Hellgate Canyon, Rogue River
Much of the lower Rogue River runs through narrow canyons like this one at Hellgate, making several miles of the river difficult to access. During the 1850s, it presented a formidable barrier between coastal outposts at what is now Gold Beach and Port Orford, and the gold mines and early settlements of the inner valleys of the Rogue and Illinois rivers. The Rogue Indians often took refuge in this wild country during periods of hostilities, but white explorers were unsuccessful in finding a convenient route through. Because of this, Army posts on the coast that could easily be outfitted by ship were of little help to the miners and settlers who were battling native tribes inland.