RIVER RATING: Class II-IV
TRIP MILES: 45 Miles
PUT-IN: Grave Creek
TAKE-OUT: Foster Bar
RETURN TIME: We will arrive at Foster Bar approximately 3:00 PM. For guests that wish to explore the coast, arrangements can be made with Morrison's Lodge to have your vehicle shuttled to Foster Bar. ROW provides shuttle service for guests returning to Morrison's lodge where guests can plan to arrive back to Morrison's Lodge om Merlin Oregon approximately 5:00 - 5:30 PM PST.
AGE LIMIT: Minimum age is 7
BOAT TYPE: Paddle Raft, Oar Raft, Inflatable Kayak
TRIP INCLUDES: Services of our talented adventure consultants and professional guides, all meals/beverages as indicated in the itinerary (including beer and wine), all rafting/camping gear, transportation to/from river meeting points.
DOES NOT INCLUDE: 6% Land and water access fee, Airfare/transportation beginning and ending points, shuttling your car from Merlin to Foster Bar (optional), gratuities, travel protection plan, pre-& post-trip hotel, items of a personal nature.
Day 1 - Put-In to Camp, Intermediate rapids
Our meeting point is at Morrison’s Lodge not far from Merlin, Oregon. The evening before we have an orientation meeting to answer last-minute questions. From Morrison’s Lodge it’s a brief, 20-minute drive to our launch point where we get everyone fitted with a PFD (personal flotation device) and then have our safety talk. After dividing up into oar-rafts and paddle-rafts, we begin our float.
The first miles are a perfect introduction to rafting with a few easy to moderate rapids. As the sun gets higher in the sky, the air warms and soon we arrive at Grave Creek and our first intermediate Class III rapid.
After letting out some hoots and hollers, we continue through a stretch of calm water with time to soak in the forested beauty of the Rogue River. Soon we arrive at Rainey Falls, a steep class V rapid with a sneak on river right called the Fish Ladder. While guides navigate rafts through the fish ladder, guests walk along a river trail on river left. We reunite just blow the rapids and continue our Rogue River rafting trip.
Next stop might be Whisky Creek where you learn about the trees of the Rogue and early mining history in the canyon. It’s an easy and beautiful walk along the creek to the old homestead.
The afternoon is full of fun as we raft through various rapids such as Tyee, Wildcat and Montgomery. Our camp is chosen based on a variety of factors including our group size, how many others are on the river, weather, and more. Normally we reach camp by late afternoon with time to set up and then relax on the beach, go for a walk or visit with friends, new and old.
Soon your guides present our legendary ROW appetizers followed by dinner. Afterwards we sit under the sky to stargaze and revel in the day’s adventure.
- Accommodations: Camping
- Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Day 2 - Rapids, Exploration, Rogue River Ranch
Our day begins with the sound of chirping birds and the smell of campfire coffee. After breakfast you take down your tent as we pack up the kitchen and boats. Before long we climb aboard the rafts for another fantastic day of rafting. Rivers have a magical way of bringing everyone together and with no connectivity to the outside world you are free from interruptions. It’s so rare to find places where quality time, true connection and immersion in nature all converge.
Our day is full of whitewater and discovery. We raft through Upper and Lower Black Bar, and then on to Horseshoe Bend. We stop to walk up enchanted side creeks and learn about some of the cultural history of the Rogue. We paddle with laughter and enthusiasm through various Class II and III rapids including Telephone Hole, Meadow Creek, Dulog, Battle Bar riffle and China Bar. When the sun is high overhead, we stop for lunch on a beach or under the trees, often at a place where we share with you some of the Rogue River’s hidden treasures. After lunch the river gifts us with more rapids and diverse forest scenery. One of the enchantments of the Rogue is that the canyon has evergreens on the less-sunny side of the river and oaks on the sunnier side. This creates a diverse ecosystem and particular beauty.
Later in the afternoon, we arrive at the beaches near Mule Creek and the Rogue River Ranch. After we set up camp, if there’s time, we go explore the Rogue River Ranch where pioneer history comes alive. If not today, we visit the next morning.
Another scrumptious dinner and evening under the stars complete our day.
- Accommodations: Camping
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - Mule Creek Canyon, Blossom Bar, Devils Staircase
This is a day of dramatic scenery! As we enter Mule Creek Canyon, the river is constricted between narrow walls of volcanic rock that create water features that bubble and boil. There’s no other river canyon quite like it! One of the most narrow and legendary spots is the Coffee Pot, so-called due to the percolating water that surges and roils upwards. It’s a quick, heart-pounding ride through the canyon that ends as the river widens slightly and we pull into a tiny cove to see Staircase Falls drop into the river.
It’s only another mile downstream to Blossom Bar rapid, the most technical and difficult rapid on the river, where guides’ skills are put to the test. We stop to scout, then run the rapid. There is an option to walk around the rapid if anyone prefers to do that.
Once through Blossom Bar, we relax and soak in the inspiring canyon scenery. A few pulls on the oars and we arrive at the Devil’s Stair, a fun constriction rapid where the river again narrows and is turned by a cliff face as it continues downhill towards the sea.
We stop for lunch somewhere near Devil’s Stair, to skip stones, share stories and appreciate the natural wonders around us. The afternoon has some more easy or intermediate rapids, perhaps a side hike and likely, some good wildlife viewing. The Rogue is home to black bear, river otter, rough-legged newts, turtles, osprey, bald eagles, mergansers and more. Keen eyes reward those on the lookout for animals.
We arrive at our last night’s camp and everyone has relaxed into the river’s rhythm. This is one of favorite times of day, as there’s time for exploring, reading a book and connecting with others. ROW guides prepare a grand finale dinner, and the evening spirit is elevated with lively conversation remembering the past few days of rafting adventure.
- Accommodations: Camping
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - Rafting, Hiking, Take Out Foster Bar
Our day starts with another bountiful breakfast and if you wish, morning stretches. We load the rafts for the final miles of river replete with our last splashes and waves. The canyon widens somewhat as the mountains soar to our north and south, making way for the river’s path to the Pacific.
Our paddles guide us through more rapids including Clay Hill, Payton and Burnt riffles, and Brewery Hole. Deep breaths of mountain air rejuvenate the spirit and gurgling side creeks make their way over boulders and into the river.
Our final lunch is a time to reflect on the fun and camaraderie of our Rogue River days together. After a celebratory toast and a few more tall tales, we raft onward to our take-out at Foster Bar. Our aim is to arrive by 3:00 pm. Those people who had their cars shuttled will find them here. Others load into a van for the two-hour drive through the mountains to return to Morrison’s Lodge with an anticipated arrival around 5:00 pm.
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
The Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River is located in Southwest Oregon 20 miles northwest of the city of Grants Pass. The nearest airline service is located in the city of Medford about 50 miles from our Rogue River launch point in Merlin, Oregon. Interstate 5 is the main highway into the area.
Whether driving or ﬂying, we encourage you to arrive in the area the night before your trip. There are a number of motels and campgrounds in the area and reservations are strongly recommended. The following lodge and motels are easy to ﬁnd:
Merlin Area Accommodations:
- Morrison’s Lodge (800) 826-1963
- Galice Resort (541) 476-3818
- Doubletree Ranch (541) 476-0120
Grants Pass Motels:
- Best Western (800) 553-7666
- Holiday Inn Express (800) 838-7666
- The Riverside Inn (800) 334-4567
- La Quinta 541-472-0152
- Hampton Inn 541-474-5690
- Rogue Regency Inn (800) 535-5805
- Camping is available near Galice at Indian Mary Campground and at Alameda Bar. Reservations are needed during the summer and can be made through the Park Service at (541) 474-5285.
We recommend that guests arrive in the area the night before launch day. We will meet you at Morrison’s Lodge near Merlin, Oregon at 5:45 pm the evening prior to your departure date for a one-hour orientation meeting to answer last-minute questions and give you your waterproof bags to pack. This is an important meeting, so please be on time. The next morning, we will meet you around 7:45 am at Morrison’s and transport you to the launch point for your trip. Please have breakfast on your own before we meet.
The return trip to Morrison’s includes a scenic 2-hour van shuttle (this shuttle is included in your trip fees) back over the mountains, which arrives at approximately 5 pm.
If You Drive:
From I-5 (north or south) take Exit 61 to Merlin. Merlin is 3 miles west of I-5. Turn left (west) onto Merlin-Galice Road and go 12 1⁄2 miles. You will cross a large, yellow bridge over the Rogue River about two miles before you reach Morrison's Lodge, which will be on your right.
