Middle Fork National Recreation Trail
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The Middle Fork National Recreation Trail is a beautiful hike or horseback ride that follows the Middle Fork of the Applegate River. The trail offers opportunities for swimming in the emerald pools of the river, fishing for Brook trout, or picnicking along the river’s edge. This is also a good hike to view brilliant autumn colors. Although several springs are found along the trail, these water sources have not been tested and may be unsafe to drink.
Beginning on Forest Road 1035, the trail passes through lush fern grottos, unique pothole formations and deep swimming holes. The forest displays a mixed deciduous stand of alder, dogwood and big leaf maple. After 3.4 miles the trail crosses Forest Road 1040 at the Frog Pond Trailhead. The upper section of the trail is within the Red Buttes Wilderness for approximately half a mile. The forest here changes dramatically to mixed stands of old growth Douglas-fir, white fir, incense cedar, and ponderosa pine. Huckleberry, hazelnut, and vine maple form a dense understory. The trail ends on Forest Road 1040-600 at Bean Gulch.
The upper section of this trail is not recommended for horse use due to the narrow tread and rocky creek crossings. The trailhead on Road 1035 provides the best access for a horseback rider with reasonable turnaround room for vehicles with trailers.
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