Description - The Prospect Ranger District of the Rogue River National Forest invites visitors to explore the upper Rogue River country. Located in the Cascade Mountains , the District's 242,000 acres offer a variety of natural features and recreational opportunities. The District is bisected by the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway, and provides access to the Sky Lakes and Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness areas, the Wild and Scenic Upper Rogue River, and adjoins Crater Lake National Park.
The Union Creek Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its rustic structures built by Civilian Conservation Corps members stationed in the area during the 1930's. Local travelers information, permits, and information on current resource management activities can be obtained at the Prospect Ranger Station, located along Oregon Highway 62 near milepost 45 adjacent to the community of Prospect.
The scenery in the Upper Rogue region is spectacular! From its headwaters at Boundary Springs, just inside Crater Lake National Park, to its exit from the District near the Ranger Station, the Upper Rogue River has been designated a Wild and Scenic River. Sculpting its path through the volcanic landscape created by the Cascade Range and the eruption of Mt. Mazama, the landscape offers examples of nearly vertical incised pumice canyons, remnant cores of an ancient volcano now known as Rabbit Ears, and a lava tube arching across the entire Rogue River at Natural Bridge. Waterfalls are abundant on the District, with easy access from the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway to trailheads leading to National Creek Falls and Muir Creek Falls. The 48 mile long Upper Rogue National Recreation Trail generally follows the river along its course through the District, and can be accessed at several locations. This trail is particularly wondrous in the fall as the brilliant reds and golds of vine maple, dogwood and alder contrast with the green of the conifers.
Two interpretive sites located near Union Creek share a glimpse of the geologic history of the area. At Rogue Gorge and Natural Bridge, short interpretive trails provide access to view the unique geology and hydrology of the river as it carves its way through a 20 foot wide chasm at Rogue Gorge, and actually disappears into a lava tube at Natural Bridge. Both of these sites are handicapped accessible, and the short, paved trails provide easy walking for people of all ages.
Camping opportunities on the Prospect Ranger District run the gamut from dispersed wilderness experiences found in the Sky Lakes and Rogue Umpqua Divide wilderness areas to the Farewell Bend Campground offering a campground host, space for large trailers and RVs, flush toilets and running water. Other developed campgrounds include Mill Creek, River Bridge, Abbott Creek, Huckleberry Mountain, Natural Bridge, Union Creek, and Hamaker. No shower or hookup facilities are available at any of the campgrounds on the District, and fees vary depending on services provided. The season for most of our campgrounds falls between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with a few extending into the fall. Campsites are available on a first come, first served basis only.
Prospect Ranger District maintains over 100 miles of Hiking trails. Most of the trails either follow the Rogue River itself, or traverse the high Rogue-Umpqua Divide. Elevations range from 2,500 to 4,000 feet along the river, and from 4,000 to near 6,000 feet along the Divide. Snow usually covers the higher elevation trails until June or July, and then you can expect to be greeted by a very hungry mosquito population until mid-August. Some trails receive limited maintenance, so it is a good idea to check at the Ranger Station for information pertaining to your route.
Anglers can cast their luck into the Rogue River and tributaries for native and stocked rainbow trout throughout the general fishing season. Hunters arrive on the District in the fall for their chance at deer and elk. Huckleberry picking has had a long history in the area, from subsistence efforts of Native Americans, to the turn of the century camps frequented by entire families from the Rogue Valley. Today's huckleberry pickers find the areas surrounding Huckleberry Mountain Campground and Abbott Butte to be prime locations to spend their late summer days. Information on peak time and availability can be obtained at the Ranger Station.
Winter recreationists also have a multitude of opportunities on the Prospect District. The Farewell Bend Snow Play area, located near Union Creek offers a terrific sledding/tubing hill, as well as access to several cross country skiing trails. Speaking of cross country skiing, the District maintains 35 miles of Nordic trail. Additionally, there are 103 miles of marked snowmobile trails, with access located at 1,000 Springs Sno-Park and the West Diamond Lake Sno-Park. An Oregon Sno-Park permit is required to park at winter recreation sites, and is available at the Ranger Station as well as local businesses.
Services in the Prospect area include gasoline, lodging, food, laundry, and supplies, and lodging, food and supplies can be obtained in Union Creek. Prospect is located just off Hwy. 62 forty three miles from Medford, and thirty eight miles from Crater Lake. This rural, unincorporated community comes together to sponsor an annual Bluegrass Festival in June, and Jamboree and Timber Carnival in August. Just outside the community you'll find the spectacular Mill Creek Falls plunging 270 feet into the Rogue River below.
- This Ranger District features excellent opportunities for fishing as well as whitewater boating in the Rogue River. There are over 100 miles of hiking trails and the campgrounds offer both dispersed wilderness experiences to hosted sites with more facilities.
Recreation - Activities include hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing, whitewater boating, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Climate - Climate on the Rogue River National Forest changes with elevation. Much of the precipitation comes from October to April in the form of rain at the low elevations and as snow in the higher elevations where very cold temperatures are possible. Although snow is possible in the lowest elevations, it is infrequent. Late spring, summer and early autumn tend to bring clear, sunny days with moderate temperatures.
The Prospect Ranger District is located in the northern portion of the Rogue River National Forest and may be accessed via Highways 62 and 230 and Primary Forest Routes 66 and 37.