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An easy stroll along the Elk Creek Valley with creek access and wildflowers in season.


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Map Key

5.6

Miles

9.0

KM

Point to Point

1,742' 531 m

High

1,581' 482 m

Low

296' 90 m

Up

140' 43 m

Down

1%

Avg Grade (1°)

11%

Max Grade (6°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Swimming · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly The trail is an old paved road, essentially flat - easy walking for little ones and strollers. There are a few places where the road allows access to Elk Creek for wading and splashing.

This trail is open year-round. No permits are required.

Need to Know

There are vault toilets at the northern and southern trailheads.

Description

Elk Creek is a tributary of Oregon's Rogue River whose confluence with the Rogue is just northeast of Shady Cove, Oregon. In 1986, about three miles upstream of the confluence, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction on what was expected to be the Elk Creek Dam.

In 1988, when the dam was only one third its designed height, construction was stopped by litigation and additional studies that demonstrated it did not make economic sense and would also significantly impact salmon. In 2008, the dam project was finally abandoned.

In anticipation of the dam being built, the old Elk Creek Road, which ran along the creek, had been replaced by a new Elk Creek Road well above the creek. In 2014, after replacement of bridges and the installation of trailheads with amenities, the Corps officially opened the old Elk Creek Road and surrounding lands to the public as a new park for hiking and biking.

This trail is that old road. Parking lots have been installed at the northern (Homesteader's) and southern (Yellow Rock) trailheads. The old road is no longer maintained but is easy walking in all weathers, even when the surrounding terrain is muddy. There are wildflowers in the Spring and colored leaves in the Fall. It's just a good place for a nice hike.

The road approaches the creek in only a few spots. About 1 mile south of the northern trailhead you can leave the paved road on a dirt road that closely follows the creek to a small, part sand, part cobble beach. This is a popular location (7-Mile Swimhole) in the heat of summer. Continuing south on the dirt road will bring you back to the paved road.

Contacts

Shared By:

BK Hope

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote

#29705

Overall
  3.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#966

in Oregon

#29,705

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353 Since Apr 18, 2021
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Photos

The little beach at the popular swimming/wading spot along Elk Creek.
Apr 18, 2021 near Prospect, OR
Elk Creek just downstream of the swimming spot.
Apr 18, 2021 near Prospect, OR
Along the dirt road that goes out the swimming hole on Elk Creek.
Apr 18, 2021 near Prospect, OR
Through one of the meadows (old farm fields) along the Elk Creek Trail.
Apr 18, 2021 near Prospect, OR
Along the Elk Creek Trail through a gallery of trees.
Apr 18, 2021 near Shady Cove, OR
Elk Creek in the spring during high water.
Apr 18, 2021 near Shady Cove, OR

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