Limpy and Waters Creeks

Waters Creek trail

  • Easy (Limpy Creek)
  • 1-mile loop
  • 120 feet elevation gain
  • Open all year

  • Easy (Waters Creek)
  • 3.4-mile loop
  • 400 feet elevation gain

Two kid-friendly nature trails loop through adjacent creek valleys in the hills west of Grants Pass. Each trail has charming creek bridges, shady forests, and meadows with spring wildflowers. The Limpy Creek loop takes only an hour, and Waters Creek requires just two, so it’s easy to do both in a day.

Limpy was the “white” name given to one of two Indian brothers whose families lived where Limpy Creek joins the Rogue River. Limpy and his brother Cholcultah were among the more than 1400 Takelma, Tututni, and Dakubetede tribespeople rounded up by the U.S. Army after the bloody 1856 Rogue River Indian War and shipped to a distant reservation on the northern Oregon Coast. The following year Cholcultah said, “I am told the President is our Great Father. Why then should he compel us to suffer here? Does he not know it is against our will? If he cannot fulfill the promises made to us through his agents, why does he not let us go back to our homes?”

In 1996, construction of a highway bridge near the mouth of Limpy Creek prompted the Bureau of Land Management and the University of Oregon to excavate the site. They found a 600-year-old Indian village with arrowheads, middens, and notched stone fishing net sinkers, as well as buckles, beads, musket balls, and glass bottle fragments from white visitors since 1827.

To find the Limpy Creek trailhead …

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon.