rafting the rogue
THE DAY BEFORE YOUR TRIP
We suggest that you spend the night before your journey at one of the many hotels listed on the Trip Logistics page. Waterproof bags will be supplied to you if you have spent the night around Grants Pass. Packing lists, Shuttle information, as well as the time and location of our launch are here as well. Click below for complete details.
At 9:00 a.m., we’ll meet you at the river at our pre-determined location. The rafts will be ready to go and in the water. We will help with finalizing car shuttles, packing your waterproof bags and loading your gear into the rafts. Next we’ll put on PFDs (personal flotation devices) and go over some safety precautions.
Now that the sun is shining, it’s time to head down the river. Our morning begins with a few Class-1 rapids, providing a gentle introduction to the river. We reach Graves Creek, which marks the start of the Rogue’s Wild and Scenic portion, about 2 miles in. Our first large rapid of the morning is Graves Creek Rapids, followed by lower Graves Creek Falls. We arrive at Rainie Falls, a Class 5 waterfall, a short while later, and we will portage this waterfall for your safety. This is the our only portage our visitors do, consisting of a brief hike around the falls while the guides take the rafts down a small channel on the other side of the river called the Fish Ladder. Once we regroup, we are off to lunch. We will stop at 12 noon and the guides will set up a deluxe shoreside lunch.
We’ll return to the river for a thrilling afternoon. This 7-mile segment is jam-packed with exciting whitewater. Tyee and Wildcat Rapids are our first stop. There are two creeks that feed into the Rogue River. We prefer to stop at one this afternoon and swim in the pool while relaxing in the sun. This afternoon, we’ll have a few more Rapids, culminating with upper and lower Black Bar Falls.
If we’re going on a lodge trip, we’ll arrive at Black Bar Lodge at 5:00 p.m. after a fantastic day on the Rogue. Now it’s time to unwind and enjoy the evening and morning at the Black Bar. Black Bar Lodge is a privately-owned business. The lodge is in keeping with its surroundings. It’s exactly what you’d expect to see as you walk up from the river, and we’re glad to be here.
If we’re going camping, Horse Shoe Bend is our last major rapid of the day, and our camp is just around the corner at Telegraph Bar. At 5:00 p.m., we’ll arrive at camp. Our camp host will welcome us when we arrive. One of our guides has gone ahead of us and has spent the entire day preparing our night camp.
Your guides will now transform into 5-star chefs, cooking your evening dinner as well as a filling breakfast the next morning.
This is the finest day of our trip! You’ve already spent one day on the river, whether you’re staying in a lodge or camping, and now you get to wake up to the grandeur of the Rogue River. Coffee will be ready at 7:00 a.m., and breakfast will be served at 8:00 a.m. Then it’s time to pack your belongings and make your way to the rafts, and in the boats by 9:00 a.m.
We’re about to embark on another exciting day of whitewater and history. Captain John Kelsey is the namesake of Kelsey Canyon, a fantastic series of Class 2 rapids. After that, there’s Battle Bar and Zane Grey’s Cabin to visit. At 12 noon, we will stop at Jerald Fry’s homestead or one of Glen Woolridge’s cabins for a shoreside lunch.
Don’t worry, there’s plenty more excitement after lunch. A few examples include Big Rock Rapids, John’s, Maggie’s, and China Bar. We’ll arrive at Mule Creek and the Rogue River Ranch Museum around 3 p.m. Mule Creek also has a nice swimming hole, making it a good stop for history buffs. Next is the legendary “Rogue River swim” down Mule Creek Canyon. Last but not least is Blossom Bar, the river’s most severe rapids.
After making it through Blossom it’s on to the Devil’s Stairs we will arrive at camp or Paradise Lodge at 5:00 p.m. Paradise Lodge is also a privately owned, magnificent lodge that lies on 88 acres along the river.
If you’re camping, don’t worry; we’ll meet you at Champagne Beach at 5:00 p.m., where our camp host will be waiting for us.
Whether you’re staying in a lodge or camping, you’ll enjoy a fantastic evening and meal.
