Redwood Forest Sequoia sempervirens Stout Grove

Harlow Cabin by Elliott Creek, near Applegate Lake

Copyright 2010 - 2012 by M. D. Vaden

The Harlow cabin is a historical building near Joe Bar, California, just a few miles south of the Oregon border near Applegate Lake, and withing Rogue River National Forest.

Historic Harlow Log Cabin in Rogue River National Forest

Images at right: The Harlow cabin as it appeared in 2007, a year before my last visit to the Elliott Creek area

This is also just a short ways from the Collings Mountain trail where the Bigfoot trap was built.

Gold prospector William Harlow built this Harlow Cabin in the early 1920s and lived in it with his wife. His gold claim was the end of the line off the road from Jacksonville to the Blue Ledge copper mine, which is about 4 miles uphill to the south. Harlow used local hand-hewn logs and boulders to build this unique cabin in the Rogue River National Forest. The cabin is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Forest Service acquired the cabin in the 1990s when Harlow's original mining claim was found to be null and void. The Forest Service has replaced some rotting sills, put on a brand new metal roof, cut hazardous conifers, and planted native plants around the cabin.

The Harlow cabin is unique anyway, because you just won't see a residence like this being built anymore in a National Forest setting in southern Oregon.

The cabin has been a target of vandalism and said to be dying the "death of a thousand cuts". If vandalism to the cabin can be halted or controlled, the Forest Service can prevent deterioration from water and soil with maintenance. In the 1900s, there were dozens of pioneer cabins in the forest. But they are becoming rare. A Krause Cabin built in 1945 close to Grayback Mountain burned to the ground in June, 2001. An unwatched campfire close to the cabin started the fire.

Harlow Cabin made of hand-hewn logs, near Blue Ledge Mine, along Elliott Creek

People sometimes build campfires near the Harlow cabin too. Its an occassional gathering place where young folks hang out at night, like on weekends.

Hopefully solutions and preservation can continue, because its an interesting looking piece of history.


From Jacksonville, go west on Hy 238 about 8 miles to Ruch, take Upper Applegate Rd. for about 17 miles to the south end of Applegate Lake. You will reach a stop sign at a T intersection. Don't go right, but turn left and follow the road. It should become road 1050, and proceed several miles over the California border and past Joe Bar. You will see the cabin on the right hand side past Joe Bar. You would not want to take right where the homes are at Joe Bar, because that would go up to Blue Ledge mine. You want to stay on road 1050.

Locked Gates

Someone mentioned that road 1050 had a gate blocking the way to Harlow Cabin for a couple of years. Roads can be locked shut in the National Forests on ocassion. If you could find parking without going on one of the few private holding properties, it should only be about 1.5 miles past Joe Bar to the cabin. That's assuming the road is gated just past Joe Bar. With homes there, I'm assuming the road must be passable at least to that group of homesteads. In which case it would be 30 minutes brisk pace walking, or 15 minutes on a bicycle to the cabin. Short trek either way.

The only damage I saw last time there - in 2005 - was a medium size limb impaled through the metal roof. And easy fix.

Forest Service agents identified 3 local men who vandalized Harlow Cabin. April 2000. Lucas Jordan Gerlitz, 20, Jeff Gerald Buck, 22 and Chad Thomas Shepard, 23 pleaded guilty to destruction of government property. A Medford federal magistrate sentenced them to 24 hours in jail, a $200 fine and restitution of $900, which will go to the Forest Service to repair and preserve Harlow Cabin. The men admitted to cutting down a tree, destroying a gate and damaging the cabin.

Elliott Cree | Blue Ledge Mine | Joe Bar, California | Applegate Lake | Joe Creek | Harlow | Rogue River National Forest