Few rivers offer a wide variety of benefits that make Oregon’s Wild & Scenic Rogue River one of the best all-around rafting trips in North America. Recognized for its crystal clear waters, numerous but mostly moderate rapids, dependable water levels, and predictable summer sunshine that offer the perfect opportunity to get away for days with family and friends for a unique and memorable river rafting adventure.
Rugged and remote, the Rogue delivers post-card-perfect views with lush evergreen forests and rocky gorges as the river carves a dramatic canyon through the Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon. Rafters are treated to an abundance of wildlife with bald eagles, osprey, river otters and black bears a common sight along the river. The 84-mile section of the Wild & Scenic stretch of the Rogue offers fun and adventure: A rich and fascinating history, complete with epic Indian battles, hermit feuds and the wild exploits of pioneering river runners give a depth of character to the river. Best of all, the Rogue River rewards rafters with over 50 rated rapids in 35 miles. Most of the rapids are fun and splashy but moderate (Class II and III), with Class IV Mule Creek Canyon and Blossom Bar providing the most memorable thrills.
With mostly moderate rapids a Rogue River rafting trip is perfectly appropriate for families with kids and beginner rafters. Scenic riverside camps and plenty of opportunities for hiking, swimming, relaxing and exploring make the time spent off the river fun and enjoyable. You’ll find everything that’s best about a river trip on the Wild & Scenic Rogue. Rafters have two choices in gaining access to this amazing area. First, you can use a knowledgeable outfitter. The second option is to apply for a permit and do a self-guided adventure on your own which requires a per person permit.
The land in this area is managed in cooperation with the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. If you love planning your own rafting adventure, permits are necessary for rafting in some areas and can be secured from the BLM. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules & regulations to ensure a safe and respectful trip.
Here are some commonly asked questions:
How high are the rapids?
Rapids are classed on a scale from 1 to 6. The Wild and Scenic Rogue River includes rapids ranging from Class 1, 2, 3, and two Class 4 rapids that are easily walked around if preferred. The following explains each classification:
Class I (easy) – Moving water with small waves that can tug a boat. This is the calmest class, with minimal maneuvering required.
Class II (novice) – Easy rapids, with waves up to 3 ft tall that are easily seen, and wide channels. Some maneuvering required.
Class III (intermediate) – Offer plenty of excitement with waves up to 4 ft and narrow passages that send the boat shimmying and water gushing over its sides.
Class IV (advanced) – Long, difficult rapids, with turbulent water that requires precise maneuvering. Guaranteed to get your heart racing! There may be dangerous rocks or boiling eddies. Precise maneuvering required, and you should be accompanied by an experienced guide.
Class V (expert) – A constant adrenaline rush. Long and violent rapids that follow each other almost without interruption. Paddlers should have Class IV or better whitewater experience, and go with experienced guides who know the river.
Class VI (extreme) – Considered “un-runnable” and have rarely been attempted due to their difficulty, unpredictability, and danger. This is the most dangerous class and should only be attempted by a team of experts.
What about children?
It depends on the child and the challenge of your specific rafting trip. It is a fascinating, rewarding experience for a child who is prepared for an outdoor challenge, and who can easily adjust to the company of adults and the discipline that water and river safety requires. You know your child best. Most outfitters will have a minimum age for each whitewater raft trip and all our recommended outfitters run family friendly Rogue trips. Most children are mature enough around age 6. Remember: it’s OK to ask if there are other children on the trip for your children to interact with.
How strenuous is whitewater rafting?
You will be active, but if you are in moderately good physical condition, the challenge will not strain you. There is little danger if you follow the safety rules in Whitewater rafting, do what your guide tells you and don’t try to swim or paddle beyond your skills.
What happens if you need to go to the bathroom?
On the Wild and Scenic Section, the lodges have bathrooms for guests, and some campsites have outhouses. You can choose to rent a riverside toilet system to ensure a bathroom is always available on stops. We also recommend you carry WAG bags (or GO-anywhere toilet kits), for those emergency situations. They are sanitary, safe, environmentally-friendly, and come complete with toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
What do we wear?
Dressing safely and comfortably (not to mention fashionable) for river trips is a challenging task. It is very important and should not be taken lightly. For much of the season, you will need two sets of clothing: one for on the river and one for camp or lodge. During the day shorts, swimsuit, water sandals, hat, and sunglasses are best. Sun protection is always a priority. There is no shade on the river. For your safety on the water, we alway recommend you wear a life jacket and helmet. Keep items not in use dry by storing them in a dry bag.
What do we bring?
For a comprehensive list, see our Itinerary and Gear List page.
What if I can't swim?
Don’t be too concerned. It’s more of a question of how comfortable are you in the water. Wear your Personal Floatation Device (life jacket) at all times. In rivers, you go with the flow and work your way toward shore. It doesn’t require much swimming skill. You might want to float some small rapids in your PFD, with a person you trust and then decide if whitewater rafting is for you.
Where do I stay?
What about my vehicle?
We are offer several shuttling services, whether you and your gear need transportation back to your vehicle, or you would like your vehicle safely stored and delivered to your final destination.
Where is the nearest airport to the Rand Ranger Station?
- Medford Airport is a Commercial Airport (48 miles)
- Merlin Airport is a Private Airport (18 miles)