.4 Half Moon Bar Lodge - south bank. Private lodge, reservations required. Jet powered mail boats bring passengers upstream to this lodge.
Upper, Middle, and Lower Half Moon Bar Campsites - north bank.
Camping - Three large sites with toilet. Three electric bear fences, one at each site, for securing your food and garbage.
Mile 29.0 Huggins Canyon - This section of the Rogue was named by Glen Wooldridge (see mile 14.1) after a local hunter, Andy Huggins. Huggins lived for many years at Half Moon Bar, where his grave is located.
Mile 29.4 Sturgeon Hole - The hole is 70 feet deep with a small waterfall coming into the river on the opposite bank.
Mile 31.0 East Creek - south bank. This is the site of the former "General's Cabin" owned by Generals Eakers, Spaatz, LeMay, Anderson, and Twining. The land was sold to the group by Wooldridge (see mile 14.1) as a former mining claim.
Mile 31.2 Brushy Bar - north bank. Forest fires burned this area in 1905, resulting in low, dense brush growing over the area and giving it its name. Mining was extensive here, and ditches are still evident.
Camping - Large site with water and toilets. There is a USFS guard station here that is staffed June through September. Water is available from a faucet by the guard station. The water is from the creek and needs to be treated for drinking. Emergency services can be contacted, by radio, from here. There is a bear box and two food hoists at Brushy Bar.
Mile 31.7 Solitude Bar - north bank. This location bustled with mining activity around 1900. A large arrastra wheel is lying in the brush on the south bank at this site. An arrastra was sometimes used in early mining operations to break up the ore to make extracting the minerals easier.
Camping - Two large sites by the river with toilet but no water. There is an electric bear fence at both sites for securing your food and garbage.
Mile 32.9 Tate Creek - north bank. About 200 yards up the creek is a natural water slide that drops 25 feet into a deep fresh pool.
Camping - Two sites (one large, one small) by the river with water and toilet. For bear-proofing your food and garbage use the food hoist or one of the two electric fences at Tate Creek.
Mile 33.0 Camp Tacoma - north bank. Named after a mining operation from Tacoma, Washington. Extensive mining was done in this area early in the century.
Camping - Three large sites by the river with water and toilet. There is a bear-proof box, a food hoist, and three electric fences at Camp Tacoma.
Mile 33.2 Clay Hill Creek and Lodge - north bank. Private lodge, reservations required. An original homesite is still intact up the creek. An old sawmill was also on the creek. This area is private property; please respect the owner's privacy. Hathaway Jones' wife, Flora Dell Thomas, was born here. Hathaway Jones (1870-1937) was a local packer, mail carrier and story teller.
Mile 34.5 Fall Creek - south bank. Fall Creek Falls tumbles about 50 feet into a pool.
Mile 34.8 Flora Dell Creek - The creek is named after Flora Dell Thomas, Hathaway Jones' wife (see mile 33.2). Flora Dell Creek plunges over a 30 foot sheer wall into a deep trailside pool.
Camping - Small site by the river with water and toilet. The toilet is downriver, at trail level.
Mile 35.8 Peyton Riffle - Named after the original Peyton Ranch homestead, sometimes referred to as Slide Riffle.
Hicks Creek - Camping - Large site with water but no toilet.
Mile 36.0 Slide Creek - south bank.
Mile 36.1 Wild River Lodge - south bank. Private lodge, reservations required. Used to be called Peyton Place Lodge.
Mile 36.2 Dans Creek - north bank.
Mile 37.7 Watson Creek - south bank. On this bank are the remains of Buster Billings' cabin.
Mile 39.0 Big Bend - Site of the last Indian battle of the 1855-1856 wars. On May 27, 1856 the 30 hour Battle of Big Bend began. Two days later the Upper Rogue Band of Indians surrendered to Colonel Buchanan at Big Bend. Nearly 1200 Indians from southern Oregon were transported by steamer and land to the Siletz Reservation 125 miles to the north. This ended the days of the Indians in the Rogue River Canyon.
Parking - Parking area for about 5-8 vehicles; site also has a toilet. A Northwest Forest Pass is not needed to park at this Forest Service site.
Billings Creek - north bank. The creek was named after John Billings. John (a miner) and his wife Adeline (a Karok Indian) moved from the Klamath River to the mouth of the Illinois River, in 1868 with their 3 children.
Kov-rhom-nic-ef-sho-pete was Adeline's Indian name. Adeline also had the less formal name of Krum-ket-tika, which means "a flower growing in any place."
The Billings moved to what is now called Billings Creek in 1878, with their family that had grown to 7 children. John built and operated a grist mill that served settlers for miles around. By 1882, the Billings family was complete with 10 children.
They moved again in 1891 to the mouth of Mule Creek (see mile 23.0). Their last move was in 1894 when John and Adeline moved with their 2 youngest daughters to Big Meadow (about 4 miles above Rogue River Ranch).
Illahe Lodge - north bank. Private lodge, reservations required.
Illahe - Chinook word meaning "land on earth."
Mile 40.0 Foster Bar/Foster Creek - north bank. Named after Charles Foster, miner, packer and lieutenant in the military during the Indian wars. Foster escaped an Indian attack at this site and worked his way downriver to Port Orford (then Fort Orford). After the Indian wars Foster returned to settle in this area and married Catherine (a Karok Indian).
Camping - Developed USFS campground, accessible by car, with 12 sites, overnight parking, vault toilets, trash cans, no water. West trail head and popular boat take-out from the "wild" section of the Rogue River. Campground has a host May through September.
Mile 41.0 Illahe Campground - Camping - Developed USFS fee campground, accessible by car, with 18 sites, overnight parking, vault toilets, trash cans, picnic tables, drinking water and a host May through September.
A River To Run, by Florence Arman, 1982.
Illahe, by Kay Atwood, 1978.
Requiem of a People, by Stephen Dow Beckham, 1971.
Rogue River Float Guide, USDA, Forest Service, Siskiyou National Forest, 1993.
The following web pages would be helpful to trail hikers.