If You Fly:
The nearest airport is located in Medford, Oregon – the Rogue Valley International Medford Airport – which is approximately 28 miles south of Grants Pass. United, United Express, Horizon/Alaska and Delta Connection service this airport. Shuttle service can be arranged from the airport to your accommodations in Grants Pass or Merlin. This shuttle can also pick you up at Morrison’s the afternoon you return from the river and return you to the airport or, to your accommodations if your ﬂight is not until the following day. For assistance with shuttle service, call Morrison’s Lodge (800) 826-1963 or Double D Shuttle and Taxi (541) 476-7773. Please note: The fees that these shuttle companies charge are in addition to your trip fees. Private aircraft can ﬂy into Grants Pass, Oregon Airport-FAA identiﬁer, 3S8. The airport is 5 miles from Grants Pass and about 20 minutes from our meeting point at Morrison’s Lodge.
We highly recommend checking the weather prior to your trip for an updated forecast and current conditions. We recommend the following websites.
Weather in any river canyon can vary widely day to day. However, the Rogue’s typical daytime temperatures can climb into the 80’s & 90’s, with the water temperature generally 60-70 degrees. Early and late season trips can also have temperatures ranging from 60-80. While blue skies & sunshine are predominant, rain can happen any time so please bring rain gear!
Helpful Weather Related Tips:
Here at ROW Adventures, our first and foremost goal is for you to have an enjoyable and safe experience. While most of our trips are suitable for beginners, some of our trips are more active than others and it’s important that you understand the physical requirement of the trip you choose.
All of our multi-day rafting trips are active adventures that involve some level of physical exertion and possible exposure to the elements including but not limited to wind, rain, heat, sun, cold temperatures and cold water conditions. ROW Adventures is able to accommodate people with physical limitations, disabilities, and medical conditions; please speak with your Adventure Consultant if you think you will require any additional assistance while on the trip. We ask that you consult your Doctor if you have health or medical conditions that could impact your ability to participate in an active and outdoor adventure. In general, all trip participants must be able to do the following:
Wear all protective and safety equipment that is required by ROW Adventures and recommended/required by industry-wide standards.
Load and unload, on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion, the bus and/or van providing transportation for ROW Adventures activities.
Reach the river access points (put-in and take-out) on their own, or with the aid of a qualified companion.
Enter and exit the raft, kayak and/or inflatable kayak on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion.
Remain seated and balanced in a floating raft, canoe, kayak or inflatable kayak w/ the aid of adaptive equipment, if necessary.
Perform all on water activities, including following instructions that like paddling commands from the guide in class I and higher whitewater on their own or with the assistance of a qualified companion.
Float on their back when entering moving and still water. The participant must be capable of turning from face-down to face-up in the water with the aid of a Personal Floatation Device and must be able to hold their breath while underwater.
Remain calm and keep breathing under control in the event of a whitewater swim.
Get out from under a raft, whether the raft is up-right or capsized, in moving water.
Climb into the raft, with the help of another person, should an involuntary swim happen at any point on the river.
Make progress toward the shoreline or a raft by swimming in moving water and must be able to exit the river and ascend the shoreline once reached.
Participate as an active paddler when instructed by the guide for the duration of the trip.
Move about the campsite on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion on all trips that include overnight camping and/or lunch.
Packing properly for a river trip is CRITICAL to your enjoyment while on the river. We recommend that you prepare yourself for three basic scenarios:
Take care of these, and you are free to let the river and the canyon work their magic.
Weather in the northwest is unpredictable. You must come prepared for cold/wet weather and hot/sunny weather – sometimes even on the same day! The following information will help you be prepared for the expected as well as the unexpected events of your trip. You may not use all of the gear listed below, but we recommend bringing it all!
DRYBAGS THAT ROW PROVIDES
- One large waterproof bag for each person (13” in diameter x 24” tall when closed) This bag will contain the majority your personal items. This bag is NOT accessible during the day.
One small waterproof day bag for each person (9" in diameter x 20" tall) This bag is for items you want to access during the day such as rain gear, sunscreen, camera, medications, etc.
WHAT YOU SHOULD PACK:
All of your personal items can be packed into a soft-sided duffle bag approximately 12” x 13” x 24” in size. Alternately, you can use stuff sacks to contain and separate your personal items in the waterproof bag or items can be placed directly into the bag. Due to weight allowances and raft space, please limit your gear to 20-25 pounds. If you are on a camp trip, your sleeping bag/pad does not need to fit into this bag - it will get its own separate bag.
On Camping Trips: We will provide each guest with a sleeping bag, pad, and liner. We also supply tents (double occupancy), tables, chairs, etc.
