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 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.