Wild and Scenic Rogue River Family Adventure, Oregon

Sierra Club Outings Trip # 13218A, Raft

Highlights

  • Experience fun rafting, kayaking, and swimming on the remote, pristine Rogue River
  • Enjoy conservation games and education at evening camp
  • Eat kid-friendly gourmet meals prepared by our experienced guides

Includes

  • Rafts, inflatable kayaks, paddles, and safety equipment
  • Van and raft transportation
  • All meals on the river

Details

DatesJul 28–31, 2013
Price$895 (Adult)
$795 (Child)
Deposit$100
Capacity20
Min. Age7
StaffRaylene Collins

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Trip Overview

The Trip

Combining beautiful scenery, exciting whitewater, wildlife, and sunny Oregon weather, this float on one of the West's finest rivers is suitable for river novices and children age seven and older.

The Rogue River flows through the forested Siskiyou Mountains of southwestern Oregon to the Pacific Ocean. Our trip takes place along the 40-mile, federally designated Wild and Scenic section, which is home to black bears, river otters, deer, osprey, blue herons, and bald eagles. We'll stop to visit fern grottos, splash in waterfalls, and play on sandy beaches.

Have you wanted to share an unhurried vacation with your children without television, video games, or long lines? Are you and your children curious about the natural world and the Pacific Northwest? If so, this may be the trip for you.

Itinerary

Our trip will begin in Grants Pass, Oregon. On the evening before the trip begins, there will be a mandatory orientation meeting with your trip leader. At this meeting, you will receive your waterproof bag, learn how to pack it, review the first day's itinerary, and get answers to any questions you may have.

The leader will send specific information regarding the time and location of the meeting to registered trip participants.

Day 1: On the first day, we'll gather at a meeting point and travel by van a few miles downriver to our put-in. We will board oar-powered rafts that are guided by knowledgeable and skilled boatmen. For the more adventurous, a paddle raft and inflatable kayaks will also be available.

We will run Upper and Lower Graves Creek Rapids on our first day and "scout" Rainie Falls -- a rapid so big that we must go around rather than through it. Later in the afternoon, we will camp along the river's edge, playing or just relaxing while the river guides prepare our dinner.

Day 2: Following a hearty breakfast in the morning, we will break camp and re-board our rafts. We will run the rapids of Tyee, Wildcat, and Upper and Lower Black Bar Falls. By now, many of you will be asking to try the inflatable kayaks. We'll eat lunch in a pretty spot along the river (not hard to find around here!), and continue our floating exploration of this wonderful wilderness area. As our second river day ends, the routine of setting up camp and preparing for dinner will be familiar. After dark, the Milky Way shines brightly, and it is easy to fall asleep to the sounds of the river rushing by.

Day 3: Today's highlights will include a short hike to the historic Rogue River Ranch and an exciting run through the deep and narrow Mule Creek Canyon section of the river. We will also scout and run Blossom Bar rapid and, later, enjoy dinner, evening conversations, and our final night of camping along the Rogue.

Day 4: Our last day will keep us on the lookout for the bald eagles that inhabit this section of the river canyon. After lunch, we'll continue on to the take-out at Foster Bar, where we can help de-rig the rafts. We normally arrive back at Grants Pass around 6 p.m. after a scenic two-hour shuttle ride. To ease the transition from life along the river, you are invited to a no-host farewell dinner in Grants Pass.

Photos

Details

Getting There

Our trip begins and ends in Grants Pass, Oregon. If you are driving, Grants Pass is bisected by Interstate 5. A quick check at a site such as Mapquest can give you exact driving directions and estimated time. The closest regional airport to Grants Pass is in Medford, 30 miles away. It is served by Horizon, United, United Express, and Delta Connection. The leader can assist you in finding air and ground transportation. 

Accommodations and Food

All meals, from lunch on the first day through lunch on the last day, will be provided. Plan to eat breakfast and bring a snack before you arrive at the meeting spot on the first day. Please indicate any dietary issues for each member of your family on the personal questionnaire; it is usually possible to accommodate special dietary requests, but the leaders need to know in advance. The farewell dinner in Grants Pass is not included in the trip price.

Beverages will include water, juice, cocoa, tea, and coffee. You may wish to bring your own sodas or other favorite beverages in plastic bottles, cans, or wine boxes. No glass is allowed on the river and no drinking is allowed outside of camp. This is for your safety and the safety and enjoyment of others.

You need to bring your own tent, sleeping bags, and pads, although these may be rented. On the night before and the night after the trip, you'll need to provide your own accommodations at a hotel or campground in Grants Pass. The leader will provide a list of potential places to stay.

Trip Difficulty

The minimum age on this trip is seven years-old. It is a great trip for first-time river runners and for experienced paddlers alike. The Rogue River has some very fine rapids to keep the trip interesting and everyone alert, but you should not be intimidated if you've never done a rafting trip before.

You are expected to assist in loading and unloading dry bags and other equipment on and off the rafts, and in carrying equipment to and from the campsites. We will work with parents and children to optimize the wilderness camping experience, but each family must be able to take care of its needs and attend to its own campsite. The pace of the trip will be leisurely, allowing plenty of time for swimming, hiking, bird watching, taking photos, and exploring. Daytime temperatures are usually between 65-95 degrees, with low humidity. Nighttime lows are typically in the 50s-60s. Rain is possible, though late summer is typically dry. Our day-to-day itinerary on the river is flexible and will depend on water levels, weather conditions, and the inclinations of participants.

Water safety is a priority. Lifejackets will be provided for everyone, in both adult and children's sizes. A parent or guardian must accompany children on the trip. Parents and guardians will be primarily responsible for looking after the safety of their children, especially when on rafts or near the river.

Equipment and Clothing

Lifejackets and waterproof river bags will be provided. Registered participants will receive a detailed packing list for the trip. You'll need to have a free-standing, backpack-type tent with a removable rainfly, as well as a sleeping bag and pad. You'll also need both cool-weather gear and raingear (just in case!). Tents and sleeping gear are available for rent.

References

An overview of this area's natural and human history will enhance your experience. The following sources are recommended:

  • Atwood, Kay, Illahe: The Story of Settlement in the Rogue River Canyon.
  • Arman, Florence and Glen Wooldridge, The Rogue: A River to Run.
  • Beckham, Stephen Dow, Requiem for a People: The Rogue Indians and the Frontiersmen.
  • Leidecker, Matt, The Rogue River - A Comprehensive Guide.
  • Quinn, James M., J. W. King, and J.G. King, Handbook to the Rogue River Canyon.

Conservation

This trip takes place on one of the first rivers to receive the federal designation of Wild and Scenic. We'll take time on the river to discuss the importance of this designation and the challenges we face in protecting this important part of our natural heritage. We may also discuss issues such as the proposed wilderness designation for the Klamath-Siskiyou Forest, the role of fire in the ecosystem, dam removal, and the protection of coastal fisheries -- all at a level the entire family can appreciate.

Staff

Leader:

Raylene (Ray) Collins is an experienced leader with 7 years leading family rafting trips with her teen daughter for the Sierra Club. Her passion is providing conservation education for kids on Sierra Club Outings so that, in addition to great fun on the river, kids go home with a better understanding of our limited natural resources, and how they can make a difference.

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