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Wild Rogue Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Revision as of 23:00, 20 February 2018 by Retiredjerry (Talk | contribs)

Campsite in upper West Fork Mule Creek (B. Hope)
Hanging Rock (B. Hope)
Meadow and old fruit trees at Thomas homestead (B. Hope)
Rogue River Trail upstream of Clay Hill Creek (B. Hope)
  • Start point: Mule Creek South TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Mule Creek South Trailhead
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 29.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 3,700 feet
  • High Point: 3,800 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Spring & Fall are best; can be too hot in summer
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

This newly restored loop connects the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest’s Mule Creek Trail #1159, Panther Ridge Trail #1253, Clay Hill Trail #1160A, and the Rogue River Trail #1160. Before the summer of 2015, many trail miles had been been seriously eroded by time and lack of maintenance, while other trail sections were brushed in and full of downed logs killed by the 2005 Blossom Fire. Siskiyou Mountain Club crews restored the entire loop in 2015, and maintained the Rogue River Trail from Marial to Foster Bar. This 29-mile backpacking loop has five trailheads and offers access to many outstanding natural features, not the least of which is the massive outcrop called Hanging Rock that looms over the wilderness. The route features the pristine gorges of Mule Creek, old growth havens of Panther Ridge, oak and pine savanna of Clay Hill, and, of course, the Rogue River itself. One trailhead is near the historic Rogue River Ranch, another is at Foster Bar near Agness, Oregon and three others are accessed from Eden Valley, accessible from either of Agness and Powers, Oregon.

This loop through the northeast quadrant of the Wild Rogue Wilderness can be done either clockwise or counter-clockwise or as a lollipop from Foster Bar or Grave Creek, but the mileage log below assumes you're going counter-clockwise starting from Tucker Flat. Going this direction - particularly during periods of high water - allows you to see if the two crossings of Mule Creek are possible before you're too far into the loop. These creek crossings can be very dangerous or impassable during high water! Going this direction you also hike down, not up, the Clay Hill Trail, which seems to be the less arduous option. Trail miles from Tucker Flat are shown below in { }; mileages assume you visit Hanging Rock.

{0.0} Tucker Flat – Mule Creek Trail #1159 Trailhead

{0.3} Bridge over Mule Creek

{1.2} First crossing of West Fork Mule Creek

{1.7} Second crossing of West Fork Mule Creek

{4.2} Old mine road starts (extension of Forest Road 230)

{5.3} Campsites and reliable water in the upper West Fork Mule Creek.

NOTE: There are no reliable (perennial) water sources between here and the Thomas homestead. Be prepared to carry water if you plan to camp along Panther Ridge.

{5.9} Leave the old road for a trail to the left

{6.5} Trail joins with another old road (BLM Road 32-11-25.1)

{7.2} Arrive at gravel FR 230; go left on the road for several hundred feet to the Buck Point Trailhead and the unsigned start of the Panther Ridge Trail #1253

{8.0} Panther Creek Camp, stream that probably dries up sometime in the spring

{8.9} Unsigned junction with the spur trail to Hanging Rock - mileage from here on assumes you visited the Rock

{9.2} Pass a poorly signed junction with a side trail (#1113 or #1253-A) coming in from the Hanging Rock Trailhead; continue straight-ahead (west)

{12.4} Sign and faint trail going north to Panther Camp Meadow

{14.5} Junction with the spur trail to Clay Hill Trailhead and then soon thereafter a well-signed junction with the Clay Hill Trail #1160A

{17.1} Thomas homestead is on a short use trail to the right. This is also your first source of reliable water since leaving the West Fork Mule Creek. There are two streams visible from trail.

{18.2} Junction with the Rogue River Trail #1160 near Clay Hill Creek - an excellent source of water

{19.0} Tate Creek - reliable water and one small backpacker campsite

{21.1} Brushy Bar campsites - large, level sites; bear boxes; pit toilets; creek water; river access possible

{21.3} Brushy Bar Guard Station; Devils Backbone Trail #1162 sign

{24.1} Paradise Bar & Lodge (cold sodas and beer available for sale)

{25.3} Blossom Bar - excellent campsites with easy river access; creek water

{27.1} Mule Creek Canyon

{29.2} Arrive back at Tucker Flat


Maps

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • 100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Southern Oregon & Northern California by William L. Sullivan (Fourth Edition (2017), Hike #84)

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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.