Grande Ronde Rafting

The Grande Ronde River offers a scenic rafting trip without too many surprises. It's a great introduction to whitewater and perfect for family adventures. Campsites are on beautiful plateaus with wildflowers and grasses. Wildlife viewing, mountain scenery, hiking and good fishing are some of the highlights on this trip. The water is fast-moving and the Grande Ronde's whitewater is exciting but relatively mild.

In 1988, recognizing the spectacular beauty and outstanding resource values of the river canyon, Congress protected 44 miles of the Grande Ronde as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system.

On the Grande Ronde River, we float through evergreen forests with towering ponderosa pines anchored on steep mountainsides. The mountains and river canyon are accented with black basalt cliffs that were created millions of years ago during the great Columbia Basin lava flows. The river corridor has a complex ecosystem rich in plant and animal life.

Where we pass through the heart of the ancient homeland of the Chief Joseph band of the Nez Perce the mountains are replete with wildlife. Elk, deer and black bear may be seen on the upper stretches while big horn sheep are often perched on the cliffs of the lower river. Birds of prey commonly soar and hunt the wooded hillsides and Grande Ronde River.

The Grande Ronde comes from a relatively small watershed so it's only raftable in the late spring and early summer. Your white water rafting trip begins on the Wallowa River for a fast-paced nine miles before it joins the Grande Ronde River at Rondowa. In June and early July wildflowers are blooming and the air is crisp and pine-scented.

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ROW Inc., doing business as ROW Adventures is proud to be an Equal Opportunity recreation service provider.  ROW Inc. operates under special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service in the Umatilla National Forest.   All our operations and facilities are operated on a non-discriminatory basis.

Dates & Rates

Supplementary Information

5-Day Wilderness Trip
Departures: June 7, 14, 21, 28 and by request
Adult Price: $1485
Youth Price: $1285


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FAQ & More

Why go with ROW on the Grande Ronde River?

Experience & Awards
ROW Adventures is a seven-time National Geographic award-winning company. We haven't only been "operating" since 1979, we've never changed ownership!

Responsible Travel Ethics
We operate following the best in "responsible" or "eco" travel ethics including Leave No Trace camping and many other best practices that are sometimes forgotten about in the world of travel.

Rich Itinerary
Our itinerary is designed to visit many different points of interest, taking advantage of rock art sites, pioneer homesteads, and natural wonders in the river canyon.

Luxury Camping
Our luxury-style camping includes all camping gear such as tents, sleeping bags and thick, self-inflating mattresses. All rafting gear is also included to make things easy for you.

Guides Like No Others
Your trip is enriched by knowledgeable guides who share the canyon's cultural and natural history. No other company trains guides like we do, and most of our guides are also Certified Interpretive Guides through the National Association for Interpretation.

Carefully Orchestrated
Our guides are divided into a "guest crew" and a "kitchen crew." While the kitchen crew prepares dinner, our guest crew is available to spend time with you, lead a hike, show you how to cast a fishing line or simply sit in the shade and visit. This is a fundamental distinction between us and others.

Sharing Our Passion
Guides join you at all meals, sharing conversation and laughter at meal times and around the campfire.

Complimentary beer, wine, juice and soda, all in moderate quantities, is provided. We are proud to serve fine local Northwest wines. We always have plenty of ice!

Your Security First
We carry satellite telephones on all trips - for emergency use only.

Local Support
Our trips support local hotels, on our farewell dinner we eat in a local restaurant, we hire local guides and buy all our trip provisions and food in local communities. This means our trips and the money you pay for them has a significant impact to our local area. Our trips offer an excellent opportunity for our guests to interact with locals, providing a cultural element that allows you to learn more about the American West.

What is riverside camping like?

We call it luxury camping. In order to make your trip run as smoothly and comfortably as possible, we use a large cargo raft to carry camping gear, food and supplies ahead of the main group. This allows our smaller rafts to be lighter and more maneuverable, which makes for a safer ride with more bounce and splash. And the cargo raft arrives at camp early to setup the kitchen and spacious  tents we supply for you. All you have to do is carry your personal gear to the tent of your choice and roll out your sleeping bag, flannel liner and thick, self-inflating foam sleeping pad (all of which is provided by ROW and stored in a ROW-provided waterproof bag). There are no mosquitoes on this stretch of the river and our camps are on flat benches beneath pine trees or on sandy beaches. To give you the opportunity to go hiking, fishing, read a book, etc., we generally arrive in camp no later than 4:00pm. Around 5:30, we serve hors d'oeuvres with dinner following around 7:00pm. (Note: In rare circumstances we may have a trip on the Snake River with less than 13 guests. In this case, we may not run our cargo raft. Our guides are still happy to set up your tent.)

What are typical meals on the river?

The quality of our food reflects the quality of the wilderness environment in the canyon. We hand-select the freshest fruits and vegetables we can find and pack them carefully in huge ice-coolers. Likewise, these coolers carry fresh dairy products and meats. From these ingredients we prepare bountiful, healthy meals. Sustainably harvested wild Alaskan Salmon served with a fresh garden salad; Prime Rib combined with a fresh Chilean salad and Idaho mashed potatoes or made-on-the-river lasagna is a few possible entrees. Big salads of vegetables and fruit add color and variety to every meal. Desserts are made each evening in our Dutch ovens and range from authentic cobbler and pineapple upside-down cake. We serve juice each morning and moderate amounts of bottled wine with dinner. We also provide two beers and two sodas or juices per person per day. There's always plenty of cold water, lemonade mix, tea, coffee and cocoa. You're welcome to bring your own beverages or alcohol as well. We always have plenty of ice to keep your drinks cold.

What type of watercraft do you use?

In addition to the cargo raft that carries all the camping gear, we use three other kinds of river craft. The traditional raft is a 17-foot self-bailing, oar-powered raft which a guide controls with two large oars. We also offer smaller 14-foot self-bailing paddle rafts. Four to six people paddle while a guide steers. On some stretches of river we can add inflatable kayaks, or Inflatable kayaks, to the mix. You have the choice to ride in any of these boats, and many people enjoy trying all three during a trip. On the few trips we operate with less than 13 guests, we may not have enough people to support a paddle raft. (We will still have duckies on smaller trips, if requested.)

Who guides your trips?

On any river trip the guides are the most important factor for your safety, enjoyment and the success of the trip. ROW guides are exceptional people with years of river experience. We maintain a tobacco-free policy and most of our guides have taken interpretation courses from certified instructors. We look for guides who are willing and eager to share, teach, listen, learn, laugh, play, discuss and, above all, work hard to provide a safe, relaxed and spontaneous adventure. While in camp two or three guides are preparing dinner while the others are free to spend time with you. They might give a fly-fishing lesson, lead a hike, or just to sit and visit with the group. Our guides are the main reason many of our guests return to ROW time and time again. (References gladly provided.)

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