Galice-Hellgate Back Country Byway
Medford District | OR
Season Dates: 1/1 - 12/31
The beautiful Rogue River country is the focal point of the Galice-Hellgate Back Country Byway. The byway is 40 miles, one-way, 80 miles, round-trip. The entire route is a narrow, winding, paved road and is suitable for passenger car travel. A portion of the byway is single lane with occasional turnouts. Travelers should be cautious, especially along the Galice Access Road. Numerous river access points and developed recreation sites allow you to experience the river and its variety of recreation experiences. The Rogue National Wild and Scenic River has outstanding scenery, numerous wildlife viewing opportunities, challenging whitewater, and superior fishing. Much of the drive provides a view of the deep river canyon with impressive rock walls bordered by forested slopes. The remains of old mining operations, some still visible from the byway, offer glimpses into the past. The Rogue River National Recreation Trail, accessed from the byway at Grave Creek, is an historic trail originally developed by the Takelma Indians. Improvements to the trail were made by miners and settlers as they moved deeper into the Rogue River canyon. Hikers can view the wild Rogue River from numerous vantage points along the trail. If you plan on continuing your travel beyond this byway route be sure to have a full tank of gas, a first aid kit, food, and water with you as you will be traveling into remote country with no services. Roads beyond this byway route are often closed in winter, due to snow accumulation. Smullin Visitor Center at Rand is 18 miles into the route and can provide information about the area. Grants Pass, Merlin, and Galice are the nearest towns.
From Grants Pass, Oregon take I-5 north to the Merlin exit. The byway begins as you exit the freeway and travel the Merlin-Galice Road west. Four miles into the route you will travel through the town of Merlin. About 15 miles into the drive the route splits at Galice Access Road junction, 0.4 miles before the town of Galice. Continuing north on the Merlin-Galice Road the route is 8 more miles of magnificent river and canyon views to the end, at Grave Creek Bridge. At this point you can proceed along the Grave Creek to Marial Back Country Byway, (see Rogue River Ranch web page for map and directions). The Grave Creek to Marial Back Country Byway is usually closed in the winter, due to snow accumulation. Continuing west, from the route split, on the Galice Access Road, travel 16 miles of a single lane, paved logging road, with turnouts, to the end of the Byway. This portion of the route extends into the Siskiyou Mountains and offers broad and spectacular vistas of the Rogue River's rugged canyons. You can continue west on this route through the Siskiyou National Forest to the coastal community of Gold Beach. Galice Access Road is usually closed in the winter, due to snow accumulation.