Imagine yourself as a traveler along a section of the Applegate Trail in the late 1800s. You have just arrived by stage coach at the Wolf Creek Inn. This is a long-sought-after refuge from a not-so-comfortable portage over mountains and across valleys. After paying 75 cents for a room, bath, and meals, you’re ready to relax. You sit down to a good meal and some easy conversation with the innkeepers. Afterward, the men sidle off to the tap room for some quaffs of beer while the ladies adjourn to the parlor. The conversation drifts from tales of inspirational beauty to frightful experiences of the trail.
The rooms are no longer 75 cents, but the refuge is still here preserved in its original state. Take a step back in time and visit the inn, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. In front of the tavern, you’ll find interpretive panels depicting life on the Applegate Trail. The inn still provides lodging and meals to the weary traveler.
The inn was built around 1883 for Henry Smith, a local merchant-entrepreneur. Wolf Creek Tavern, as it was known then, was exceptionally well crafted by local sawyers. It served local traffic to mines and stage travelers connecting between Roseburg and Redding prior to the completion of the Oregon and California railroad through the Siskiyou Mountains in 1887.
Wolf Creek Inn is the oldest continuously operated hotel in the Pacific Northwest. It is here that Jack London completed his novel Valley Of The Moon. As an important stop on the 16 day stagecoach journey from San Francisco to Portland, the Wolf Creek Inn has housed practically every important person found in the Northwest during the early history of Oregon.
Back in the early days of movies, the Inn became a refuge for beleaguered actors seeking an escape from demanding Hollywood studios. Clark Gable was a good friend of the innkeeper in the 1930s and stopped by several times while fishing the Rogue River just a few miles west of the Inn. Other visitors that have signed the guest register include Carole Lombard and Orson Wells.
Between 1975 and 1979, the Inn was acquired by the State of Oregon and restored. Wolf Creek Tavern is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is among the best preserved and oldest active travelers inns in Oregon.