You’ll wake up to the sights and sounds of the magnificent Rogue River once more. Coffee is available at 7:00 a.m., followed by Breakfast at 8:00 a.m. After breakfast, you’ll have plenty of time to pack your belongings before heading to the rafts at 9:00 a.m. to catch the morning sun and tackle our first rapid, the Devils Backbone.
Then it was on to the Generals and Huggins Canyon, where General Curtis LeMay had a lodge. Before pausing for our last shoreside lunch together at 12 noon, we visited Solitude, Tate Creek, Tacoma, Clay Hill, and the Clay Hill Still Waters.
After another delicious lunch and reminiscing over the previous two days, we’re on our way to Foster Bar for our final takeout. You’ll find your vehicle here, unload your water bags, and we’ll say our goodbyes until the next time we meet.
Thank you for joining us on this unforgettable rafting trip down the magnificent Rogue River.
Click on the map to enlarge.
Our Rogue rafting trips are a combination of rich history, world-class rapids, and one-of-a-kind accommodations. We created this map to show the depth of the experience you will have on one of our rafting adventures.
See below for a mile-by-mile description of your trip.
CLICK HERE FOR ACCOMMODATION AND BOAT DETAILS.
Rafting Itinerary in detail
This will cover approximately 11 miles day if lodging and 13 miles day if camping.
Three-day trip itinerary compared to the longer trips have a pace that is simply slower. We meet at Argo at 9:00 a.m. At this time you will meet your guides, finish packing your water bags, get fitted for a life jacket, and have a short safety speech. We are in our rafts by 10:00 a.m. and having fun.
The first three miles of the float are mild. Our first significant rapid occurs just after we enter the wild, road-less section of the Rogue at Grave Creek. The site is named for Martha Leland Crowley, who was buried here in 1846.
MILE: 1.1 Sanderson: The concrete piers visible on both sides of the river are all that remain of the bridge used for mule pack trains and foot traffic. The bridge was built in 1907 and was destroyed by flood in 1927.
MILE 1.8: Rainie Falls: The falls was named for old man Rainie, who lived in a small cabin below the falls and made his living by gaffing salmon. Guides run our boats down a narrow channel while everyone else walks around this thundering drop.
MILE 3: A quarter mile up Whiskey Creek is the Whiskey Creek cabin, a pioneer cabin recorded in the national register of historic places.
MILE 4.8: Tyee Rapids-North Bank. Tyee is the Chinook word for “chief.” Tyee Bar (South Bank) is the site of a once-famous gold mine where 300 Chinese workers took USD One Million dollars in gold dust.
MILE 5.7: Wildcat Rapids, [Class III].
MILE 5.8: Russian Rapids, [Class II]. The river narrows into a gorge with a long section of Class II rapids. Including Upper and Lower Montgomery, Upper, Middle, and Lower Howard Chutes. Great for kayaking!
MILE 6.3: Howard Creek South Side. Swimming Hole. Here we take a break and cool off in the heat of the day.
MILE 9.6: Upper and Lower Black Bar Falls. [Class III] On river left, just below lower Black Bar Falls is Black Bar Lodge, the first of several lodges along the Rogue. The lodge was built in 1932.
If you chose a Lodge trip, our first night will be at Black Bar Lodge. Black Bar is a quaint lodge nestled in the trees out of view of the river. Just the setting you would imagine for a wilderness lodge. We will arrive about 5 p.m. If you’re on a Camp trip, Horse Shoe Bend or Telegraph Bar is our first night’s camp. We arrive to a completely prepared camp, about 5 p.m. You will be amazed, it’s hard to believe they call this camping.
After a great dinner and a wonderful night on the Rogue River, we’ll have a hearty breakfast, and head for the water. If your first night was at Black Bar, the river trip begins at 9:00 a.m. The campers have a little later start. Once the guides break camp, we will hit the river about 10:00 a.m.
The Best Day on the Rogue River!
MILE 11.1 Horseshoe Bend: This is the location of the first night camp on a 3-day trip and because the rock across the river is harder, it forced the river to carve its channel into the adjacent softer rock, creating the tight, horseshoe-shaped curve.
MILE 12.1: Mary’s Pot Hole [Class I] or VI for Kayaks.
