The Rogue River Trail is a gorgeous, rugged trail located in southwestern Oregon. The design of the trail makes it perfect for backpacking.
Chris & Mac
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Length: 40.2 miles One Way
Trailhead(s): Big Bend (West) / Grave Creek (East)
Elevation Gain: 4,875’
Trail Type: Out & Back
Permit Required? No
Considerations: Bear Hang or Canisters Necessary, Poison Oak, Ticks, Rattlesnakes
Season: Year Round
The Rogue River Trail is a gorgeous, rugged out and back trail located in southwestern Oregon. The hiking is relatively easy, with elevation gains created by the ups and downs as the trail moves along the Rogue River banks, and there are a great number of backcountry campsites all along the trail.
There are a few challenges associated with the trail. Ticks and poison oak are a problem, particularly on the west side of the trail, but manageable with proper care and bug repellent. Food storage is necessary, but bear hangs and boxes are provided at the camping areas most prone to problems. Rattlesnakes are also reported to be common along the trail, although we had no encounters with them. If you bring your dog, be aware that the trail is very rocky on the east side, so paw protection may be necessary. All in all, the challenges are manageable with proper care and the beauty of the trail makes it worth the effort.
Backpackers should give careful consideration to how they execute this hike. Although most backpackers begin the Rogue River Trail on the east side at Grave Creek, there are substantial problems with car break-ins at this trailhead. You can arrange to have your car shuttled form Graves to the Big Bend trailhead for a fee or, like us, you can start at the Big Bend Trailhead and park at the Foster Bar boat ramp. The boat ramp is secure due to a campground host in the attached campground (seasonal).
We really enjoyed backpacking this trail. Admittedly, the poison oak and ticks were very off-putting at first, but we quickly got “over it” and did not get poison oak or attached ticks (deet works!). Either way, the rugged beauty of the trail is outstanding and well worth the inconvenience. We will definitely be back, but will hit the trail in April, instead of the end of May as we did the first time, in an attempt to avoid the ticks and poison oak. If you have the opportunity, we highly recommend backpacking this trail even if you do not hike the entire 40.2 miles and do a shorter out and back instead.
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Rogue River Trail Slideshow
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