Medicine Creek Road

A mere 2 miles of (aging) paved road off the North Umpqua Highway 138 will bring you a wonderful low-elevation botanical treasure. If you’re out admiring all the waterfalls along the North Umpqua (Toketee Falls trail access is less than 4 miles to the east, Watson Falls is another 2.7 miles), save an hour for a walk along Medicine Creek Road. A large population of purple milkweed (Asclepias cordifolia) and a wide array of perennials, annuals, and shrubs draw multitudes of butterflies on a sunny day. Look for other plants rarely this far north, including cobwebby thistle (Cirsium occidentale) with its raspberry-colored flowers and frosty white foliage. If you have time and energy, scramble up the large but steep, rocky, roadside meadow. For the more adventurous with a whole day to explore (and GPS capability!), check out a number of other sloping meadows hidden away just to the east and accessible with a little bushwhacking and some old gravel roads.


Trail: no trail but road is worth walking about 1/4 mile in each direction from milepost 2 (~2700–3400′)
Location: Douglas County; Umpqua National Forest, North Umpqua Ranger District
USGS Map: Toketee Falls; T26S.R3E.S17
Habitats: roadside, meadow, outcrop, seep
Bloom: May to early July


From the North Umpqua Ranger Station, take Highway 138 east for approximately 38.5 miles (near MP 55) to Forest Service Road 4775. Turn left onto Medicine Creek Road 4775 and drive about 2.1 miles. Park on the right side of the road at the beginning of a small spur road. One of the hidden meadows can be found by walking the 1/8 mile to the end of this road and heading downhill (south) through the woods about 500 ft. Another meadow complex can be accessed by continuing up Road 4775 about another 1.2 miles to Road 200 on the right side of the road. About 0.8 mile down the road (which may or may not be drivable), the road bends hard to the left. Get off here and walk to the right (south) into a small meadow and through the woods to another large, steep meadow with more milkweed.

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