The Row River: Origins

The origins of the Row River.

The Row River is a major defining factor in Cottage Grove. Though the river is not long (just about 20 miles) and it only skirts the north-east edge of town, it has a main road and at least two recreation areas named after it (the Row River Nature Park and the Row River Trail).

For those not familiar with Cottage Grove and the Row River, we should first start with how to pronounce the name. In this case “Row” rhymes with “cow” not “go”. Originally named the “East Fork Coast Fork” it was renamed after two neighbors (and brothers-in-laws) who lived near the river got into a dispute (or row) over trespassing livestock. One of the men, George Clark, was killed in the dispute in the mid-1860s.

The Row River originates just east of the town of Culp Creek where Brice Creek and Layng Creek join. To see this merging, drive east on Row River Road about 18 miles, turn left onto Layng Creek Road and in about a quarter mile as you cross over the Row River on a bridge, look upriver (right) to see the merging of Layng Creek and Brice Creek. While it is viewable from the bridge, a rough parking area is also available on your right (though it is recommended only for high-clearance vehicles).

The Row River forms from Layng Creek (on the left) and Brice Creek (on the right).

The idyllic Lower Brice Creek Road is another option for reaching this point, and Wildwood Falls and Dorena Covered Bridge are two scenic stops along your trip.

2 thoughts on “The Row River: Origins

  1. The little parking area is a bit rough (watch out for the really big mudhole, stay to the left as you enter) but it’s worth a stop. Walk back across the bridge, take the little path to the right, and hang out on the rocky beach. If it is EVER warm/hot here, it’s a great little swimming hole.


  2. When I was a child we would fish there at the bridge when the ODFW would drop planters in the river in the spring. The neighborhood kids would be hauling fish home all the time for a couple days. Lots of good times for kids with a fishing pole!


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