The Middle Fork National Recreation Trail is a beautiful hike or horseback ride that follows the Middle Fork of the Applegate River. This trail offers opportunities for swimming in the emerald pools of the river, fishing for brook trout, or picnicking along the rivers edge. While several springs are found along the trail, the water sources have not been tested and may be unsafe to drink. Water treatment is recommended. This is a good hike to view brilliant autumn colors!
The upper section of this trail is not recommended for horse use due to the narrow tread and rocky creek crossings. The Road 1035 Trailhead provides the best access for a horseback rider with reasonable turnaround room for vehicles with trailers. Beginning on Forest Road 1035, the trail passes through lush fern grottos, unique pothole formations and deep swimming holes. The forest displays a mixed deciduous stand of alder, dogwood and big leaf maple. After 3.4 miles, the trail crosses Forest Road 1040 at the Frog Pond Trailhead which accesses both Frog Pond / Cameron Meadows Trail #953 and Middle Fork National Recreation Trail #950.
The upper section of the trail is within the Red Buttes Wilderness for approximately 0.5 mile. The forest changes dramatically to mixed stands of old-growth Douglas-fir, white fir, incense cedar, and ponderosa pine. Huckleberry, hazelnut, and vine maple form a dense understory. Trail maintenance work in the wilderness portion in 2016 cleared out some of the logs that had been across the trail, and some areas where brush had encroached across the trail were also cleared up a bit.
The trail ends on Forest Road 1040-600 at Bean Gulch Trailhead.
At a Glance