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May 22, 2013
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What you need to know to hike or bike Oregon's North Umpqua Trail

Winding through stands of old-growth trees, past towering cliffs and over rushing rapids, the North Umpqua Trail is a peaceful, enlivening 79-mile path along the North Umpqua River.

The trail begins at Swiftwater Park, 22 miles east of Roseburg, and ends at Maidu Lake, the source of the North Umpqua River, in the Mount Thielsen Wilderness.

In the early 1970s, hiking enthusiasts envisioned a trail through the Umpqua National Forest. Through the persistent efforts of numerous volunteers and federal and local governments, ground was broken in 1978. The trail was completed in 1997.

Today, segments of the North Umpqua Trail varying from 3.5 to 15.7 miles in length can be accessed by 12 primary trailheads. The Tioga Segment is held by the Bureau of Land Management, while the others are located in the Umpqua National Forest and maintained by the U.S. Forest Service.

Primitive camping is allowed along the trail, but is recommended only out of view of other trail users. Horseback riders, mountain bikers, photographers and fishermen use the trail year-round.

Several spectacular man- and Mother Nature-made sites can be viewed from the trail.

The 9.6-mile Deer Leap Segment boasts the Medicine Creek Indian Pictographs and Toketee Falls, a double-tiered waterfall that plunges 80 and 40 feet over a sheer wall of columnar basalt into the emerald pool.

Hikers can follow a half-mile trail off the Hot Springs Segment that leads to a 108-degree hot springs covered by a log structure.

Natural occurrences such as slides, forest fires, fallen trees and snow pack affect trail conditions during the year. Three sections have limitations, listed below.

Segments of the North Umpqua Trail


Length:15.7 miles

Difficulty: Difficult, steep terrain, long distance

Trailheads: Swiftwater and Wright Creek


Length: 5.5

Difficulty: Moderate

Trailheads: Wright Creek and Mott


Length: 5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Trailheads: Mott and Panther

Limitation: The Panther Creek trail bridge is damaged. It is closed to equestrians year-round, but they may ford the stream from July 1 to September 15. Hikers and mountain bikers must cross the bridge one at a time.


Length: 3.7 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Trailheads: Panther and Calf


Length: 3.6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Trailheads: Calf and Marsters

Jessie Wright

Length: 4.1 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Trailheads: Marsters and Soda Springs

Deer Leap

Length: 9.6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate (west to east); difficult (east to west)

Trailheads: Soda Springs and Toketee Lake

Hot Springs

Length: 3.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Trailheads: Toketee Lake and Hot Springs

Limitations: The Deer Creek Bridge was destroyed. To reach the Umpqua Hot Springs, go to the trailhead off Forest Service Road 3401,hike past the restroom and make a hard left onto the North Umpqua Trail. To reach the hot springs, cross the trail bridge over the river.

Dread and Terror

Length: 13 miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Trailheads: Hot Springs and White Mule


Length: 6.3 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Trailheads: White Mule and Kelsay Valley


Length: 9 miles

Difficulty: Difficult

Trailheads: Kelsay Valley and Digit Point Access

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The News-Review Updated Jun 5, 2014 06:15PM Published Jun 4, 2014 09:00PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.