Catherine Creek

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This article is about the stream in Oregon. For the stream in New York State, see Catherine Creek (New York).
Coordinates: 45°18′49″N 117°52′20″W / 45.31361°N 117.87222°W / 45.31361; -117.87222
Catherine Creek
Catherine Creek State Park - Oregon.jpg
Name origin: Catherine Godley, daughter of early settlers near Union [1]
Country United States
State Oregon
County Union
 - location Wallowa–Whitman National Forest
 - elevation 3,650 ft (1,113 m) [2]
 - coordinates 45°07′12″N 117°38′50″W / 45.12000°N 117.64722°W / 45.12000; -117.64722 [3]
Mouth Grande Ronde River
 - location near Cove
 - elevation 2,690 ft (820 m) [3]
 - coordinates 45°18′49″N 117°52′20″W / 45.31361°N 117.87222°W / 45.31361; -117.87222 [3]
Length 32.4 mi (52.1 km)
Location of the mouth of Catherine Creek in Oregon

Catherine Creek is a 32.4-mile-long (52.1 km)[4] creek in northeastern Oregon, United States.[3] A tributary of the Grande Ronde River, it is the second-longest stream in the Grande Ronde Valley. Originating in the foothills of the Wallowa Mountains, it flows generally northwest through Catherine Creek State Park and the city of Union before joining the river.

The creek was named for Catherine Godley, a daughter of Thomas and M. E. Godley, who settled near Union in the 19th century.[1] A former variant name for the stream on some maps was Ladd Creek.[3] However, Ladd Creek on more recent maps is a stream flowing generally northeast from hills southeast of La Grande through the Ladd Marsh Game Management Area, joining Gekeler Slough before entering Catherine Creek.[5] Little Creek, a tributary of Catherine Creek, was formerly called Julianna Creek for the Godleys' other daughter.[1]


Catherine Creek, flowing entirely within Union County, begins at the confluence of North Fork Catherine Creek and South Fork Catherine Creek in the Wallowa–Whitman National Forest. Running generally northwest from the foothills of the Wallowa Mountains along Oregon Route 203, the creek receives Little Catherine Creek from the right before entering Catherine Creek State Park. Continuing northwest through the city of Union, the creek receives Pyles Creek from the left and Little Creek from the right before turning away from the highway. Meandering north across the Grande Ronde Valley, the creek receives Ladd Creek (below its confluence with Gekeler Slough) and McAlister Slough, both from the left, and Mill Creek from the right before entering the Grande Ronde River west of Cove. The larger stream is a tributary of the Snake River.[5]


Catherine Creek is open for catch-and-release fishing for wild steelhead downstream of the Highway 203 bridge above Catherine Creek State Park. Chinook salmon frequent the creek and its forks where they flow through the national forest to about 5 miles (8.0 km) upstream of the state park, but they and the resident bull trout in these streams are protected from fishing. Small wild rainbow trout also inhabit the upper creek and its forks.[6]

Catherine Creek State Park, about 8 miles (13 km) from Union, has a public campground, and camping is also permitted at a site in the national forest.[6] The campground at the 168-acre (68 ha) state park is open from mid-April through October.[7] The park also has picnic areas, restrooms, horseshoe pits, and hiking trails.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c McArthur, Lewis A.; McArthur, Lewis L. (2003) [1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (7th ed.). Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press. p. 180. ISBN 0-87595-277-1. 
  2. ^ Source elevation derived from Google Earth search using GNIS source coordinates.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Catherine Creek". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. November 28, 1980. Retrieved April 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ "National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data (The National Map)". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved May 3, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Oregon Atlas & Gazetteer. Freeport, Maine: DeLorme Mapping. 1991. p. 87. ISBN 0-89933-235-8. 
  6. ^ a b Sheehan, Madelynne Diness (2005). Fishing in Oregon (10th ed.). Scappoose, Oregon: Flying Pencil Publications. pp. 305–06. ISBN 0-916473-15-5. 
  7. ^ a b Bannan, Jan (2002). Oregon State Parks (2nd ed.). Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. p. 222. ISBN 0-89886-794-0.