Wild and Scenic Rogue River: Hellgate Canyon


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link


The Rogue River in Oregon is one of the eight rivers designated a Wild and Scenic River by Congress in 1968. Parts of it are managed by the National Forest Service and the rest is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. To see my earlier post on the Natural Bridge in National Forest Service, click here.


We explored the BLM-managed section while staying in Grants Pass with a four hour dinner tour through Hellgate Jetboat Excursions. Our excursion departed from the landing by the Caveman Bridge in Grants Pass. This bridge is named for its proximity to the Oregon Caves National Monument.


We motored about 20 miles up river while our guide told stories and directed us to any wildlife sightings. We saw some turtles and a bald eagle.


Every so often, the guide would warn us to stow our phones and cameras in a plastic bag and the driver would speed up, do a a spin-out and get us all wet. It was a hot summer day, so this was welcome, except for the few ladies with fancy hair and makeup who obviously hadn’t read the disclaimers (you WILL get wet) prior to signing up.


Then we arrived at historic Hellgate Canyon with 100-foot-high cliffs on either side.  Several movies have been filmed here including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and  River Wild.


A few minutes downriver from the canyon, we disembarked at the Hellgate River Lodge. We ate a barbecue meal on the homestead’s patio high above the Rogue River. We took a few pictures of the black-tailed deer hanging out nearby and then climbed back aboard the boat to return to Grants Pass.

Location: 966 SW 6th St, Grants Pass, OR 97526

Designation: Wild and Scenic River

Date designation declared: October 1968

Date of my visit: 8/24/2016


Flathead National Forest: Middle Fork Flathead River


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


We spent Day 4 of our Montana trip with Glacier Guides and Montana Raft Company. In the morning, we had hiked to Avalanche Lake inside the park (read about that here.) In the afternoon, we regrouped at the Glacier guides headquarters in West Glacier where we met up with our guide Ryan for a scenic float trip on the Flathead.


The Middle Fork Flathead River is a 92 mile river that forms the Southern boundary of Glacier National Park and the Northern boundary of Flathead National Forest. The Flathead is designated a National Wild and Scenic River.


The waters are pure and a haven for native Bull and Cutthroat Trout. The colorful rocks found here and around Glacier National Park are called Argillite. They range in color from red to green, depending on the heat and pressure they were exposed to during formation.


We shared a raft with another family from Los Angeles. We floated peacefully downstream, conversing with them and Ryan.


We put in around West Glacier where the river was wide open. As we traveled downstream, canyon walls rose up dramatically around us.


We landed about 5 miles south of where we’d started, by the Blankenship Bridge.


Location: West Glacier, MT

Designation: National Forest, Wild and Scenic River

Date designated or established: 1976

Date of my visit: 6/25/2018


Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest – Natural Bridge Interpretive Trail


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

The Rogue River–Siskiyou National Forest was originally two separate forest units covering parts of Oregon and California. They were combined into one unit in 2004. The Rogue River is a US Wild and Scenic River, also managed by the US Forest Service.


We stopped at the Natural Bridge Interpretive Trail on our way from Crater Lake to Grants Pass. There are restrooms in the parking lot and it’s just off the main road.
A short trail leads to a raging section of the Rogue River, which shoots through some lava tubes and comes out the other end as a waterfall…a natural wonder.


We were exhausted from a full day of hiking and exploring in Crater Lake National Park, so this was an excellent place to stop on our approximately 2-hour drive  back to our hotel.


It was an easy 1/4 mile walk to the natural land bridge from the parking lot with a level, wide path, benches and interpretive displays along the way. It was just enough for us to stretch our legs, take some photos and move on to the next stop.

For those interested in a more in-depth exploration of the area, the interpretive trail does connect to the Rogue Gorge Trail and Upper Rogue River Trail.

Location: 9 miles North of Prospect, OR

Designation: National Forest, Wild and Scenic River

Date designated or established: 2004

Date of my visit: 8/25/2016


Happy 50th to the Trails, Rivers, etc…


Remember that classic TV show where the pregnant wife has gone into sudden labor and the husband gets pulled over for speeding  while trying to reach the hospital but then the quick-thinking police officer provides an escort with sirens blazing for the expectant couple? Perhaps cliche, but fifty years ago today, that scene played out for my parents and I narrowly avoided charging into this world on the city streets thanks to the NYPD.


October of 1968 was also a fruitful month for our public lands. On October 2nd of that year, the National Trails System Act and the Wild and Scenic River Act were both signed into law.

The Tomales Point Trail is a National Recreation Trail contained within the NPS Point Reyes Unit.

The National Trails System Act initially designated two national scenic trails, the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, and made provisions to study 14 other trails for inclusion. The Act was later amended to include historic trails and rail trails. Today there are thousands of miles of national trails including 11 National Scenic Trails and 19 National Historic Trails. The trails are managed by five different government agencies and more information can be found on the Partnership for the National Trails System Website.

The Rogue Wild and Scenic River in Oregon was one of the original 8 rivers named under the Act in 1968.

The National Wild and Scenic River Act initially designated eight rivers and today protects over 150 rivers. These are managed by four government agencies and more information can be found on the National Rivers Website. To see my previous post on the Middle Delaware click here (posts on the Rogue and Flathead National Rivers are coming soon.)

The Smith Wild and Scenic River in California runs through parts of Redwood National Park.

Redwood National Park was also designated on October 2nd, 1968. To see my post on that park, click here.


Other park sites (which I have yet to visit) and are turning 50 in October include:

  • Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, Washington.
  • North Cascades National Park, Washington.
  • Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Washington.
  • Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, North Carolina.
  • Biscayne National Monument, Florida. (Re-designated Biscayne National Park in 1980)

Found this video clip I must have accidentally taken on my waterproof camera while kayaking down the Smith River: