Southern Oregon hiking opportunities don’t get much more spectacular than at and around Union Creek Resort, which we like to think of as nature’s perfect playground. Great weather, old growth forests, rivers, mountain trails, streams and waterfalls are all essentials on a hiker’s or biker’s checklist, and we’ve got them all.

It’s an outdoor lover’s paradise; an ideal setting for hiking, mountain biking, cycling, waterfall exploring, and much more. Take in the deep greens of lush forest foliage, the earthy browns of towering Douglas Fir trees and dirt and pine needle-covered trails beneath your feet, and the crisp blues and whites of rivers and streams alongside your trail.

Union Creek Resort is basecamp to outdoor adventure in every direction. No matter your level of activity, whether you want challenges of endurance or adventure, or enjoy peace and serenity in the most natural, breathtaking setting, there are countless opportunities for you!

Here are a few of our favorite local hikes and outdoor experiences.

Union Creek Trail

UnionCreekTrail2Starting from our own Union Creek Resort grounds, Union Creek Trail follows Union Creek, with a 12- mile hike ultimately meeting the Pacific Crest Trail. Along the path you will encounter an Eden of exotic plant and animal life, from beavers building out their dens among the creek flora to alligator lizards skittering below monstrous, 700-year-old Douglas Firs a quarter mile in. Marvel at the many waterfalls feeding the creek and don’t forget your bathing suit; there’s a great swimming hole a hop, skip, and a jump from the resort with shallow, calm waters for the kids and deep, crystal-clear pools adjacent for those looking to swim.

Natural Bridge

NaturalBridgeThe Upper Rogue River puts on one of its most spectacular performances in the Union Creek resort area: a disappearing act where the river vanishes underground. The water flows underground through a 250-foot lava tube before bubbling back to the surface. It’s just a short drive south from Union Creek Resort, or reach it by continuing on the Upper Rogue River Trail from the Rogue River Gorge. 2.4-mile loop with 300 feet of elevation gain.

Upper Rogue River Trail


The Upper Rogue River Trail, which is designated as a National Recreation Trail, holds a 47.1-miles-long adventure beginning at North Fork Park Trailhead and ending at Mazama Viewpoint Trailhead. Along the way you can see Boundary Springs where the Rogue River begins, the powerful Rogue River Gorge carving through a tight canyon, Natural Bridge where the water disappears inside an underground lava tube, and many other spectacular sights along the Wild & Scenic Upper Rogue River.

Rogue Gorge Trail


The A 3.5 mile Rogue Gorge Trail is highlighted by the impressive Rogue River Gorge, where water powerfully charges through a narrow channel of basalt lava. The Rogue River Gorge, literally steps away from Union Creek Resort, features cascading waterfalls at the head of the gorge and churning, rushing waters through ancient lava tubes.

The Rogue Gorge trail begins at the Natural Bridge Viewpoint parking lot and travels upriver on the Upper Rogue River.

Takelma Gorge

Takelma Gorge

Just 6 miles south of Union Creek Resort you’ll find a spectacular sight in Takelma Gorge, a half-mile-long, 150-foot-deep slot in which the Upper Rogue River charges through ancient lava with vigor. A result of Mt. Mazama’s eruption 7,700 years ago, Takelma Gorge was formed when 650 feet of lava and ash settled on the Rogue Valley. The Rogue River flows through a crack in the lava where water eroded a canyon.

There are two ways to get to Takelma Gorge by a relatively easy hike that’s suitable for families with children. From Union Creek Resort, drive 6 miles to the Woodruff Bridge Picnic Area and park. Takelma Gorge is a 4-mile round trip hike from Woodruff Bridge travelling south on the Rogue River. The second route is from River Bridge, which is about a mile past Woodruff Bridge, and bit longer hike at 7 miles round trip, and travelling north on the Rogue.

Mt. Thielsen


Towering above Diamond Lake, Mt. Theilsen’s stony spire offers incredible panoramic views of as far as Mt. Shasta to the south to the Three Sisters to the east. It’s 10 miles round-trip, with 3,800 feet of elevation gain.

Mt. Scott


While visiting Crater Lake National Park, why not get an even more grand view of the lake’s blue waters from atop 9,000-foot Mt. Scott, which was once a volcano itself. You can see the entire lake in one stunning and panoramic viewpoint that also includes the Klamath Basin and Eastern Cascades. It’s 2.5 miles one way and about a 5 to 6-hour roundtrip with great views nearly the entire way. Along the route you’ll see alpine wildflowers, pumice, and forests. The trailhead starts on the East Rim Drive, 14 miles east of the Park Headquarters, where you should check to make sure snow hasn’t covered the trail.

Boundary Springs Trail


While most rivers are formed through numerous, non-descript springs, brooks, and streams that join together to form a single flowing river, the Rogue River enjoys a single emergence at Boundary Springs that must be seen in person to believe. The Boundary Springs Trail is an easy-to-moderate hike close to Union Creek Resort taking hikers through deep green, lush forests to the Rogue River’s source. At this ending point, hikers will see the Rogue Headwaters: small ground springs emerge and flow down through moss-covered logs before rushing over a 15-foot waterfall.

These waters are born of a network of underground water below the Cascades known as the High Cascade Aquifer, which is believed to hold 7.5 trillion gallons of water. Rainfall and snowmelt collects in porous cracks in the ground and filters in the underground reservoir before emerging at different springs – one of which is the Rogue River.

Boundary Springs Trail is 5 miles round trip through the Rogue River canyon, taking about 2.5 hours. It meanders through lodge pole pine, mountain hemlock, and Shasta red fir, and moss-covered meadows and rocks, as well as past numerous springs and streams feeding into the Rogue River.

The trail begins at the Upper Rogue River Trail 33 miles from Union Creek Resort. From the resort, travel north on Highway 62 and straight on Highway 230 until reaching the Crater Lake Rim Viewpoint between mile markers 18 and 19.

Stuart Falls


Waterfalls and huckleberries draw hikers to Stuart Falls between Sky Lakes Wilderness and Crater Lake National Park. In addition to Stuart Falls (a 40-foot fan on a columnar basalt cliff) the route passes Red Blanket Falls and several unnamed cascades. 8.6 miles round-trip, with 1,500 feet of elevation gain.

Crater Lake National Park Hiking


There are more than 90 miles of one-way and loop hiking trails in the Crater Lake Park, including 33 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail as well as hikes up Mount Scott, Garfield Peak and Crater Peak. You can also hike to the lake’s surface on Cleetwood Trail. These are usually snow-free from mid-July to early October. The switchbacking trail down to Cleetwood Cove’s tour boat dock is the most popular path in Crater Lake National Park – and the only route to the lakeshore.

Just over 90% of the park is managed as wilderness, though these areas have yet to be designated as such. A permit is required for all overnight trips.

You can hike for several days or wander quietly as long as you like. In addition to the many trails that start inside the park, there are several connections with paths in the surrounding National Forests.

Crater Lake Hiking Trails





Notch Viewpoint
mile round trip
stroll. Overlook of Crater Lake and Phantom Ship
Crest Wildflower Garden
loop trail
stroll. Beautiful brook; Display of wildflowers July-Aug
level hike. Overlook of Annie Creek Canyon; old forest
miles round trip
climb; 500 ft elev gain. Historic fire tower; overlook
of Wizard Island
miles round trip
Strenuous climb; 700 ft elev gain. Only access to lakeside; swimming and fishing
Creek Canyon
miles loop trip
climb out of canyon. Deep stream cut canyon; wildflower
and wildlife sightings
miles round trip
to 3 hours
1,000 ft elev gain. Panoramic views; overlook of Phantom
miles round trip
1,500 ft elev gain. Highest peak in park. Outstanding
views; historic fire tower

Mouth of South Fork on Lost Creek Lake Trail


The Mouth of South Fork is a great day hike just 17 miles from Union Creek where you can catch amazing sights of Lost Creek Lake, the point at which the Rogue River meets the lake, and the confluence of the Rogue’s South Fork and main river. This hike is part of the Lost Creek Lake Trail, which travels all the way around the lake and also connects to the 40-mile Rogue River Trail. This particular hike is a 5-mile section (10 miles round trip) that begins at Peyton Bridge Trailhead located along Highway 62. Sights you’ll see include steep canyons, the Cascade Gorge, small side creeks, and plenty of Douglas Firs, grand firs, sugar and ponderosa pines.


The 33-mile circuit of Crater Lake is one of the most popular road-bike trips in the state. Although it would seem at first that this would be an easy trip, numerous ups and downs (especially on the east side of the lake) turn it into a demanding ride. Keep in mind that there are more hills on the east side, but there are also more views. An alternative is to do the 21-mile out and back ride from the Rim Village to the Cleetwood Cove Trailhead (and maybe add on a boat tour of the lake). There are no bike rentals available in Crater Lake National Park.

Crater Lake may be a dramatic draw for out-of-staters, but Oregonians visit neighboring Diamond Lake five times as often. A paved 11.5-mile loop trail provides an easy ride around the lake for mountain bikers. Distance: 11.5-mile loop, with 100 feet elevation gain.

Mountain Biking


Many of the local trails are great for mountain biking, including both Union Creek Trail and Union Creek Spur Trail, both of which are accessible from the Union Creek Resort grounds. The U.S. Forest Service recently installed a brand new bridge for ATVs, motorcycles, and mountain bikes that leads the way to dozens of branching paths.

The Lost Creek Reservoir Loop is 22 miles of easy-to-intermediate riding. Located just 17 miles from Union Creek Resort, the trail travels around the entire lake and includes both single track and paved areas. It will take between 2.5 and 3.5 hours to make the entire trip, and you’ll enjoy great views of the lake throughout.

Mountain bike rentals are available at the Union Creek Lodge.