Because we woke up in a cloud on Day 2 of Crater Lake, we descended the mountain and spent time in Rogue River Gorge (within Umpqua National Forest — or at least on the edge of it). Watching the way the water rushed down through the gorge was both enthralling and terrifying. There are signs all over the place reminding visitors to stay on the path and back from the river itself (for good reason), but it was certainly something to behold!
The gorge itself was formed from a collapsed lava tube, and at a certain point you can view a “natural bridge”, where the river disappears into an intact underground lava tube, and then later resurfaces further down. We mainly stayed along the river trail and natural bridge viewpoint, but there are many other hiking trails and waterfalls to explore in the area as well, complete with beautiful old-growth forests.
As we headed back to Crater Lake Lodge, we stopped briefly at the Union Creek Historic District. Being in this small area is almost like stepping back in time. The area still holds on to much of the structure it began with when it was built in the early 20th century. There are a bunch of rustic cabins you can rent (we kind of kicked ourselves that we hadn’t known about it earlier), a small restaurant, ice cream shop, general store, and what I swear must have been a fountain in its recreational hey-day:
A sign at the site reads:
Welcome to Union Creek Historic District
Listed on the National Register of Historic
Places because of its historic recreational
use and its rustic architecture
It is definitely worth a peek if you’re out that way!