Book a relaxing waterfront stay at these iconic places steeped in tradition.
When it comes to gorgeous waterways, Southern Oregon is second to none. Home to the Wild and Scenic Rogue, Illinois and North Umpqua rivers, this part of the state also holds some of the most storied and iconic river lodges in Oregon. Here you’ll find cabins and inns rich in history and tradition, where nature-loving families have come for decades to experience the magic. Of course, these places book up fast and some close for the winter, so start your planning now.
Find Tranquility on the Rogue
About 16 miles downstream from Grants Pass and close to Indian Mary County Park, you’ll find Morrisons Rogue Wilderness Lodge, a haven for anglers, hikers and nature lovers. The inn dates back to 1945, when a river guide and mill worker named Lloyd Morrison navigated the shortages inflicted by World War II to procure enough bird’s-eye pine wood to build his dream: a lodge that could accommodate fisherfolk.
Today the sprawling resort includes a collection of rooms and cabins tucked among trees that line the Rogue. Some units come with fireplaces or even kitchens. A 5-acre riverfront lawn, a private beach and public hiking trails add more fun. Come evening, head to the main lodge, where you’ll find a library and a river-rock fireplace, as well as meals by chef Matt Garcy, whose locally sourced menus include Oregon beef, wild fish and garden-grown produce.
Chasing Fish and Birds Near Klamath Falls
The Klamath River Basin is a naturalist’s wonderland with magnificent lakes, cool rivers and expansive sagebrush landscapes that attract a panoply of wildlife. Ease yourself into the middle of the action at the Lonesome Duck Ranch, a 200-acre property about 25 miles north of Klamath Falls in Chiloquin, where you can spy on grouse and quail wandering among the ranch lands, as well as access some of the easiest and most productive fishing holes. Two guesthouses on-site come with kitchens, barbecues, and either a fireplace or a wood-burning stove.
The ranch is framed by the 2.3-million-acre Fremont-Winema National Forest to the east. To the west and north lie the Williamson River, a fishery known for massive trout. Catches can top 10 pounds, some of the largest on the entire continent. The property’s two guesthouses come with a rowboat and a canoe, though you can also fish right from the property. In winter guests can use the free snowshoes to explore the area. Be sure to check out Crater Lake National Park, too, about 40 miles away.
For meals you can bring your own supplies and cook in the cabins or wander over to The TP in Chiloquin, an old-school fast-food joint with burgers, melts and awesome shakes.
A Link to the Past Near Grants Pass
When Hollywood hot shots like Clark Gable and Carole Lombard needed a break from pressures of the movie industry, they headed to Southern Oregon for a stay at the historic Weasku Inn. There, about 6 miles east of downtown Grants Pass, they could wander the lush grounds, float along the Rogue River and relax in a cozy lodge with exposed beams next to a crackling fire in a river-rock fireplace.
The Weasku Inn — a play on words, as in “we ask you in” — has been around since 1924. Today the property has five rooms in the main log-cabin lodge with balconies as well as 11 luxury waterfront cabins with vaulted ceilings, fireplaces and views of the riverbank.
The vibe here is one of complete welcome, with afternoon hors d’oeuvres, campfire s’mores and plenty of opportunities to relax. Spend your days exploring the wineries of the Applegate and Jacksonville wine trails or fishing the river accessible directly from the property.
Striking Liquid Gold Near Roseburg
Perched on a bluff overlooking the spectacular North Umpqua River, the Steamboat Inn has evolved over the decades from a humble store to a landmark for enthusiastic anglers. About 40 miles east of Roseburg, the inn offers a collection of lodging options surrounded by nature and water. One unit, the Falls Suite, even has a Japanese-style soaking tub with views of the river below.
While steelhead fishers know the Steamboat best, thanks to the North Umpqua’s deep pools, the inn is also a favorite of hikers and bikers. You’ll find old-growth forests on the Mott Segment of the North Umpqua Trail. Highway 138 leads past numerous waterfalls, and guests are well within range of the Umpqua Valley Wine Trail, too.
The Steamboat has always been synonymous with good food and wine — it has hosted annual events to support Oregon’s wine industry since its emergence in the 1970s. You’ll find farm-to-table meals with indulgences like black-truffle ravioli and a robust wine list.
Be sure to check opening hours, keeping in mind that the inn is closed for a winter break from December through February. While guests can dine in the restaurant every day from March to Thanksgiving, the public has more limited access. It’s best to call ahead for the most current information.