The Ultimate Guide to Rogue River Rafting: Rapids, Safety, and More.

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Get ready for a Rogue River rafting trip

Rogue River

Ready to take on the rapids of the Rogue River? This comprehensive guide will give you all the information you need for a safe and enjoyable whitewater rafting trip. We’ll cover everything from the various class III rapids to what to bring with you on all Rogue River rafting trips. So, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned pro, read on for all you need to know about rafting the Rogue River!

From Crater Lake National Park to the Pacific Ocean, the Rogue River flows 215 miles. From seven miles west of Grants Pass to eleven miles east of Gold Beach.

What to know before you go on the Rogue River

The Rogue River is one of the world’s first eight Wild and Scenic Rivers and one of the finest whitewater rafting trips in the world. Situated in Southern Oregon, the Rogue River, one of the finest family multi-day trips in the United States, flows to the Pacific Ocean. The Rogue River is perfect for novice boaters and experienced alike.

Apart from the whitewater rafting, the Rogue River also offers spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife, such as bald eagles, river otters, and elk. It is common to come across a black bear feeding along the shoreline. The wild and scenic section also has beautiful side creeks and swimming holes.


The Wild section of the Rogue River, Grave Creek to Watson Creek, is a “controlled use” area. The Bureau of Land Management, (BLM) and USFS allow 120 people to enter this zone daily from May 15th through October 15th. The average duration to float the 33.8-mile Wild stretch from Grave Creek to Foster Bar is three to four days.

The permit for private trips is on a lottery system, and you will want to plan ahead.

Water levels

From 1,100 to 10,000 CFS, the Wild and Scenic Rogue River is considered runnable. Anything lower than 2,000 CFS is considered low. High water is considered at 6,000+ CFS.

Leave no trace camping

–Take all garbage from the river gorge.

–Pack out all food scraps to help keep insects and critters to a minimum.

–Do not bury trash or toilet paper.

–Use Biodegradable soap

–Strain all dish/wastewater through a screen to remove food particles, and pack them out.

–Scatter dishwater for a distance of at least 200 feet from the river to minimize impacts.

–If the river flows are above 500 CFS, pee in the river.

–At flows below 500 CFS, urinate at least 200 ft. away from camp.

–Have a water-tight, reusable toilet system.

Rogue River Rapids:

The Rogue River rapids are typically run with paddle rafts or oar boats, but we have taken many trips using inflatable kayaks, drift boats, and kayaks. I would strongly recommend hiring a guide if this is your first time on this river. Always remember to take an honest assessment of your rafting abilities–as discussed in this article.

There are many Class III rapids and some larger rapids, such as Rainey Falls and Blossom Bar.

Mile 0 – Grave Creek Boat Ramp: The Wild and Scenic Rogue River begin here. It’s just downstream from the Grave Creek Bridge and Grave Creek confluence.

Grave Creek Riffle: (Class III)

Enter the rapid on the left channel’s right side and avoid the left wall.

Grave Creek Falls: (Class III)

A classic drop right down the middle.

Sanderson Riffle: (Class II)

Mile 0.80 – In the left channel of Sanderson Island, there’s a fast read-and-run.

Rainey Falls Fish Ladder: (Class III, IV, or V)

fish ladder rapids

Mile 1.66 – (Class III) The fish ladder is a man-made channel that runs along the far right side of Rainey Falls. This is the most common route down this rapid.

Middle Chute: (Class IV) The Middle Chute of Rainey Falls is undoubtedly the more exciting of the two. This channel is frequently the only way for larger rafts to pass through.

The main drop: (Class V) The primary drop is huge, with large hydraulic systems.

China Gulch Riffles: (Class II)

Mile 2.00 – A series of Read-and-run riffles.

Tyee Rapid: (Class III)

Mile 4.00– The river bends to the left, with a huge rock on the bank. The current is sweeping into the wall on the right side of the river, so work carefully to avoid being swept into it.

Wildcat Rapid: (Class III)

Mile 4.50 – Take the right side of the island and watch out for the wrap-rock at the bottom.

Russian Rapid: (Class II)

Mile 5.00 – Enter left of the center and work your way to the right to avoid the hole located on left towards the end of the rapid.

Montgomery Chutes: (Class II)

Mile 5.50 – A series of connected Read-and-run rapids. At lower water levels, the left side of these rapids is typically cleaner.

Slim Pickins Rapid: (Class III)

Mile 6.50 – Defined by a large rock that splits the river in two. Rafts can run on either side of the rock, but the left is easier.

Washboard Rapids: (Class II)

Mile 7.50 – Fun read-and-run wave train.

Plowshare rapid: (Class II)

Mile 7.50 – Read-and-run, and watch out for the cross-currents

Windy Creek Chutes: (Class II)

Mile 8.00 – The river narrows into two channels. Be ready to ship your oars!

Upper Black Bar Falls: (Class III)

Mile 8.25 – Scout this rapid on the right side. Enter just to the right of a small boulder positioned about 15 feet from the right bank.

Lower Black Bar Falls: (Class III)

Mile 8.50 – A thrilling, narrow-wave train that may be driven right down the middle.

Little Windy Riffle: (Class II)

Mile 9.00 – Read-and-run

Horsehoe Bend: (Class III)

Mile 10.25 –Enter the river left and pass the island on its left side. Work your way to the river right after going to the left of the island.

Telephone Hole: (Class II)

Mile 11.00 – Read-and-run.

Dulog Riffle: (Class II)

Mile 12.00 – Follow the main flow of current and exit between two boulders on the left.

Quiz Show rapid: (Class III)

Mile 12.25 – Boulder garden.

Kelsey Creek Falls: (Class II)

Mile 12.75 – A great wave train

Lower Kelsey: (Class II)

Mile 13.00 – Wave train

Battle Bar Riffle: (Class II)

Mile 14.25 – Read-and-run, but the easiest route is to stay right.

Boulder Alley: (Class II)

Mile 17.75 – A fun rock garden

John’s Rapid: (Class II)

Mile 18.25 – Enter in the middle, passing to the right of a huge rock that stands just left of center. Follow the primary wave train and keep an eye on your oars.

China Bar Rapid: (Class II)

Mile 19.5 – Enter on the river left. Right of center is a rock cluster with a pointy rock known as “the can opener” or “the shark fin”.

Narrows Rapid: (Class II)

Mile 20.75 – Read-and-run.

Jaws: (Class II)

Mile 21.00 – Enter on the left side of both boulders. Once past them, stay inside the current, avoiding a hole on the river’s left.

Mule Creek Canyon: Section 2

Mile 21.00 – Mule Creek Canyon is one of the most beautiful parts of the river, a tiny canyon with swiftly moving, and difficult-to-read water. This portion of the Rogue River is the most mystical, with a steep gradient and walls on either side.

Take in the scenic beauty as you float down the river. Because the rapids at Mule Creek are consecutive, there is seldom time to eddy out or create distance between boats once inside the canyon. As a result, it’s best to enter with plenty of space between your boats.

Wall One: (Class II)

Mile 21.00 – A cushion comes off the wall at most water levels, providing a nice buffer. Work to slow your momentum and use the pillow to your advantage.

Telfer’s Hole: (Class III)

Mile 21.25 – One after another, the rapids in Mule Creek Canyon flow into one another. Set up an angle and push or pull to avoid Telfer Hole on the river left after Wall One. Watch out for the hole at the bottom.

The Narrows: (Class II)

Mile 21.30 – Read-and-run

Coffee Pot: (Class III)

Mile 21.32 – Keep an eye out for boiling eddies on the left side just before the exit of this rapid, since they might snare your bow or stern.

Blossom Bar: (Class IV)

Mile 22.78 – Blossom Bar is probably the most difficult rapid in this section. Enter left and cut back right just above “The Picket Fence”; pull towards the middle to avoid a flip-rock.

Devils Staircase Rapid: (Class III)

Mile 23.05 – A fun wave train with a wall to avoid on the bottom right. After making it down Blossom Bar, this rapid will most likely feel like a breeze. However, be sure to avoid the wall on the bottom right with a nasty helicopter eddy coming off of it.

Quarter Inch rapid: (Class II)

Mile 25.29 – Read-and-run.

Solitude Rapid: (Class II)

Mile 27.37 – A fun wave train with a move towards the right at the bottom.

Tacoma Rapids: (Class II)

Mile 28.95 – Enter right of center and move left of center towards the end.

Clay Hill Rapid: (Class II)

Mile 29.34 – Stay to the island’s right, and follow the wave train down.

Payton Riffle: (Class II)

Mile 31.24 – Read-and-run.

Burnt Rapids: (Class II)

Mile 32.13 – Read-and-run.

Foster Bar Takeout:

Mile 34.52 – River Right. This take-out is located on a large gravel bar downstream of the Foster Creek confluence.

Book your Rogue River trip

Well, what are you waiting for? Book your trip on this scenic river. The world-famous Rogue River truly is a bucket list trip with fun rapids and offers an amazing experience for everyone. Contact us for a list of preferred river guides or more information on making this a memorable trip!

Also read: What To Know Before You Raft The John Day River

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