River attire is very casual – comfort and convenience take precedence over style!
1 pair of river shoes or sandals or sneakers that can get wet (must have an ankle strap, no flip-flops!) Velcro is okay if in good condition. Popular name brands include Chaco, Teva, Keen or Merrell. Tennis shoes with wool or synthetic socks are a good option if your feet tend to get cold.
- Two T-Shirts (1 quick dry and 1 cotton for a hot day) □ 1 long sleeve shirt for sun protection and/or cool evenings
- 1 synthetic fleece or wool mid-weight sweater for layering on cool days.
- Mid-weight to light-weight long synthetic underwear tops and bottoms. Best worn over a swimsuit and undershorts.
- 2 pair of shorts/swimsuits
- Light pants are great for sun protection or on a windy day. Lightweight zip off pants works great.
- Sun hat or visor
- Rain gear (this is a critical item! - rain jacket or windbreaker without the cotton liner works well…most guests have something in their closet.)
- Water bottle with carabiner (on hot days you should drink lots of water – we provide water to refill your bottle)
- Sunscreen (no oil or sweet smelling types – they contaminate life jackets and attract bees)
- Sunglasses with retaining cord/device
- 1 bath towel & washcloth & biodegradable soap (camp trips only)
Paddling or bike gloves (for inflatable kayak paddling) - optional
HIKING ON THE TRAIL:
- Hiking Boot / Shoe
- River shoes – a pair of sandals like Chaco, Teva, etc. that you do not mind getting wet.
- Day use backpack for carrying extra clothes during the day
- Rain gear (rain jacket or windbreaker without the cotton liner works well…most guests have something in their closet.)
- Hat or visor
- Extra dry socks
- Insect repellent
- Water bottle with carabiner
- 2 pairs of shorts or swimsuit
- 1 pair of long pants – zip off pants are a great option
- 1 lightweight long sleeve shirt for sun protection or cool days
- 1 short sleeve t-shirt
- 1 synthetic fleece or wool mid-weight sweater for layering on cool days.
Special Note for Hikers:
All hiking guests need to be prepared to raft. Hikers are welcome to get into, or out of a raft at lunch or other points along the trail that provide river access if they are tired, injured or just want more or less river time. It is required to get into a raft to cross the river at Black Bar Lodge and to float out the last section of the trip.
OPTIONAL FOR ALL TRIPS:
- Camera – waterproof digital with extra batteries & memory card is recommended. Many guests use smartphones (there is NOT cell service on the river). A waterproof case is also highly recommended for protection and ease of use.
- Bee sting kit for those allergic to bees.
- Female urinary device (allows women to urinate standing up without removing clothing). Silicon or hard plastic ones work great. Popular name brands include Gogirl and Shewee.
- Cards, Games, Books, Musical instruments, journal, etc.
- Plastic garbage bags (2-3) for separating dirty/wet clothing
- 1 pair of evening shoes (tennis shoes, sandals, hiking shoes, etc.)
- 1 pair light trousers (jogging pants, sweats, khaki pants, etc.)
- 1 synthetic light or mid-weight fleece/sweater
- 1 button up shirt
- Insect repellent
- Small flashlight
- Personal toiletries
- Socks & Undergarments
LAYERING FOR OUTDOOR COMFORT
Clothing layers are the thermostat of the wilderness. As you get ready for your river trip, think about dressing in layers. By adding and subtracting layers you can keep yourself perfectly comfortable. If you were to look into the dry bags of a well-prepared river guide you would see packing for three weather scenarios -- cold, wet days; hot, summer days; and cool evenings and mornings in camp. All of your on-river clothing should be made from synthetic fabrics with names like fleece, pile, polypropylene, Capilene™ or polyester. A cotton T-shirt is used occasionally on hot, sunny days, but cotton clothing is best saved for on-shore camp use.
- LAYER #1: The layer next to your skin should be close-fitting and thin. A snug-fitting underwear or mid-weight fleece layer made of synthetic fibers work best. You do not want to wear cotton on the river on cool rainy days. The evaporation of water from a wet cotton layer will actually make you colder! Synthetic fibers maintain insulative properties when wet and "wick" moisture away from your skin.
- LAYER #2: The next layer should also be made of a synthetic fiber, but should be a bit heavier in weight. If you get too warm you can always peel this layer off.
