The Dead Indian Creek pool is a perfect little swimming hole in the Rogue National Forest that is accessible after a short, pleasant hike through cypress and madrone trees that are typically found in this area. The creek earned its name when two settlers discovered two Native Americans of the Tututni tribe dead inside their dwellings near the creek.
There are two trailheads. The more accessible one lies adjacent to Camp Latgawa, a church camp. There is a rickety old bridge across Dead Indian Creek right away, then the trail follows a logging road to the second trailhead. Past this, it's a short distance to the Dead Indian Soda Spring, which has stained the earth red and created a layered cascade of minerals. The spring trickles down the hillside into the creek. The trail then becomes more narrow and crosses many down trees before opening up to a little bench and descending to the creek bank. Cross the creek here and resume a boot path on the other side to the beautiful swimming hole and waterfall.
Cliff jumping is possible here in addition to sliding down the waterfall. Take care when following the small path to the top of the cliff and waterfall. The water is moderately deep, approximately 7 to 8 feet beneath the falls. Visitors may also see a backboard locked to a tree and covered with trash bags for a local rescue crew to use on any injured jumpers. This is a clue that injuries apparently occur often enough for a backboard to be left here. Just be cautious as you enjoy this cool water!
Swimming holes and cliff jumping can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable outdoor activities that pose significant risks regarding personal safety. Changing water levels, unseen rocks, and river bottoms that have shifted with currents and seasonal weather can turn a well-known jumping area into a serious hazard. Prior to engaging in these activities, extensively scout the current conditions, and understand the risks involved with serious injury and the logistical challenges of evacuation from the water so you can make safe decisions.