What Is the Best Time of Year to Raft the Rogue River, Oregon?
Considered one of the United States’ best whitewater rafting and kayaking destinations, the Rogue River flows from the Cascade Range to the Pacific Ocean in Southern Oregon. It boasts breathtaking scenery, thrilling rapids, and incredible wildlife sightings, making it an ideal multi-day trip for families and experienced paddlers alike.
If you’re considering a rafting trip on the Rogue River, you might be wondering when is the best time to go. In our opinion, it’s whenever we have availability! That being said, there are some seasonal differences on and around the river that will appeal to different people. In this guide, we’ll share with you our insights about the nuanced differences of each month to help you make up your own mind.
The Rogue River rafting season extends from late May until early October when the weather and river conditions are at their best. Daytime temperatures range from the low 80s to around 90, with May and September experiencing the coolest weather and the highest chance of rain. While the weather might not be ideal for swimming, these months are perfect if you want to avoid the crowds as school is back in session and most people are back at work.
Late May to mid-June
Early in the season (late May to mid-June) is perfect for our raft-supported hiking tours, which roughly follow the banks of the Rogue River. They take in cascading waterfalls, rugged canyons, and babbling brooks, surrounded by a majestic display of wildflowers. The color displays reach their peak in mid-May but there are always some wildflowers still in bloom late in the season.
For bird lovers, this is the time to come for sightings of bald eagles and newly born mergansers trailing their moms. Flow levels on the river tend to be a little higher in May and June as the mountain snow melts and makes it's way downstream towards the Pacific Ocean.
Mid-June to mid-August
Once the heat of July arrives, our lodge-based rafting trips are in full swing and the temperatures are perfect for swimming in the river and the waterfall pools. It’s worth keeping in mind that the nighttime temperatures along the river can still be cool throughout July and August, so ensure you bring warm clothes for the evenings.
Blackberries begin to ripen in late July (and we always pause to snack on them whenever we can) and your chances of spotting fawns at the Black Bar Lodge are the most favorable during this period.
Mid-August to early October
By mid-August/early-September, the weather begins to cool and this is the best time to spot bears along the banks of the Rogue River. They’re lured here to feast on steelhead trout as the fish make their annual migration upstream. Salmon can also be seen jumping at Rainie Falls from mid-to-late summer and this is an ideal time for spotting snowy egrets and cormorants.
In September, we begin our camping-based rafting trips, which will see you sleeping under the stars while enjoying the crisp fall air. As the nights get shorter, the stargazing gets more impressive, although we do moon gaze earlier in the season using our telescope at the Black Bar Lodge. If you’re a keen angler, then fall is the best time to visit, with the opportunity to lure a variety of salmon and trout species.
There is no bad time of year to raft the Rogue River in Oregon! If you need a little more help deciding, our Adventure Consultants are always available to help match you to the perfect trip and time, just give us a call at (208) 765-0841. If you're interested in a guest perspective of our Rogue River Rafting trip, join the Rocholl Family as they Reconnect on the Rogue, or watch below for a little glimpse of a Rogue River rafting trip with ROW Adventures.