The Williamson River Gorge

travel oregon and see the unknown, make your own trails, hiking along the williamson river gorge in southern oregon near crater lake national park.

The Williamson River Gorge on the
southeastern corner of Crater Lake National Park

The Williamson River Gorge is relatively unknown even to the locals. You'll find no information about it in the tour guides. The locals in the know divide the river into the upper, middle and lower gorges, and the river offers considerable contrast between each.

The lower gorge is pictured here. Walking along this segment is a beautiful leisurely stroll, as can be easily seen. The only concern one might have is the holes dug by animals along the river banks. Just watch where you step. It's easy.

Brad and I attempted the middle gorge on several occasions. We never made it all the way to the upper gorge. We did make it to a beautiful waterfall one time. Another time we found the source of an underground spring flowing into the Williamson. The day was hot, and we were thirsty. We drank our fill, took off our clothes and played in the water, sunning on a boulder in the middle of the river.

One year Brad attempted the gorge alone. He thought he could use the water as a passageway upstream. He also took Boo Boo, his old dog, with him. Brad always took him along, carrying him when he couldn't walk. Well, the water didn't help him; there are too many rocky impediments, and he ended up carrying Boo Boo most of the way. He didn't make it back to the lower gorge until it was dark, the only light being from stars. Obviously, he could hardly see. Wearing nothing but a pair of shorts, he wandered into a field of nettles chest high. All the while carrying Boo Boo. He didn't make it home until 11:00 pm. But he did make it home. He has this to say about the Middle Gorge, "Rocky pools, boulders and abrupt waterfalls, which flow only in the spring, make the middle gorge all but impassable.

The upper gorge offers a rugged trail down the wall of a canyon. Foster Church from the Oregonian was here in May of 2004. He hiked the upper gorge and had this to say about it, "A trail leads into a canyon ... from there it crashes down the mountains, kicking around boulders the size of bungalows and creating magnificent falls and gorges."

The boulders were the feature that made the biggest impression on me the first time I did the hike in 1993. I was a baby to this way of life then. I've since climbed over much bigger boulders in the south Gorge of the Smith River, and that time my life depended on it. :) No matter, experiencing nature in this way is always profound. Far too deep to share with words.

Protect our National Forests and Wilderness Areas. Leave NO Trace!
Be sure to contact the local ranger station about conditions in the forest: fires,
roads and whatever, before setting out on your vacation.

Forward ~ Travel directions: hiking trails on the lower gorge & upper gorge on the Williamson River.

Back ~ Mt McLoughlin in the Cascade Mountains of
Oregon viewed from Hagelstein Park birding trail.

NPS: Crater Lake National Park
USFS: Fremont Winema National Forest.

Explore nature untrammeled: hiking with and without trails, birding trails, wildlife refuges, wetlands, river gorges, mountains, wilderness areas and more in Nearby Scenic Places: Directions, Map and Scenery.

the williamson river gorge in the fremont winema national forest located on the southeastern corner of crater lake national park.

Travel Oregon and northern California while staying at Gathering Light ... a retreat
located in southern Oregon near Crater Lake National Park.

twilight on the river at gathering light ... a retreat in southern oregon near crater lake: cabins, treehouses and more in the forest on the river.

Travel on the Willamette Pass, Oregon Hwy 58, to Gathering Light ... a retreat: Directions, Map and Scenery: hiking trails, mountains and lakes. Or perhaps the Rogue Umpqua Scenic Byway: Travel Directions, Map and Scenery: hiking trails, waterfalls, the wild and scenic Umpqua, Crater Lake and more.

Directions to and Day Trips in Oregon and California of around 100 miles from the retreat.

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Contact Brad at Gathering Light ... a retreat.