Friday, June 17, 2016

Rogue River Gorge and Natural Bridge, 6/09 and 6/10/2016

The Rogue River originates on the slopes of Mount Mazama (the mountain that erupted 7,700 years ago to form Crater Lake) in the Cascades Range. The river flows approximately 214 miles west to the Pacific Ocean. One quarter mile north of Union Creek on OR 62 (north of Prospect, OR) is a viewpoint built by the Rogue River National Forest team. 

Douglas fir tree roots grow through the fractured rocks on the banks of the river as you can in the photo below. Also, the trees sometimes grow as a group due to roots of one tree grafting to roots of other trees. In the photo below, a tree that was cut down had roots grafted to a still living tree. Therefore, the stump still lives. 

The Rogue River begins 27 miles from this location. The Gorge was formed by the collapse of lava tubes and the force of the River over thousands of years. The river bank shows multiple collapsed lava tubes. One is clearly visible near the top (center) of the bank; another (bottom center) was plugged by a subsequent lava flow. 

The gorge is a 500' long chasm. At its narrowest point the banks are on 25' apart; and the banks are 45' high. Enough water flows through here every minute (410,000 gallons) to fill an Olympic-size pool. 

As we continued along the trail we saw lots of interesting rock formations formed by lava and erosion by water.

The Rogue River Natural Bridge is north of the Rogue Gorge (watch for brown signs along OR 62 for the entrance to the parking area). There is a 200' section of the river that runs underground through a lava tube. The natural bridge connects the banks of the river providing a way for Native Americans and settlers to cross the Rogue River. 

The first photo below is where the river enters the tube (and goes underground) and the second is the outlet. Part of the river was flowing around the underground section. When the river is low, however, all of it runs through the tube.

The river rushes downstream reaching the Pacific about 185 miles from here. The "cave" seen in the second photo is another lava tube here. Water circulates around the cave and returns to the main course of the river channel because the lava tube collapsed beyond the opening.

We stopped for some barbecue for lunch at the Union Creek Resort. The area is a national historic landmark. 

Beckie's Cafe is well-known for its excellent pies (and generally good food). And an ice cream shop is across the street from the resort as well.

After lunch we made a quick stop at the visitor center for Rogue River National Forest. Fishing permits, campground reservations, and information about the national forest can be found here. 

Various animals indigenous to the region are on display.

This is our first visit to Oregon and we love the beauty of the lush forests, rushing rivers, and interesting volcanic rock formations. To find out additional information about the Rogue River National Forest, check out

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