Grave Creek (Oregon)

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Grave Creek
Grave Creek Bridge, Spanning Grave Creek on Sunny Valley Loop Road, Sunny Valley (Josephine County, Oregon).jpg
Grave Creek Bridge carries Sunny Valley Loop Road over the creek.
Grave Creek (Oregon) is located in Oregon
Grave Creek (Oregon)
Location of the mouth of Grave Creek in Oregon
EtymologyThe grave of a child, Martha Leland Crowley, who died near the creek in 1846[2]
CountryUnited States
CountyDouglas, Jackson, and Josephine
Physical characteristics
SourceCedar Springs Mountain
 • locationKlamath Mountains, Douglas County, Oregon
 • coordinates42°45′26″N 123°07′41″W / 42.75722°N 123.12806°W / 42.75722; -123.12806[1]
 • elevation4,556 ft (1,389 m)[3]
MouthRogue River
 • location
about 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Galice, Josephine County, Oregon
 • coordinates
42°38′54″N 123°35′05″W / 42.64833°N 123.58472°W / 42.64833; -123.58472Coordinates: 42°38′54″N 123°35′05″W / 42.64833°N 123.58472°W / 42.64833; -123.58472[1]
 • elevation
623 ft (190 m)[1]
Basin size163 sq mi (420 km2)[4]
 • locationnear Placer[4][5]
 • average132 cu ft/s (3.7 m3/s)[4][5]
 • minimum1 cu ft/s (0.028 m3/s)
 • maximum8,000 cu ft/s (230 m3/s)

Grave Creek is a tributary, about 40 miles (64 km) long, of the Rogue River in southwestern Oregon in the United States.


The creek begins near Cedar Springs Mountain just north of the Douglas CountyJackson County border and flows generally southwest through Jackson County and Josephine County to its confluence with the Rogue.[6] It passes through the communities of Placer, Sunny Valley, and Leland.[7]

Named tributaries from source to mouth are Panther, Swamp, Last Chance, Big Boulder, Little Boulder, Slate, and Baker, Boulder, and Clark creeks followed by Eastman and Quartz Mill gulches. Then comes Tom East Creek followed by Benjamin Gulch, Shanks Creek, Schoolhouse Gulch, and Salmon Creek.[7]

Further downstream are Rat Creek, Mackin Gulch, and Dog Creek, then Flume, Brimstone, and Brushy gulches. Another Tom East Creek is next, followed by Wolf, Butte, Panther, Reservoir, Fall, Poorman, and McNabe creeks. The final three tributaries are McNair, Rock, and Reuben creeks.[7]


The Grave Creek watershed is about 20 miles (32 km) north of Grants Pass in the Klamath Mountains. It covers about 104,000 acres (42,000 ha) of which the federal Bureau of Land Management administers about 50,000 acres (20,000 ha) (48 percent). Federal and non-federal lands are intermingled in a checkerboard pattern. Annual precipitation averages about 45 inches (110 cm). Drought is common in summer.[8]


Hiking trails and river runs converge at the confluence of Grave Creek and the Rogue River. Boaters sometimes run the lower 6 miles (10 km) of Grave Creek when its flow is 500 to 1,000 cubic feet per second (14 to 28 m3/s).[9] The run, rated class 3 on the International Scale of River Difficulty, has "short twisting blind drops on the section not visible from the road"[9] and possible hazards that include low-hanging footbridges as well as brush along the stream banks. A handy stopping place for this run is the boat ramp near the Grave Creek Bridge over the Rogue River, which is the intersection of at Galice Road and Lower Graves Creek Road.[9] (This is not the same bridge as the covered bridge, the Grave Creek Bridge, further upstream in Sunny Valley.)[10]

The boat ramp is also popular with rafters and kayakers running the 40-mile (64 km) "wild" stretch of the Wild and Scenic lower Rogue, which begins at the mouth of Grave Creek.[11] It is "one of the best-known whitewater runs in the United States."[12] Parallel to the wild stretch of the river, the Lower Rogue River Trail winds through the Wild Rogue Wilderness between the mouth of Grave Creek and Illahe.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Grave Creek". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. November 28, 1980. Retrieved June 1, 2009.
  2. ^ McArthur, Lewis A.; McArthur, Lewis L. (2003). Oregon Geographic Names (Seventh ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. pp. 424–25. ISBN 0-87595-277-1.
  3. ^ Source elevation derived from Google Earth search using Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) source coordinates.
  4. ^ a b c "Grave Creek Water Quality Restoration Plan 2001" (PDF). Bureau of Land Management, Medford District Office. Retrieved June 3, 2009.
  5. ^ a b "USGS 14372000 Grave Creek near Placer, Oregon". United States Geological Survey (USGS). Retrieved June 3, 2009.The average flow was derived by adding the average annual flows from this discontinued gauge for the years 1951–54 and dividing by 4.
  6. ^ Oregon Atlas and Gazetteer (Map) (1991 ed.). DeLorme Mapping. § 26–27. ISBN 0-89933-235-8.
  7. ^ a b c "United States Topographic Map: Grave Creek mouth". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved January 20, 2016 – via Acme Mapper. The map includes mile markers along the lowermost 30 miles (48 km) of the creek.
  8. ^ "Grave Creek Watershed Analysis" (PDF). Bureau of Land Management. 1999. p. 3. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c Giordano, p. 117
  10. ^ "United States Topographic Map: Sunny Valley". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved January 20, 2016 – via Acme Mapper.
  11. ^ a b Sullivan, pp. 187–93
  12. ^ Giordano, p. 120

Works cited[edit]

  • Giordano, Pete (2004). Soggy Sneakers: A Paddler's Guide to Oregon's Rivers, fourth edition. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. ISBN 978-0-89886-815-9.
  • Sullivan, William L. (2002). Exploring Oregon's Wild Areas, third edition. Seattle: The Mountaineers Press. ISBN 0-89886-793-2.