Have you ever seen a Log Rolling contest? Or maybe you’re a waterfall enthusiast? How do you feel about historic hotels? Unincorporated Jackson County is home to a rural logging town along Highway 62, the road to Crater Lake. The town of Prospect, Oregon (with a population of 455) may be small, but it’s a great space for any weekend adventure.
Prospect began as “Deskins,” a small 1870s community built around a sawmill and named after the postmaster. According to local lore, the name of the town switched to Prospect in 1889, because of railroad plans along the Rogue River that would hopefully increase the community’s “prospects.”
Today’s tourists will still see a glimpse of the town’s past in the 1890s’ Prospect Hotel, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Its original focus was to serve travelers en route to Crater Lake with hospitality and home-cooked food—a mission carrying on today.
The Prospect Hotel also serves as a community gathering spot, hosting a summer’s end, ‘Music in the Mountains’ festival on property grounds. Other community events include the Mill Creek Memorial Festival (to honor Veterans over Memorial Day weekend), and a summer timber carnival (featuring lumberjack contests—such as Log Rolling). (If you’ve never seen Log Rolling, you should do some research. It may be your new favorite sport.)
The Prospect State Scenic Viewpoint (formerly Mill Creek Falls Scenic Area), is a popular stopping point on the way to Crater Lake. If you’ve got a camera and an urge to hike, you can find the Avenue of the Giant Boulders, featuring, well, giant boulders. Beautiful waterfalls such as Mill Creek Falls, Barr Falls, and Pearsony Falls are all close by as well, connected by the Mill Creek Trail. (Some parts of the trail may involve walking over boulders, so wear good shoes!)
In the winter, Prospect is a good spot for snow-sports as well. Since the town is only twenty-eight miles from Crater Lake National Park (which receives an average of forty-four feet of snow), Prospect is a good base camp for cross-county skiers and snowshoers. Farewell Bend Snow Play Area has sledding hills, picnic tables, and a warming shelter (usually stocked with firewood by the Forest Service and volunteers). In the summer, Prospect is slightly cooler than the rest of Jackson County, so it’s an ideal location for outdoor hiking and enjoying forest scenery.
Whether you’re planning a trip to Crater Lake, or you simply want to go for a scenic drive, make sure you stop by Prospect the next time you’re in the area. Whatever season you decide to visit, it will be a day of outdoor fun!
(Strategy 4.4.2.- Diversify Outdoor Recreation Offerings to Include Shoulder, Low-Season, and Off-Season Opportunities and Promote Tourism at Lesser-Known Destinations)
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