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Zane Grey Campsite Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Beach, Mott Segment, North Umpqua Trail (bobcat)
Giant chain fern (Woodwardia fimbriata), North Umpqua River (bobcat)
Ten Pull Pool, Mott Segment, North Umpqua Trail (bobcat)
Alders, mouth of Fisher Creek, Mott Segment, North Umpqua Trail (bobcat)
Big Douglas-fir, Interpretive Loop, Mott Segment, North Umpqua Trail (bobcat)
The North Umpqua Trail to Zane Grey's Fishing Camp (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Wright Creek Trailhead
  • Ending Point: Zane Grey's Fishing Camp
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 355 feet
  • High Point: 1,185 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes, for older kids
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No
Poison Oak
Snakes
Ticks

Contents

Hike Description

The trip to Zane Grey's Fishing Camp takes in most of the Mott Segment of the 79-mile North Umpqua Trail, a designated National Recreation Trail. Even though Highway 138 runs across the river, this is one of the most scenic sections of the trail where the river hosts many deep pools fished by the steelhead anglers who come here from all over the world. In addition, there are massive old-growth Douglas-firs to admire and the recommended end to the hike is at Fisher Creek, where the noted Western author Zane Grey camped annually for five years in the 1930s (Nothing remains of his campsite, however). Be aware that there is poison oak all along this route, especially on the verge between the trail and the river.

Walk out to the road and go left to pass a campsite, and then cross Wright Creek. The signed North Umpqua Trail #1414 resumes past the creek. Head down and note an abandoned cable car line and pylon to your left. The riverside canopy here is composed mainly of Douglas-fir, western red-cedar, and big-leaf maple, with red alders along the rocky verge. You may note a couple of incense cedars and sugar pines as well. A spur leads to a campsite on the river. Pass the first, and arguably the most massive, of the big Douglas-firs you’ll see on this section of the trail. Another one that has fallen over the trail has been cut through so you can attempt to count the rings.

Reach the junction with the Old Growth Interpretive Loop and go right in an understory of vine maple and salal. Hiking along a low bench above the river, you’ll come across more ancient Douglas-firs, some up to 500 years old. A kiosk explains some of the wildlife of the forest. The trail drops past more big trees and reaches the North Umpqua Trail again, where you go right.

Cross John Creek, which has a small slide waterfall, on a footbridge, and then ascend a bluff above a large rocky islet in the river. The trail drops down a sword fern slope to a calm stretch of the river. Highway 138 is visible across the water. Here the trail follows an elevated concrete path along a rock face before it reaches the North Umpqua-Cougar Creek Trail Junction. Take the footbridge over Cougar Creek, which meets the North Umpqua under a shady canopy of alders: this is a good spot to check out the river bank as most other access points involve contact with poison oak. Then pass the North Umpqua-McDonald Trail Junction (See the McDonald Homestead Hike), and continue along the river.

You’ll pass a couple of spurs leading to the river, but you’ll have to pick your way through the poison oak to make use of them. Pass over a footbridge and then a short boardwalk in a thicket of wood fern. There are frequent glimpses of the North Umpqua, and you’ll get a view ahead to the narrows at The Reef, a rock ledge that almost spans the river. The trail undulates along a steep slope before you pass through a lush area of small springs shaded by alder, hemlock, and big-leaf maple. Take the footbridge over Timber Creek and rise again to drop and then rise steeply again. Descend almost to river level among some larger red-cedars and pass a couple more springs. You’ll see a three-mile marker on a tree and, across the river, the highway bridge over Williams Creek. More large old-growth Douglas-firs shade the trail, and the river here is wide and shallow. Cross the footbridge over Fisher Creek, and come to the sign denoting Zane Grey's Fishing Camp. There’s nothing else to see here, but you can access the river bank poison oak-free at the mouth of Fisher Creek. Zane Grey, who had previously fished and popularized the Rogue River, camped here in 1932 and returned every year for five years. In 1937, however, he suffered a stroke while at the fishing camp and became partially paralyzed and so never returned.

You can continue along the Mott Segment of the North Umpqua Trail for another 1 ¾ miles to the Mott Trailhead - this would make it an 11-mile round-trip hike. You’ll see the Steamboat Inn across the river and then the mouth of Steamboat Creek. Some of the most desired fishing holes are in this area. Pass Forest Service houses on your right before you reach the Mott Trailhead, which offers a panel of interpretive signs on the natural and human history of the area.

Another alternative is to cross the North Umpqua on the Mott Bridge and find the east end of the Riverview Trail. This makes for an 11 ¾ mile loop as the Riverview Trail follows the route of the old highway to Bogus Creek. From here, you’ll walk west along the highway to Wright Creek Road and then back to the Wright Creek Trailhead.

If you’re heading back along the North Umpqua Trail, after crossing John Creek, you’ll take the riverside section of the Interpretive Loop. Here a spur leads right to an expansive rocky area free of poison oak. This is a great picnic spot and swimming hole on a sunny day. A wide splash of uric acid comes from a frequently used osprey perch high above on an old snag. Look for steelhead in the pools and migrating chinook in the fall.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Information kiosk, interpretive signs, vault toilet
  • Share trail with mountain bikes

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service & U.S. Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management: Land of Umpqua
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Umpqua National Forest

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon by William L. Sullivan
  • Best Old-growth Forest Hikes: Washington & Oregon Cascades by John & Diane Cissel
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Kissing the Trail by John Zilly
  • Canine Oregon by Lizann Dunegan

More Links


Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.