For a nice stream-side hike, consider the Taylor Creek Trail.
It follows Taylor Creek, which flows through a gorgeous narrow canyon and into the Rogue River, at a point about a mile west of the popular Indian Mary Park.
The short portion of the trail we traveled in early March was easy, but steep enough on the way back up from the creek to wind this old guy. Nothing but a brief pause couldn’t help.
My grandson, Asher, 6, and my wife, Elizabeth, did just fine, as did the dogs and my daughter, Emmy, Asher’s mom, who had suggested the hiking adventure, despite morning drizzle that eventually gave way to sunshine.
The nice thing about the trail is its ease of its access: Take Galice Road west from Merlin about 8 miles, go past Indian Mary Park and turn left about a mile farther at Taylor Creek Road 25. About 3 winding miles up the sometimes one-lane road is the first trailhead. There’s plenty more.
If you choose to continue on, you’ll come to those other trailheads and two campgrounds, ending about 10 miles later at Big Pine Campground, which has its own mile-long loop trails. Big Pine is above the headwaters of the creek.
We didn’t go that far. We stopped a mere 3 miles up Taylor Creek Road, at one of the first trailheads. We sauntered downhill, crossed a side creek, traversed a meadow and came to a point where a footbridge had been washed out. In all, it was only a short hike, probably not even a mile in.
The canyon views on the way in were spectacular. The rushing creek was beautiful. The meadow was a treat.
The only thing we didn’t care for was the shot we heard, followed by the sound of what might have been a bullet striking a tree somewhat overhead. We shouted and the apparent offenders drove off, a load of wood in the back of their pickup truck. Who knows, maybe they didn’t like dogs on the loose or people invading their space. Maybe they were target shooting. We could only guess.
Otherwise, it was a nice treat to get away from the city and up into the rugged mountains.
If you go, you might want to consult guide books. Both William L. Sullivan’s “100 Hikes in Southern Oregon” and Art Bernstein’s “Hiking Oregon’s Southern Cascades and Siskiyous” detail the trail.
Happy trails! And, be careful out there.