Oregon's Rogue River contains perhaps more waterfalls than any other major river in the Pacific Northwest. Though it isn't the first fall of the Rogue, Rough Rider Falls is the first waterfall one encounters as they hike downstream along the Rogue River Trail. Here the river is pinched between the slowly crumbling and sliding walls of the canyon and tumbles about 30 feet - the first 20 in a vertical fall - into a very scenic glen seemingly overgrown in moss. The falls are easy to identify when coming from upstream - a sign tacked to a tree marks the falls by name - but those traveling from further down the river might wander off the trail to the base of the falls without knowing which of the several small waterfalls along this stretch of the Rogue has been found. The official trail doesn't go to the base of the falls, rather climbs up past it. Scrambling down to the river is easy, but the ground is steep in a few places and dunking a foot or two into the cold water is certainly a possibility.
- Rough Rider Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Upper Rogue Falls
Some confusion occurs over the placement of this waterfall. Greg Plumb's Waterfall Lovers Guide cites the fall as Upper Rogue Falls, but places it too far upstream (at the location of Rogue River Falls, inaccessible from the Rogue River Trail). The falls were named in reference to Teddy Roosevelt and has been in use for some time, but it is not known who chose the name or when it was first popularized.
Rough Rider Falls is located approximately 5 1/3 miles west of the uppermost trailhead of the Rogue River Trail at the Mazama viewpoint along Highway 230. If the goal is seeing this waterfall itself, it is possible to cut the walking distance down to about a mile, however, by driving about 2 1/2 miles west from the Mazama trailhead, parking alongside the highway, and walking through the woods to intersect the Rogue River trail, then hiking about 1 mile west to where the falls are visible. I don't recommend using this tactic without a GPS to guide your traverse from the Highway to the trail, because even though the woods are quite open, its easy to lose track of where you started.