Those hoping to escape smoky skies in the Rogue Valley can venture north to explore the 79-mile North Umpqua Trail east of Roseburg.
The scenic trail for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians follows the North Umpqua River and provides views of rushing rapids, waterfalls, lush forest and land burned by past wildfires.
To get there, travel north on Interstate 5 to Roseburg, then east on Highway 138.
Continue 18 miles to the small town of Glide and watch for signs to the Colliding Rivers Viewpoint.
The viewpoint is an interesting detour that overlooks the North Umpqua River as it converges with the Little River, creating turbulent, rapid-filled waters.
Pick up a brochure for the North Umpqua Trail at an information center at the Colliding Rivers Viewpoint. The brochure provides a wealth of information and maps out various segments of the trail that range from 3.5 miles to 15.6 miles.
My family chose the Tioga segment, which is closest to Roseburg.
To reach the Swiftwater Trailhead and the beginning of the Tioga Segment, travel about six miles east on Highway 138 beyond the Colliding Rivers Viewpoint.
A bridge crosses the North Umpqua River at the trailhead. Parking lots are on both sides of the bridge, although the trail itself starts across the river on its southern bank.
The trail quickly leads into a lush forest with ferns, moss and towering trees.
Thanks to a past Boy Scout project, the first quarter-mile of the trail is wheelchair accessible, with a smooth trail surface of dirt, pine needles and gravel.
The quarter-mile section leads to a viewpoint of Deadline Falls.
Here the North Umpqua River is funneled in a chute over giant boulders, creating a rushing torrent of water that looks remarkably like Rainie Falls on the Rogue River west of Grants Pass.
A side trail that is not wheelchair accessible leads over rough rocks closer to the falls, where people can observe salmon trying to leap over this seemingly insurmountable barrier.
Back on the main trail, the path continues to wind through forest.
Along the way, there are many wooden bridges crossing streams that flow into the Umpqua. For an extra dose of adventure, hikers can cross fallen logs over the stream ravines rather than using the bridges.
For a family-friendly hike, walk 1.6 miles from the Swiftwater Trailhead to Fern Creek Falls, then back to the trailhead.
The full Tioga Segment is 15.6 miles long.
Other trail segments feature a variety of sights, including cliffs along the Jessie Wright segment, the beautiful Toketee Falls double waterfall on the Deer Leap Segment, and more waterfalls and a hot springs soaking tub on the Hot Springs Segment.
For more information on the trail, visit http://www.blm.gov/or/districts/roseburg/recreation/umpquatrails/.
Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.