Rogue River Rafting
There are many ways to enjoy the Rogue River. Some people prefer the excitement and challenge of maneuvering their own craft down the treacherous rapids. Oar rafts (which a guide rows for you), paddle rafts (which you paddle yourself), and one-person inflatable kayaks are the most widely used boats for this sort of river exploration.
The 40-mile section downstream from Graves Creek is open only to nonmotorized vessels, and river traffic is strictly regulated by the National Forest Service. For more information, stop at the Rand Visitor Center (4335 Galice Rd., Merlin, 541/479-3735).
The limited float permits (25 issued daily) are prized by rafters around the world, as the Rogue not only has some of the best white water in America but also guarantees a first-rate wilderness adventure.
And yet, it can be a civilized wilderness. Hot showers, comfortable beds, and sumptuous meals at several of the river lodges tucked away in remote quarters of this famous waterway welcome boaters after a day’s voyage. Excellent camping facilities are available for those who want to experience nature more directly.
Many outfitters can be found off I-5 Exit 61 toward Merlin and Galice just north of Grants Pass. Rafters hit Class III and IV rapids a little before Galice and for 35 miles thereafter, the stiffest white water encountered on the Rogue.
Adventure Center (541/482-5139, www.raftingtours.com) has half-, full-, and multiday trips on oar or paddle rafts. Their adventures range from the mild to the wild. A half-day trip on the Rogue is $75.
Galice Resort and Store Raft Trips (11744 Galice Rd., Merlin, 541/476-3818, www.galice.com) offers full-day raft or inflatable-kayak trips as well as river-craft rentals. A half-day float is $65 and a full day on the river is $85, which includes lunch at the resort.
Another river retreat with attractive packages is Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge (8500 Galice Rd., Merlin, 541/476-3825 or 800/826-1963, www.morrisonslodge.com or www.rogueriverraft.com), located about 16 miles from Grants Pass. Everything from half-day ($80) and one-day ($100) floats and excursions to 2–4-day trips is available; see their website for further details. The longer excursions include either stays at other river lodges or camping along the great green Rogue. Transportation back to Morrison’s is included, or your car can be shuttled downriver to meet you at the end of the trip.
Noah’s River Adventures (53 E. Main St., Ashland, 800/858-2811, www.noahsrafting.com) has been providing quality rafting and fishing trips since 1974. They have half-day ($89) and 1–4-day excursions that vary from exciting white-water rafting highs to kinder, gentler floats. See the website for rates and package details.
Orange Torpedo Trips (541/479-5061 or 800/635-2925, www.orangetorpedo.com) has half-day and 1–3-day adventures on rafts or inflatable kayaks (also affectionately known as “orange torpedoes” because of their color and shape). A full-day trip that covers 14 miles of the Rogue is $99.
River Trips Unlimited (4140 Dry Creek Rd., Medford, 541/779-3798 or 800/460-3865, www.raftingtrips.com) has been guiding trips on the Rogue for over 40 years. They have 1–4-day raft trips on the Rogue or summer-run steelhead fishing trips that include meals and overnight stays at some of the river lodges.
Rogue/Klamath River Adventures (541/779-3708 or 800/231-0769, www.rogueklamath.com) has 1–3-day white-water rafting and inflatable-kayak trips that give you the option of camping out under the stars or roughing it in style at a river lodge.
For more information on scenic fishing and white-water rafting trips, contact the Rand Visitor Center (4335 Galice Rd., Merlin, 541/479-3735) or the Visitors Information Center (1995 NW Vine St., Grants Pass, OR 97526, 800/547-5927, www.visitgrantspass.org).
These information outlets can also supply tips on riverside hiking. The Rogue trails out of Grants Pass aren’t as remote as their Gold Beach counterparts, and litter can sometimes mar the route. Nonetheless, the fall colors in certain areas along the Rogue along with a profusion of swimming and fishing holes can add a special dimension to your hike.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel