Blue Grotto (Lost Creek Lake, Oregon) 04-Mar-2019

Lost Creek Lake is a very large reservoir on the main stem of the Rouge River approximately half way between Crater Lake National Park and Medford, Oregon. In a narrow canyon toward the lakeโ€™s north end is the Blue Grotto. Here a seasonal stream falls some 40 feet over a cliff composed of bluish-greenish ash from the eruption of Mount Mazama – the massive volcano that blew-up some 7,000 years ago to form Crater Lake. The Grotto is open all year but your best chance to see this ephemeral water feature is between March and May when runoff (from rain or snow melt or both) is highest. Itโ€™s a great winter destination when we donโ€™t want to engage with snow in the high country.

Today was a bluebird day between winter storms when nothing was going on at the library and our extra moist winter virtually assured water for the falls.  So off we went to the Lost Creek Trailhead at Lost Creek Lake.  From there, itโ€™s some eight miles out-and-back along the North Shore Trail to the Grotto.  The Lewis Road Trailhead is closer but the section of the trail between Lost Creek and the Grotto is particularly nice as it weaves easily through oak forests, stands of pines and cedars, and open meadows that will explode with wildflowers come Spring.  In addition, there are viewpoints for the lake and the surrounding hills.  Our hike today was in near perfect Spring-like weather ๐Ÿ˜Ž and the falls were gushing as vigorously as we had anticipated.  And the first wildflowers were blooming โ€“ a patch of Spring Golds in one of the open meadows and tiny clumps on Snow Queens under one of the forest canopies.  So after a snack at the falls, we headed back to finish yet another great hike to one of our enduringly favorite winter destinations! ๐Ÿ™‚

Through one of the moss-laden oak forests
Pines and cedars along the trail
Lost Creek Lake
A Flota-Potty is moored in the bay below the Blue Grotto
Blue Grotto
Blue Grotto (today there was enough water for a double pour-off)
Blue Grotto
Rainbow
From behind the falls
From behind the falls
Over the lip
And into the pool
Clouds were coming in as we headed back
Winter trees and clouds
Back along the trail below Fawn Butte
Snow Queens – one of the earliest blooming wildlowers
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6 comments

  1. We thought about Blue Grotto too with all the water and snow melt. Looks like a great hike and one we also like to do this time of year. Do you have a picture of the Spring Golds as we are not familar with that variety. We know of Goldfields, Gold Rush and a few other “gold” flowers. Spring is almost here!

    1. Our weather this year has been several days of rain/snow/gloom broken by one or two days of sunshine. So we take advantage of those sunny moments. The clouds started coming in as we headed back and by the time we were home – about an hour later – the sky was overcast. Hiking in the nick of time!

    2. Spring Golds or Gold-Stars (Crocidium multicaule) are another of those first to bloom in the spring flowers. They favor wet banks in open sunny spots – like the meadows along the North Shore Trail. Sorry I don’t have a photo of them but just search for images under their latin name. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Our weather this year has been several days of rain/snow/gloom broken by one or two days of sunshine. So we take advantage of those sunny moments. The clouds started coming in as we headed back and by the time we were home – about an hour later – the sky was overcast. Hiking in the nick of time!

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