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Rogue River siskiyou National Forest, OR

About Rogue River-Siskiyou National ForestThe main entrance for the Rogue River section of the approximately 1.8-million-acre Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is from the south via I-5 from Medford, while the entrance for the Siskiyou section is on Oregon's southern coast and may be accessed on the east by US 199, on the west by US 101 and on the north and south by I-5.

From the Cascades to the coast, the forest spans three mountain ranges within four distinct geologic provinces. Seven isolated wildernesses—Grassy Knob, Kalmiopsis, Red Buttes, Rogue-Umpqua Divide, Siskiyou, Sky Lakes and Wild Rogue—feature more than 338,000 pristine acres. The forest also contains hundreds of miles of free-flowing water in 11 major rivers teeming with wild strains of salmon and steelhead.

The Rogue River section encompasses two separate units in southwestern Oregon. The western unit includes 7,535-foot Mount Ashland, the highest point in the Siskiyou Mountain Range, and the headwaters of the Applegate River. Its many environments include open woodlands, conifer forests and rocky ridgetops with many botanical specimens.

The eastern unit contains the upper reaches of the Rogue River and Mount McLaughlin, a 9,495-foot volcanic cone. The Upper Rogue is generally too difficult for float trips, but it is still popular for other recreational pursuits and for its scenery in the volcanic terrain of the Cascade Range. The area's forest of Douglas fir, ponderosa pine and other conifers is enhanced by meadows, lakes and streams.

The Rogue River section is the western gateway to Crater Lake National Park. Two fascinating geological interpretive sites, Natural Bridge and Rogue Gorge, are located along Crater Lake Highway. Developed campgrounds and opportunities for snowmobiling, sledding and cross-country skiing are available.

The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail follows the southern Oregon Cascades and Siskiyou Mountains from Crater Lake into California. This and other forest trails provide access for hiking or pack-and-saddle trips.

Within the Applegate Valley region is Dutchman's Peak Lookout, with an elevation of 7,410 feet; it was built in 1927. It is one of the last cupola-topped lookout buildings still in use to detect forest fires. The lookout, 33 miles from Ashland via I-5 and SR 238, affords a panoramic view.

Also in the gold-rich Applegate Valley are remnants of hydraulic mining operations carried out by Chinese miners in the mid-19th century; one such site is along the Gin Lin Trail near the popular recreation facilities at Applegate Lake.

The Siskiyou section has rugged scenery and varied recreational facilities. Known as the “Botanist's Paradise,” Siskiyou contains large numbers of plant species, including Brewer/weeping spruce and Port Orford cedar.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and Medford District Bureau of Land Management jointly manage the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River. The river traverses the area and is famous for catches of salmon and cutthroat and steelhead trout, in addition to its challenging white-water rafting. Hiking and backpacking are popular in the spring and fall, but high temperatures in late summer may discourage some hikers from taking on the entire 40-mile Rogue River National Recreation Trail, which offers outstanding views of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River Canyon.

The Wild Rogue Wilderness is along the Rogue River between Mule Creek and Watson Creek; the area is accessible only by river or by foot trail. Boat trips are available up the Rogue River from Gold Beach and downriver from Grants Pass.

Kalmiopsis Wilderness covers 179,755 acres, with shallow, rocky canyons and mountain streams. It is accessible only by foot or by horseback. This is the principal range of the rare Port Orford cedar and the Brewer, or weeping, spruce. The Kalmiopsis leachiana, a small plant similar to the rhododendron considered to be one of the world's rarest shrubs, also can be found in the wilderness.

The 17,200-acre Grassy Knob Wilderness lies in steep, rugged tree-covered canyons 7 miles east of Port Orford. Two roads provide access to the area and offer vistas of the wilderness and the Pacific.

The Red Buttes Wilderness, 3,414 acres southeast of Cave Junction, extends north from the California border. Eleven miles of trails, including the Boundary National Recreation Trail, are within the small wilderness area, which ranges in elevation from 3,600 to 6,300 feet. Wildflowers and open ridgetop meadows characterize the sub-alpine wilderness.

The Bear Camp Coastal Route (which includes Bear Camp Road and Forest Road # 23) is not advisable for winter travel. It also is not recommended for travel trailers or larger recreational vehicles. SR 199 (the Redwood Highway) is the most preferable route to travel, especially for recreational vehicles, vehicles towing trailers, or for those unaccustomed to driving on winding mountain roads with one lane.

For further information contact Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, 3040 Biddle Rd., Medford, OR 97504; phone (541) 618-2200 or TTY (866) 296-3823.

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Rogue River siskiyou National Forest, OR

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