Summer in Oregon is about exploring. It’s time to get outside and get your boots on the trail. We suggest the verdant corridor of the North Umpqua River in Southern Oregon. Starting just 22 miles northeast of Roseburg on Highway 138, this lesser-known gem affords 79 miles of wooded beauty for hiking, camping, horseback riding and mountain biking along the nationally designated Wild and Scenic River. It’s divided into 11 different sections ranging from 3 to 16 miles in length. Here are a few hikes to inspire you. (After all, you can’t do it all in one day.)
Tioga Hike (15.7 miles one way, difficult)
This hike starts at the western most trailhead, the Swiftwater Recreation Area. Pause at Deadline Falls to watch salmon and steelhead leaping upriver to spawn. Wind your way through old growth forest of hemlock, Douglas fir, Western red cedar and sugar pine to the Wright Creek trailhead. Bob Butte (near mile 5) is a popular turnaround spot for day hikers. Backpackers can camp along the trail following “Leave no Trace” guidelines.
Mott Hike (5.5 miles one way, moderate)
Starting at the Wright Creek Trailhead, the Mott segment offers a lovely riverside hike as well as various spur options, including the steep, 4-mile McDonald Trail and the 6-mile Riverview Trail — a fun loop option for mountain bikers. The Mott Bridge at the Mott Trailhead is a picturesque remnant of the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps.
Umpqua Hot Springs Hike (3.5 miles one way, easy)
Short and easy, this hike leaves the Toketee Lake Trailhead and crosses the river three times to end at Umpqua Hot Springs — 108 degrees, and a sure hot spot for tired legs. If you continue on a bit farther, you’ll find the dramatic cascades of Surprise Falls and Columnar Falls.
Lemolo Lake Hike (6.3 miles one way, moderate)
Start your hike at the White Mule Trailhead just west of the reservoir of Lemolo Lake with views of nearby Mt. Thielsen and adjacent Cascade foothills. The hike moves through a mixed conifer forest of Douglas fir trees and lodgepole and ponderosa pine.
For detailed information and to download a complete brochure of the trail, go to www.blm.gov/or/districts/roseburg/recreation/umpquatrails.