I'm driving to Gold Beach for Memorial Day weekend. Will Bear Camp Road be open, or do I need to take the long way around?

I'm driving to Gold Beach for Memorial Day weekend. Will Bear Camp Road be open, or do I need to take the long way around?

— Victoria B., Talent

You're in luck, Victoria — the shortest route between Grants Pass and Gold Beach just opened for the recreation season Monday.

The 50-mile Bear Camp Road, which runs between Galice and Agness, opened early, thanks to a lower-than-normal coastal mountain snowpack. Crews made quicker progress on clearing the road than in past springs, according to Virginia Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

The road normally opens the Friday before Memorial Day.

All seasonal gate closures, including gates off the Peavine-Serpentine and Galice access roads, have been lifted, Gibbons said Monday.

However, Gibbons advises you to use caution when driving through slide areas, Victoria. You're also advised to drive with caution and avoid using less-traveled roads that may not be clear of snow.

Bear Camp Road is heavily used by recreational drivers and as a shuttle route by those floating the whitewater on the Wild and Scenic stretch of the Rogue River. The Memorial Day weekend is the traditional beginning of the recreation season that stretches into the fall until snow closes the road.

The road is not maintained from Nov. 5 up to Memorial Day weekend.

For more information, contact the Gold Beach Ranger Station at 541-247-3600, the Wild Rivers Ranger Station at 541-471-6500 or at 541-592-4000.

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