Sucker Creek

Sucker Gap Shelter

  • Moderate (to cirque lake)
  • 6.4 miles round-trip
  • 1350 feet elevation gain
  • Open early June to mid-November
  • Use: hikers, horses

  • Difficult (to Swan Mountain)
  • 9.8 miles round-trip
  • 2400 feet elevation gain

At the headwaters of Sucker Creek a rustic shelter stands in a meadow ringed with huge incense cedars. The shelter is a perfectly good hiking goal, but nearby are two attractions that are less well known­—a hidden lilypad lake in a cliff-rimmed glen and a viewpoint atop trailless Swan Mountain.

Sucker Creek won its gullible-sounding name in the 1850s gold rush, when miners from Illinois (proudly known to Midwesterners as the “Sucker State”) christened both the Illinois River and this tributary, Sucker Creek.

To drive here, …

… Early in summer you’ll see the yellow clusters of Oregon grape, the state flower. The large three-part leaves along the trail are vanilla leaf, which puts up a little stalk of tiny white flowers in June. Its roots were sometimes mashed by pioneers as a vanilla substitute.

After 2 miles the path …

To find the other attractions nearby, continue …

Other Hiking Options

If you’re coming from Medford, it’s quicker to …

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