Upper Rogue Trail (Foster Creek to Big Bend Trailhead)
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For seven miles of easy walking, this portion of the Upper Rogue Trail explores a peaceful section of the Rogue River Canyon, then continues south to join Hershberger Rd. #6510. The scene is unique because it reveals the Rogue’s continuing struggle to recover from the pumice avalanche that buried its channel during the eruptions of Mt. Mazama. Eroded pumice bluffs and exposed lava rock from earlier lava flows testify to the river’s erosive abilities. Here, the Rogue follows a meandering path through a maze of abandoned oxbows, peninsulas, and forested islands.
Leaving from the Foster Creek trailhead on Highway 230, the trail fords Foster Creek and finds its way through a brushy riparian thicket into a mature conifer forest. A varied array of small plants carpets the forest floor. The most common species are vanilla leaf, squaw carpet, Oregon grape, inside-out flower, pinemat Manzanita, and wild strawberry.
About one mile downstream, the trail leaves the river for a short time to climb a pumice cliff. The trail also passes through one of many marshy areas inhabited by skunk cabbage and a variety of small water creatures.
Besides the abundant wildlife of the area, cattle are frequently seen grazing in the meadows along the riverbank. Several large logjams slow the flow of the river and offer shelter for cutthroat trout. Five miles downstream, on the south side of the footbridge, the trail passes the abandoned half mile trail west to the old Brown’s Cabin trailhead. Brown’s Cabin was the site of an early day Forest Service ranger station. Continuing south, the trail climbs and traverses a pumice bluff with views of the rapids below. The trail follows the river’s edge as it winds around Big Bend and terminates on Forest road #6510, one mile from the junction with Hwy. 230.
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