"I don't know when I've had so much enjoyment on a vacation. The guides were great, the food was great, and how much beauty can you get in four days? I'm planning for next year." - D. Holt, Tuscon, AZ
Day 1 We begin our trip at Almeda Bar, a large rock bar downstream of Galice. The first few easy miles give us a chance to teach the intrepid souls in the inflatable kayaks how to maneuver their craft. After lunch we enter the Wild and Scenic section, and we do so with a bang: Grave Creek Rapids thrill the rafters and challenge the kayakers. Next, most guests hike around Rainey Falls, the left chute of which we avoid at all costs. After Rainey Falls it is smooth floating to camp, and we arrive early enough to put up tents, perhaps take a short hike, a brief swim, relax on the beach (we even have beach chairs!), or delve into vacation reading before dark. We serve hors d'oeuvres and follow with a hearty dinner created by the guides.
Days 2 and 3 are full days on the river: coffee is ready by 7:00 AM and breakfast is around 8:00 AM. Then we pack up camp, load the boats, and hit the river. If we have time, the hike up Dulog Creek to the double waterfalls is incredibly beautiful.
On Day 3 we stop for lunch above Mule Creek Canyon, where we often visit the historic Rogue River Ranch. Afterwards, we encounter the best whitewater of the trip. At Mule Creek Canyon the river plunges through a narrow canyon with sheer rock walls. When the whitewater lets up we have a chance to enjoy the spectacular beauty. After a break comes Blossom Bar, an extremely tricky maze of rocks, and then it is smooth floating through more beautiful scenery until camp.
We begin Day 4 like the others, but perhaps a little earlier. We eat lunch near Flora Del and take the short hike up this wonderful waterfall. Then we float down to the take-out point at Foster Bar, usually arriving mid-afternoon. The sight of the take-out is a shocking signal that the trip is really over, and inevitably elicits sounds of dismay from the group. The disappointment is soon lost in the bustle of unloading the rafts, changing clothes, loading the vans, and saying goodbye to the guides, who stay to de-rig.
The three hour van ride (10-14 passengers) follows a windy but beautiful road that climbs over 4000 feet in elevation before descending to Galice.
The Rogue River canyon is rich in history. The Indians earned themselves the nickname 'Rogue Indians' as they fought hard against the onslaught of miners and settlers who came in search of gold in the 1850's. The river, first called 'The River for Rogues,' eventually became the Rogue River.
Among the colorful, cantankerous lot of settlers was Dutch Henry, who lived near Horseshoe Bend in the 1870's and was suspected of murdering four men over a ten year period. Jimmy Coe, who lived near Black Bar in the 1920's, was actually James Johnson, an escaped prisoner from Florida. We often visit the cabin of Zane Grey, the author of potboiler westerns, who spent summers on the river. His Rogue River Feud takes place on the river, and his Tales of Freshwater Fishing did much to give the Rogue its national reputation for fall Steelhead fishing.
Where is the Rogue?
The Rogue begins in the Cascades of Central Oregon and works its way west to the southern Oregon coast. Our Rogue River rafting trip is on the mildest and most spectacular segment of the river, 38 miles, as it cuts through coastal mountains on its way to the Pacific. The Rogue was among the eight original river segments designated Wild and Scenic by the U.S. Congress, giving it the nation's highest tribute to a river and protection from any further encroachment by man.
The Rogue is a Class III river: moderate rapids with plenty of action but not too wild for inflatable kayaks. The morning of the first day is a great warm up, with smaller ripples. Later we face Upper and Lower Grave Creek Falls, where everyone gets wet. At Rainey Falls, the guides run the rafts through the Middle chute while the kayaks are either portaged or run down the fish ladder.
Day two includes Tyee, Wildcat, Upper and Lower Black Bar Falls, Horseshoe Bend, and Telephone Hole. On Day three we encounter the best whitewater, culminating with Mule Creek Canyon and Blossom Bar - a well known Class IV boulder strewn challenge. Because the entrance to the rapid is impossible to see from the water and an early miscue has major consequences, we will scout this one from the rocks above, then portage the kayaks around the first section. After Blossom Bar comes Devil's Staircase, which is not as tricky but definitely demands our attention.
Day four is an easy float day, and those who have not tried the kayaks often do so then.
"[The] Rogue has the greatest collection of wildlife I've seen in a river trip...osprey, eagles, salmon, otters, bears, turtles, ducks, crayfish, salamanders, deer, and even snakes." - M. Busch, Davis, CA
The Rogue boasts the richest conifer forest in North America. For the first two and a half days we see trees that require little water: pacific madrone, white oak, canyon live oak, tan oak, and manzanita. Near Mule Creek Canyon we cross to the ocean side of the coastal range which hosts trees that can use more moisture: fir, hemlock, sugar pine, and grand fir.
Wildlife abounds. Deer are very common. Black bears prowl the shore hunting for salmon and berries. Raccoons sometimes hang around the camp at night, river otter often romp nearby, and mink dart through the brush.
Great Blue Herons glide gracefully by each day. Osprey soar above and occasionally dive into the river and fly away with a fish. Several Bald Eagles nest in the canyon, and Mergansers show off their river skills that make the best kayakers look and feel like klutzes.
How is the Food?
We provide three hearty meals a day, from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day. We specialize in creative, delicious, and healthy food: the product of over three decades of developing menus. Your guides prepare and clean up all of the meals. Vegetarian and special diets will gladly be accommodated: just tell us in advance.