Boundary Springs Trail:
See where the Rogue River emerges from the ground at its headwaters
The famed Rogue River is a renowned source of outdoor adventure and enjoyment for rafting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, waterfall sightseeing, swimming and much more. The 215-mile river flows from the Cascade Range to the Pacific Ocean and entertains locals and visitors throughout the world, including author Zane Grey who wrote many books based on the waterway.
And 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.
In Rogue River Feud, Grey wrote of Boundary Springs and the Rogue River: “It was a river at its birth, and it glided away through the Oregon forest, with hurrying momentum, as if eager to begin the long leap down through the Siskiyous.”
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.
Perfect for a fall hike before snow starts falling in mid-October, 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.
How to get there:
The trail begins at the Upper Rogue River Trail #1034 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. As you hike up the trail, which is a gradual incline from 4,900 feet to 5,060 feet, you will hear the building, rumbling sound of Boundary Springs.
NOTE: Pets, horses, mountain bikes, motorized bike, ATV, and 4-wheel drive are not allowed on the trail and camping is forbidden within a quarter mile of the springs. It’s open June through October.