MILE 13.9: Kelsey Canyon (named after Captain John Kelsey) another great series of Class II Rapids.
- Upper Dulog Rapid
- Oopsy Rapid
- Oodle Rapid
- Kelsey Falls
MILE 16.6: Battle Bar Campsite and Historical Site. A major battle during the 1850s between the US Cavalry and a band of locals Indians was fought here. The Bob Fox cabin is visible on the left bank. The cabin was built in the 1920s and partially destroyed in the 1964 flood.
MILE 17.5: Winkle Bar. This is the site of Zane Grey’s cabin. Grey purchased this mining claim from a gold prospector in 1926.
MILE 19.5: Quail Creek. A fire of close to 3,000 acres burned here in 1970.
After many rapids, Zane Grey’s cabin, swimming through lower Kelsey Canyon, and other possible side hikes, we arrive around 12:30 p.m. for day-two lunch at Missouri Creek.
Now that your lunch has settled, we can stop at the jumping rock. It’s a rock for all comers; 5″, 10″, and 15″ feet landing in a deep pool. Next is the surf wave a play hole the rafts and kayaks can enjoy.
MILE 21.3: John’s Rapids. [Class II] Named after Chief John, one of the leaders of the Indian tribes during the 1850’s war with the US Calvary.
MILE 23: Rogue River Ranch and Mule Creek. Site of a historic, restored ranch. We usually spend a while here, exploring the ranch and swimming at the swimming hole in Mule Creek.
MILE 23.5: Mule Creek Canyon. [Class IV] A beautiful, narrow canyon formed as the river carves a path along a fault line. One mile of fast active white water with rapids in the canyon including:
- Entrance (Jaws or Guardian Rocks)
- White Snake
- Telfers Rock
- Upper Narrows
MILE 25.5: Coffeepot. A churning semi-whirlpool, two miles from the beginning of Mule Creek Canyon. The river bounces off the canyon walls creating diagonal waves and tricky currents. This is the narrowest passage on the river.
One highlight of our trip is next. In the heat of the day, we take the World-Famous Mule Creek Canyon Swim… then it is on to Blossom Bar!
MILE 27.1: Blossom Bar Rapids. The Rogue’s most famous rapids, named after the Wild Azaleas that bloom here in the Spring. River pioneer, Glen Woolridge, blasted a passage through these rapids using dynamite sunk in a weighted burlap sack.
After Blossom Bar, one more rapid to swim, the Lower Stair, then it is off to Paradise Lodge. We will arrive about 5:00 p.m.
Paradise Lodge sits just above the river. From the deck, you can watch the river peacefully flow by. From your beautiful rooms, you will have a great view of the Devils Backbone. There is a lot to see and do at Paradise Lodge. Camping? Just below Paradise Lodge is Champagne Beach Camp. It’s a beautiful place to spend our second night under the stars.
After a great night and a wonderful breakfast, whether at camp or at the lodge, we are back in the boats at 9:30 a.m. We have 12 miles today and the fun is not over. Our first rapid is the Devils Back Bone and then comes the peace and quiet of Huggins Canyon.
MILE 29: Huggins Canyon. This section of the Rogue was named by Glen Wooldridge after a local hunter, Andy Huggins. Huggins lived for many years at Half Moon Bar, where his grave is located.
MILE 31.0: East Creek – South Bank. This is the site of the former “General’s Cabin” owned by Generals Eakers, Spaatz, LeMay, Anderson, and Twining. The land was sold to the group by Wooldridge as a former mining claim.
MILE 31.7: Solitude Rapid. This location bustled with mining activity around 1900.
MILE 32.9: “Take Creek Water Slide.” We will make a quick stop just after Huggins Canyon. Here is the World Famous “Take Creek Water Slide.” It requires a bit of a hike and a bit of a climb. But one time through, the chute makes it all worthwhile. Hang on and enjoy this natural slide!
MILE 33.0: Tacoma Rapids. Named after a mining operation from Tacoma, Washington. Extensive mining was done in this area early in the century.
