Whether Rafting, Fishing, Kayaking Or Hiking, The Rogue River Is The Perfect Place For Outdoor Recreation In Oregon
There are few rivers as eye-catching as the Rogue River. Whether someone is visiting the Rogue Valley as part of an Oregon vacation, just passing through to get from one place to another, or is a valley resident going about their daily business, it's hard to ignore the beauty and the presence of the Rogue River as it winds its way through a number of Southern Oregon cities and towns.
This legendary river has for years been a favorite playground of rafters, hikers and game fishermen, and its popularity continues to grow as more visitors seek a relaxing retreat from a fast-paced, overloaded city life. There will always be a certain serenity that overcomes anyone who stops to enjoy the beauty of this awe inspiring river. The Rogue River was one of the original eight rivers included in the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, which concluded that certain rivers, because of their remarkable scenic, geologic, cultural, recreational and wildlife value, should be afforded protection from development to preserve these free-flowing rivers for future generations to engage and enjoy. To this day, the Rogue remains one of the world's most popular recreation destinations, famous for steelhead and salmon fishing, wildlife viewing and white-water rafting. For anyone wanting to view the beauty of birds, it is common to see osprey, blue heron, egrets, Canadian geese, owls and grouse along the river. You'll even find the exalted and dignified bald eagle. On the banks of the Rogue graze deer and elk, while river otters and beavers can occasionally be seen in the water. Among the old-growth pines and the beautiful, distinctive, bark-peeling Pacific madrone groves of the canyon areas live the bear, bobcat, mountain lion and fox species. The river begins its journey at an elevation of 6000 feet in the Crater Lake National Park, then winds its way 215 miles to the Pacific Ocean at Gold Beach, Oregon. Along the way, the Rogue flows with relative calm through the old mining and logging towns of Prospect, Trail, Shady Cove and Eagle Point as it descends into the Rogue River Valley near Medford. Between Medford and Grants Pass the river at a little over 1000 feet in elevation is a great place for swimming and doing some relaxed, composed rafting in flows that are mild to moderate, with water temperatures during the summer months reaching just above 70° Fahrenheit. Whitewater rafting is a favorite Rogue Valley activity during the months of May through September, and the Rogue River provides class 3, class 4 and class 5 rapids once it enters the final 60-mile wild and scenic middle section just west of Grants Pass on its way to the Pacific. After passing through beautiful Hellgate and Taylor Creek canyons the river takes a sharp turn at Graves Creek west of Galice, where a big drop in elevation leads to the picturesque cliffs of Mule Creek Canyon and Copper Canyon. This is where the fun begins. From Rainie Falls to Blossom Bar the Rogue delivers breathtaking class 3 to class 5 rapids, drawing thrill-seekers from around the world. Also, in certain sections of the wild and scenic areas of the river, jet boat excursions are quite popular. These specially designed and crafted vessels skim across the water at more than 50 mph and allow unparalleled canyon viewing from the relative safety of a larger watercraft piloted by an experienced boatman who will also provide knowledgeable narration about the river and area wildlife. No matter how a person travels the Rogue River, memories will be made that will last a lifetime. There are many guide services throughout Southern Oregon, as well as outfitters for those who choose to go it alone. On our Things To Do page are phone numbers and web addresses of tour guides, outfitters and others who can help accommodate anyone who seeks to explore any of the area's rivers and canyons. Recreational fishing on the Rogue is an all year activity. The river is famous for its abundance of steelhead trout and king salmon. The Chinook and steelhead run in the fall and spring to spawn upriver, while the Coho run in the fall. Fly fishing for summer steelhead from July to November has become very popular and there are many fly-fishing guides available during these months to take you to the best areas of the river. All along the river are parks, campgrounds, trails for hiking and horseback riding, restaurants and lodges. Some people still pan for gold in a river that at one time produced more than $70 million, though the prospect of finding such wealth in the current era has all but disappeared. The Rogue River offers everything an outdoorsman could want. The river itself can be either challenging or fun, a place to relax and enjoy peace and quiet, or a test of your body's physical limits.