- LAYER #3: The outer layer is what is known as the "barrier" layer. This layer should be waterproof and loose-fitting enough to give you a good range of motion. The idea of this layer is to seal out water, and seal in the warmth generated by you and insulated by layers # 1 and # 2. A good rain suit can do the job, or a good paddling jacket and pants. Not only will this protect you from rainstorms, but chilly water temperatures when running rapids as well!
If you plan to fish, please bring your own fishing gear (with a protective case), as we do not have any to loan. Oregon fishing licenses are required if you plan on fishing. Fishing on the Rogue is best in the fall. You can pre-purchase a license online at https://odfw.huntfishoregon.com/login or by calling (503) 947-6101.
LIQUOR AND FAVORITE BEVERAGES
ROW packs moderate quantity of soft drinks as well as wine and beer for legal age guests. If you bring your own liquor or other personal favorite beverages, please give it to your guide in its original container. Beer should be in cans - No glass beer bottles please. Bottled wine is fine. Liquor in Oregon is sold in State Liquor Stores with limited hours. It may be easiest to purchase your liquor or other favorite beverages at home or on the way to the river trip, rather than after the pre-trip meeting at Morrison's Lodge.
Like anyone in the service business, river and outdoor adventure guides appreciate gratuities. Our guides are some of the best and most highly trained in the business. They not only guide your raft down the river, but set up camp, cook and serve gourmet meals, provide interpretation on the natural and cultural history of the area and strive to provide the highest level of hospitality. Tipping is ultimately a personal decision, however if you appreciate the service your guides provided, then as a guideline we suggest a gratuity of 10-20% of the trip price.
Tips can be given to the ROW Team Leader at the end of the trip in the form of cash or personal check. The Team Leader distributes them equally among the guides and gives a portion to ROW’s behind-the-scenes, unsung heroes like our drivers and food shoppers.
Some of our favorite books about the Rogue River
Rogue River Feud, by Zane Grey (Penguin Books).
This is an enlightening and easy to read book about water politics in the West. One of Zane Grey’s lesser known books, the Rogue River Feud masterfully and beautifully describes the scenery and tranquility of the Rogue River. This is an excellent choice to bring with you into the river canyon. On each ROW departure we stop by Zane Grey’s cabin (time permitting) along the river to gain a better understanding of exactly where he was while working through the Novel. A great book for any rafting or hiking journey in the Rogue River canyon.
The Rogue River Guidebook: A comprehensive guide from Prospect to Gold Beach, by Matt Leidecker
Matt Leidecker covers more than just the Wild and Scenic section. This guide contains detailed topographic maps, user friendly mile-by-mile text and photographs for one of the most popular, most beautiful, multi-day runs in the United States. This is an excellent book to carry with you on our guided trip. This book combines knowledge of where you’re going with an understanding of the areas basic history and geography.
The River Reader, by John A. Murray (The Lyons Press, 1998).
A collection of writings that is composed of both classic selections and contemporary writings from twenty-two diverse writers that are devoted to a single environmental subject. It is the finest essays on rivers by Hemingway, Barry Lopez, Annie Dillard, and others.
Illahe, by Kay Atwood.
Illahe tells the captivating story of the miners, packers, farmers. And families who settled southern Oregon’s rugged Rogue River Canyon in the 1860’s. If you’re a history buff this book is for you. Kay Atwood does a remarkable job of re-telling first had accounts from the early days in the canyon. She utilizes journals, diaries and interviews with decedents from those who originally journeyed into the unknown isolation that was the Rogue River Canyon. Feel the stories and emotions of floods, harsh winters and constant isolation as these people chose to make their home in this beautiful river wilderness. This is a great read right before a rafting trip down the Rogue River canyon.
The Rogue, a River to Run, by Florence Arman with Glen Woolridge.
Here is a spectacular book about THE Rogue River legend. Glen Woolridge started running the Rogue River in 1915 and was still running it into the 1980’s. He was the first person to travel up the Rogue River from Gold Beach Oregon to Grants Pass Oregon in 1947. The next year he became the first person to travel up the Salmon River “river of no return” in Idaho from Riggins to Salmon. This book is a piece of history about a man who made history on the Rogue River. If you want to understand the sense of adventure that surrounds the Rogue River this is your book.
Weather Report - Check the weather before you go
Exploring Southern Oregon - Rogue River extension ideas
Travel Oregon - Oregon State travel website
White Water Craft Guide - Types of crafts we utilize on river trips
Understanding Leave No Trace on the River - Helpful ways to travel through river environments sustainably.
Terms & Conditions
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