MILE 33.2: Clay Hill Rapid and Lodge (private lodge, reservations required). An original homesite is still intact up the creek. An old sawmill was also on the creek. This area is private property; please respect the owner’s privacy. Hathaway Jones’ wife, Flora Dell Thomas, was born here. Hathaway Jones (1870-1937) was a local packer, mail carrier, and storyteller.
MILE 34.8: Flora Dell Creek. The creek is named after Flora Dell Thomas, Hathaway Jones’ wife. Flora Dell Creek plunges over a 30-foot sheer wall into a deep trailside pool.
MILE 37.7: Watson Creek. Here are the remains of Buster Billings’ cabin. This is also the End of The Wild & Scenic Section of the Rogue River!
MILE 40.0: Foster Bar/Foster Creek. Named after Charles Foster, miner, packer, and lieutenant in the military during the Indian Wars. Foster escaped an Indian attack at this site and worked his way downriver to Port Orford (then Fort Orford). After the Indian Wars, Foster returned to settle in this area and married Catherine (a Karok Indian).
This is our takeout point. Your vehicle or shuttle van will meet us here.
From Foster Bar you could travel back to Grants Pass (2-hour drive) for one more night there. Or head to Gold Beach on Oregon’s beautiful coast less than an hour away.
More Information About Your Trip
LODGING ON THE ROGUE
Along the Rogue River, there are a few attractively arranged lodges. Black Bar (night 1) and Paradise (night 2) are the two we use the most. These two lodges are totally different, but both are fantastic. Both lodges provide two beds, a heater, and a private bathroom in each cabin or room. Black Bar and Paradise both offer hearty family-style dinners and breakfasts.
STREAM SIDE CAMPING
There are various camping options along the Rogue River. We have a personal favorite. On our camp trips, we have a guide whose primary responsibility is to set up camp. Everything is ready when we arrive at camp at the end of our river day. Tents (2 guests per tent) and cots (if needed) are put up. The kitchen and cooking area are ready to use. The hors d’oeuvres and drink table has been set, and the lounge chairs have been placed. Your guides transform into 5-star chefs, preparing dinner and breakfast for you. All you do is unwind and enjoy yourself.
LUNCH, BREAKFAST, AND DINNER
Each day of your trip we will stop, and the guides will set out a shoreside lunch. You will not believe what comes out of the rafts. Lunch is at 12 noon and is set out deli style with a variety of sandwich makings. There are multiple homemade salads with new ones each day, along with cakes, cookies, and chips. Dinners and breakfasts are either made fresh by the guides on camping trips or by the lodge staff on lodge trips. Meals should not be a great concern—you will not go hungry.
OUR RAFTS AND KAYAKS
We use Sotar rafts and High side kayaks. These excellent rafts and kayaks are all self-bailing. On a standard trip of 10 guests, we take an 18 ft. raft with seating for 6 guests, a 14 ft. paddle assist raft with seating for 6 guests, and 3 kayaks. If you book an exclusive trip, you can request any raft combinations you would like.
During the months of July and August, our fishing guides become rafting guides. They are patient, enjoy working with people, know the river thoroughly, are knowledgeable about the history of the area, and are excellent boatmen. Our guides are on the boat all year and are well-versed about these waters.
POINTS OF INTEREST
One of our first jobs as guides is to figure out our guests—are they water people, adventuresome, nervous, animal and bird watchers, or historians? Our favorite is all the above, even nervous. There is nothing better than the guest that is not quite sure about all this, and then an hour later they are in a kayak leading the way.
The Rogue is rich with history. Nearly every creek has a story. At Whiskey Creek there is an old gold miners’ cabin last occupied by Lue Martin. Rainey’s Falls was the home of old man Rainey who netted salmon at the falls for a living. Black Bar and Paradise Lodges also have rich history. Author Zane Grey had a cabin on the river—off and on, he spent 10 years here. The Rogue River Ranch Museum at Mule Creek, which during the gold rush, was the center of it all. And there is much more…
From the beginning of July through the end of August, the weather remains steady. The average daytime temperature is 90 degrees, with a 54-degree average nighttime temperature. Early in July, the water temperature averages 65 degrees, and in August, it averages 70 degrees. Because we can’t forecast the weather, we always bring a light jacket and rain gear with us.