Nature’s own magic act
Everyone loves a good magic trick, and nature seems to have figured out a way to create one- without the smoke and mirrors. Natural Bridge, a point located along the upper reaches of the Rogue River, is where the magic happens. At this point, the Rogue River disappears underground into a 250-foot lava tube, with a small amount of water escaping from the tube, forming a pool under the bridge. All of the water, slowly but surely, reappears at the surface further down the river.
There are many different ways to hike this stretch of the Rogue River. Natural Bridge itself can be reached via the Upper Rogue River trail. The easy hiking 2.4 mile loop option includes views of Natural Bridge and is accessible for all ages. For this route, start at the Natural Bridge viewing area. Stay on the near side of the river and start hiking upstream. Hike upstream until you reach the Woodruff Bridge. Cross the bridge here and head downstream back to another foot bridge right near your starting point. The loop can be done in either direction with no substantial advantages either way. The trail itself has amazing river views, views of Natural Bridge, and ancient old-growth forests.
There are different campsites in the area, all of which have easy access to Natural Bridge, and the many surrounding recreation areas. This area is 10-15 minutes away from Crater Lake National Park and is a great place to stay to enjoy the park. Longer hiking options continue upstream to the Rogue Gorge along the river. You can also do a very short hike to the Rogue Gorge view point just off the highway, this option is more of a leg stretch than a "hike" but has amazing views of the gushing river. More details and direction on different hiking routes here.
While this natural wonder is as impressive as the lush forests around it, it is not protected. If you want to help protect one of nature’s own magic acts, be sure to sign the petition and support the Crater Lake Wilderness region for generations to come.