From the rugged coast of the Pacific Ocean, to the vivid blue of Crater Lake, adventure on the water awaits you here in Southern Oregon.
What's your pleasure? Fishing? Name a fish, and you're likely to find it here in this diverse region.
Jet boating? Travel up the Rogue River from Gold Beach and experience the Wild & Scenic corridor, where wildlife outnumbers people. With so many adventures from which to choose, let your imagination have free reign and find yourself on the water in Southern Oregon.
Oregon Lakes & Rivers: Travel and Recreation
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Rogue River Valley
This world famous river was designated "Wild & Scenic" in 1968. It was a favorite vacation getaway for Clark Gable, John Wayne and other entertainers from Hollywood's Golden Age, and a favorite, too, with countless generations of families.
The headwaters of the Rogue are on the western slopes of Mt. Mazama, in Crater Lake National Park. More than 200 miles later, it crashes into the Pacific Ocean at Gold Beach. In between you'll find steep canyons, gentle meadows, amazing rock formations, old growth forests and a huge range of whitewater rafting options, from Class I to IV.
Distinct sections of the Rogue - the Upper, Middle, Lower Rogue, and Rogue River Canyon - each offer a different set of adventures. It's well known also for champion-size Chinook and king salmon, steelhead, and other varieties.
Parks and camping spots are abundant, as are charming turn-of-the-century towns, Native American history, mighty redwoods, and much more.
The area is named for early pioneers Jesse and Lindsay Applegate, who opened the road to Southern Oregon in 1846. They came to Oregon on the original Oregon Trail, created a scouting party and set out in June 1846, blazing a trail through the Willamette Valley and continuing to just south of Ashland.
In August 1846, hundreds of pioneers came to Oregon on the new Applegate Trail. By 1853, more than 3,500 pioneers took this route, which is followed today by Interstate 5 and Highway 66.
The Applegate Valley is the middle of three adjacent river valleys extending from the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains along the California border to the Rogue River in the north. The forested slopes and often snow-covered peaks of the Siskiyou Mountains are reflected in the clear blue waters of Applegate Lake in the Rogue River National Forest. In this scenic setting the U.S. Forest Service operates hike-in campgrounds and lake shore areas for picnicking, swimming and boating. The lake extends to the California border and a hiking trail follows the 18 mile shoreline.
The Umpqua River Valley
The headwaters of the Umpqua River are found at Diamond Lake, so-named for its rare beauty as it snugs up to the craggy peaks of Mt. Thielsen and Mt. Bailey in the Cascade Range. At over 5,000 feet, Diamond Lake is both a summer and winter play paradise, offering trout fishing, cycling and horseback riding in the summer and snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and other sports in the winter.
As it winds it way to the Pacific, the Umpqua River passes through the Umpqua National Forest, which holds the distinction of having the largest Old Growth Douglas Fir Forest in the world. Lemolo Lake and dozens of waterfalls are found along Highway 138 as it follows the river to the sea. Steelhead fly fishing along the North Umpqua is some of the best anywhere, and inspired famous Western novelist Zane Grey to make it his annual vacation destination. You'll find rafting, fishing for spring and fall Chinook here.
Visit one of America's crown jewels, Crater Lake National Park. No place else on earth combines a deep pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost 2,000 feet high; a picturesque island and a violent volcanic past.
Crater Lake National Park offers year-round adventure and fun, from winter cross-country skiing and snowshoeing to summer camping, boat tours, hiking and scenic tours around the Lake.
Take a boat tour around the Lake! Volcano Boat Tours begin for the season the 4th of July weekend and end on Labor Day.
Kokanee Salmon and Rainbow Trout are both present in Crater Lake. No fishing license is required within the boundaries of Crater Lake National Park. The lake can be fished year-round except when weather prevents safe access.
Wizard Island is also open while boat tours are running. Crater Lake is accessible for certified scuba divers. All divers are required to obtain a diving permit upon arrival at the park. Permits are free of charge and can be procured from the Canfield Building (Ranger Station) in the Park Headquarters complex.
Mountain Lakes Wilderness
The explosive collapse of a 12,000 foot volcano, followed by eons of glacial carving, combined to create this unique wilderness area, located on a broad region about halfway between Medford and Klamath Falls. Visitors will discover sparkling alpine lakes and streams, flower-strewn meadows, cool forests and magnificent ridge-top vistas.
A central trail, which circumvents the crater, is reached by one of the three access trails. Lake of the Woods, Fourmile Lake, Howard Prairie Lake, Hyatt Lake and Fish Lake provide a huge variety of choices for boating, swimming and waterskiing. You'll find camping, picnicking, and of course, tons of fishing!