Natural Bridge

Rogue River near Natural Bridge

  • Easy (to Natural Bridge)
  • 2.4-mile loop
  • 300 feet elevation gain
  • Open mid-March through November

  • Easy (Rogue Gorge and Union Creek)
  • 2.2-mile loop
  • No elevation gain

The upper Rogue River puts on its two most spectacular performances in the popular Union Creek resort area: a disappearing act where the river vanishes underground and a daredevil act where it squeezes through a rock chasm. Easy loop hikes visit each of the attractions. If you’d like to see both, a moderate 8- mile hike combines the two loops in one.

The secret behind both of the river’s stunts is its use of lava tubes. Several thousand years ago Crater Lake’s volcano filled this canyon with a long basalt lava flow. When the lava’s crusted surface stopped moving, the molten rock underneath kept on flowing, leaving long caves. At Natural Bridge the Rogue River funnels through one of these tubes like water through a hose. At Rogue Gorge the river has ripped open the cave’s roof, leaving a slot of raging whitewater.

For the Natural Bridge loop, drive …

Most tourists turn back here. But a lovely …

The other easy loop hike, to Rogue Gorge, is a more civilized tour, passing summer cabins, campgrounds, and an ice cream shop in the village of Union Creek.

To start, drive …

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