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Oregon’s Disappearing River

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

For eons, Oregon’s Rogue River has plunged through a deep, narrow chasm,
only to disappear into the rocks farther downstream and then reappear
200 feet beyond. As the volcanoes that dominate today’s scenery were
emerging from the bowels of the earth, lava flowed down the paths of
least resistance. A crust formed over the lava while the molten rock
continued downstream, leaving behind a tunnel-like void called a lava
tube. It is through this tube, or underground channel, that the river

Today, you can witness these geologic events by
visiting the Natural Bridge, located about three miles south of the town
of Union Creek on State Route 62. From the parking lot, take the paved
trail that follows the edge of the chasm. This impressive gorge also
once was a lava tube: The roof of the tube collapsed, creating a channel
only 25 feet wide, but 45 feet deep.

Walk the trail, or drive to the next parking area. From a
viewing platform, you can see the river vanish beneath a rock layer; if
you walk downstream, you’ll see the water gushing out of the tunnel. The
Union Creek campground nearby accommodates motorhomes.

For information, call (541) 560-3400.

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