By Tony Moceri
Oregon’s public lands serve up access to old-growth forests, meandering creeks and fish-bearing rivers. Union Creek Campground at Rouge River provides all three in one stop. This campground, located directly off the Crater Lake Highway, will please both as a home for a night or a few days. The lush forest affords privacy between campsites giving the feel of being alone in the woods.
Many of the spots are directly on Union Creek, which flows well into the summer months. Natural bridges in the form of fallen trees give access to the center of the creek and its many pools. Whether you are working on your balance while playing on the natural playground or dropping a line to catch a fish, Union Creek calls for engagement as the water gently flows by.
A trail at the west end of the campground leads to a short, flat hike that wanders its way to the confluence of Union Creek and the Rogue River. As you walk, Union Creek will come in and out of view before you reach a wooden bridge crossing the tributary just before it feeds into the river. The two come together in a wide-open area. The trees hanging over the bodies of water sit back, creating a sunny spot to enjoy the day.
With enough space for a full cast into the Rogue River, it’s a beautiful place for fishing. By early summer, the river is slow enough to swim in. However, the chilly water may allow for nothing more than the opportunity to get the camping grime off before rushing to shore to warm up.
Back at camp, each site has a picnic table and a fire pit making it an easy place to relax as you take in the sound of Union Creek. The campground has both toilets and water as well as a public phone as there is no cell service in the area.
Located approximately 20 minutes from Crater Lake National Park, the location offers easy access to everything the park has to offer and a variety of other hiking and other outdoor recreation options in the area.
An important note is that there are two Union Creek campgrounds in Oregon. So, when planning your trip, be sure to select the one at the Rogue River if that’s your intention. Reservations can be made at recreation.gov.