| THE ROGUE
RIVER IN SOUTHERN OREGON
Rogue River Rafting, White Water Rafting, River Trips,
Fishing Trips, Whitewater Recreation Camp Trips In
Oregon. Welcome to the wild and scenic Rogue River! This
legendary river has long been a secret paradise for game
fishermen and now you are invited to enjoy its long and
entertaining history, filled with tales of gold, Indians
and modern-day moviemaking.
popularity is steadily growing as more and more visitors
to Southern Oregon view the spectacular rapids and
falls, and drink in the calm serenity of the still
waters. Beautiful old-growth pines and twisted madrone
grace the banks and deer graze in pastures bordering the
Osprey fish for Chinook salmon while
blue heron skim majestically along the sparkling waters.
The Rogue River is the embodiment of the Oregon dream
lifestyle, a relaxing haven away from the strife of
modern city life.
The Rogue's headwaters start at
Crater Lake and twist and roar for 215 miles through the
Cascade, Siskiyou and Coastal Ranges before spilling
into the Pacific at Gold Beach. Numerous small towns dot
its journey west, most notably the city of Rogue River,
which took its name from the river itself. As the river
leaves the Cascade range it winds its way through the
Rogue valley. Gracious river homes line the banks where
lucky residents live amongst the natural splendor.
the relative calm of the valley the river takes a
dramatic turn as it enters the coastal range at Hellgate
Canyon. From Hellgate for the next 60 miles the Rogue
takes a wild and scenic trip through the coastal range
towards its final destination: the Pacific Ocean.
A brief history.
The first settlers to come
into the region were without exception trappers and
traders seeking valuable animal pelts. Long before the
arrival of white trappers, however, there were several
thousand native peoples who lived along the banks. As a
matter of fact, the Rogue got its name from the Indians.
'The River of the Rogues,"
Two developments triggered
the flood of white settlement: the Donation Land Act,
which gave 640 acres to each settling couple, and the
discovery of gold along the banks of the Rogue late in
1851. Thousands of miners flooded the area in search of
this precious metal.
Today gold-panning is a favorite
occupation of many visitors as each year gold is washed
down from the mountains in the streams and lodges in
gravel and between boulders. In its heyday, over $70
million was taken from the Rogue in gold; $5 million
alone from Tyee Rapids by a group of Chinese miners.
Gradually, however, the gold dwindled. Since the rugged
character of the Rogue prevented it from becoming a
highway of commerce and most of the valuable pelts had
been trapped out, agriculture became the major industry
for the Rogue Valley. Although commercial salmon fishing
was once popular, it was outlawed in 1962 when state
legislation banned the use of gill-nets. Game fishing
remains the major fishing industry today.
1930's the Rogue enjoyed a surge of Hollywood glitter as
it became the watchword in fishing for such luminaries
as Clark Gable, Ginger Rogers, Zane Grey and Herbert
Hoover. Clark Gable was overheard to say at a
star-studded Hollywood dinner "Well, I'd rather be
eating flapjacks at the Weasku Inn," an historic inn
located by the Savage Rapids Dam. Rooster Cogburn with
John Wayne was filmed in Hellgate Canyon. Nowadays
movies are produced by the score using the dramatic
backdrop of the Rogue River, and many big Hollywood
names such as Ginger Rogers and Kirstie Alley make the
Rogue Valley their home away from home.
The Rogue is one of eight
rivers in the United States designated as wild and
scenic. Its beauty will always be protected for our
visitors. It remains a bird and wildlife watchers
delight. Flying overhead one can find snowy egret, blue
heron, osprey Canadian geese great horned owls, grouse,
partridge, pheasant, quail and the majestic bald eagle.
Along its banks graze deer and elk, and one can always
catch sight of an occasional river otter or beaver. In
the canyon area are found bear, mink, muskrat, fox,
mountain lion and bobcat. And of course, there are the
Although there are two major runs
for the salmon and steelhead there are fish in the Rogue
all year round. You can catch Chinook and Coho salmon,
steelhead, brown trout, cutthroat, golden trout, catfish
and in the lower part of the river there are still
sturgeon. The Chinook and steelhead run in the fall and
spring to spawn upriver, and there is also a Coho run in
the fall. The nest spots for steelhead are from Battle
Bar to Johns Rapids and there's also a great salmon hole
just below Rainey Falls - you can hike there from Graves
Creek. The fall Chinook fishery in recent years has been
the healthiest since fish counts were first logged; in
1989 a 60 pound salmon was recorded and in 1990 a 45
pounder was caught outside of Grants Pass. And just to
show you how serious they take their fishing on the
Rogue, one of the earliest bridges built, Ament Dam, was
unpopular with the fishermen because they claimed the
fish ladder was inadequate to allow spawning salmon
upriver. When nothing was done the irate fishermen
attempted to dynamite the dam in 1912! Today all the
fish ladders are deemed adequate.
There are many
other activities on the Rogue besides fishing. Rafting
remains a favorite hobby since native Rogue Riverian
Glen Woolridge blasted a channel from Hellgate Canyon to
Marial to allow boat passage. The stretch of river
between Gold Hill to Rogue River is an easy and safe
float, while experienced rafters will want to try the
advanced rapids below Graves Creek. There are also many
guide trips available for the novice who wants to
experience the thrill of advanced white water rafting.
The Rogue River is accessible without a launching fee at
a number of locations from Gold Hill to Graves Creek.
Water-skiing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and
jet-skiing can all be enjoyed on the river, especially
at the lake portion just below the city of Rogue River.
Jet boat excursions remain a favorite of visitors; the
shallow draft and powerful engines propel the boats as
fast upstream as they move downriver, in excess of 50
For those who prefer out-of-water activities
there are numerous parks and trails. Rogue River Hiking
Trail leads you through the wild region of the Rogue on
the north bank, from Graves Creek to Marial. Between
June 1st and September 15 the wild and scenic section of
the river is controlled by a permit section; only permit
holders are allowed to use the river to limit the amount
of people through it per day. Permits can be obtained
through guide services. There are also numerous parks to
enjoy; Gold Rogue Sports Park, Ben Hur Lampman State
Park, Rogue State Park.. all have great picnic sites,
tent sites, trailer sites and of course, great fishing
All Oregon State Park campgrounds are open from
mid-April to late October and more campground
information is available from Oregon State Park Campsite
Information Center at 1-800-452-5687.
Be sure not
to miss our Boatnik Festival, held in Grants Pass over
the Memorial weekend with parades, rafting, and other
contests! And in September, a sight not to forget. The
Great Bath Tub Race, held from Gold Hill to Rogue River.
It's a wild and wooly race with winner take all in prize
We hope you enjoyed our brief history and
we're looking forward to when you come up and experience
the river life for yourself.
Visit: Our Local
White Water Rafting Companies
HISTORIC ROGUE RIVER LOOP
Area attractions, resorts,
and activities along the Rogue River Loop!
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