This is a popular local run for paddlers in the communities of Ashland, Medford, and Grants Pass that is accessible through the summer.
Starting from the former Gold Ray Dam site, a dam that wave removed in 2010, the run is fairly mellow with a good bit of flatwater for the first couple miles. You can expect to see a diversity of bird life along this section.
Within a couple miles the action begins to pick up with some fun class II rapids that offer good surfing. You will then pass an alternate access point on river right. For a quick run that takes in the best whitewater, paddlers often run the last two miles that start here.
The action begins to pick up as your run the Broken Weir. An old concrete weir is still intact on river left and concentrates the flow into a gap on river right that forms a great little play feature. Nugget Falls is just downstream. The channel down the left is a fun ride. At the base of this rapid you will pass another access site on river right.
The run continues with a float down to the former site of the City of Gold Hill's diversion weir. This dam was removed in summer 2008 and a new water intake has been constructed on river right.
Immediately downstream the river takes the plunge over Ti’lomikh Falls (aka Powerhouse Rapid). There are several options here including an easier route down the right, a center line through the big hole, or a great boof move down the river left channel.
Within a few more paddlestrokes you will come to the take-out and boat ramp at Gold Rogue Sports Park on river right. For a longer trip, you can continue downstream to the next run.
Logistics: The put-in at the former Gold Ray Dam site is located at river mile 125.9, elevation 1122' (at the base). From I-5 exit 35 take Blackwell Road 1.5 miles northwest to Gold Ray Road (just after you cross the railroad tracks). Take Gold Ray road 1.4 miles to the former Gold Ray Dam site. Access is available at a number of sites along river.
The take-out at Gold Hill Boat Ramp is located at river mile 120.2, elevation 1056' accessible from I-5 exit 40. Cross the Rogue River and enter the town of Gold Hill. Take Highway 234 north out of town. The boat ramp is located less than half a mile out of town on river right at Gold Rogue Sports Park at Highway 234 mile 3.0.
Alternate intermediate access for the last part of the run is available by continuing upstream on river right on Highway 234.
No more dam but there is a rapid at the site.
A fun rapid with a couple of playspots.
You will find a fun surf wave or two in this rapid.
This access provides a put-in for the biggest drops on the run with a short shuttle on river right.
An old weir diverts flow to river right where a fun play spot forms.
A great drop. Follow the tongue down the left side, skirt the holes or punch them for a fun ride.
The diversion weir is now gone and there are a few riffles where it was.
The biggest drop on the run, also known as Powerhouse Falls. A popular line is down the center through the hole. You can also do the boof line to the left. Alternatively there is a bit of a sneak down the right. This rapid is hard to scout as the channel divides giving you a few different options and vegetation obscures the view.
both Gold Ray dam and Gold Hill dam have been removed. There is a lot of wood (large trees) above the old Gold Ray dam site that over the next year or two will no doubt find it's way downriver so keep a watchful eye out especially in Muggers Alley (the right side sneak) and the left side boof at Powerhouse
Comments of American Whitewater on the Department of State Lands Navigability Study.
Support letter for removal of Gold Ray Dam.
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Gold Ray Dam site
Gold Hill Dam
Ti’lomikh Falls, Boof Line
Powerhouse Rapid, Center Chute
Gold Hill Dam, Powerhouse Rapids
Broken Weir, top
Put-in Below Gold Ray Dam
Gold Ray Dam
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Jackson County Parks and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife are leading a planning effort to develop a recreation management plan for a thirteen mile stretch of the Rogue River that includes the former sites of the Gold Ray and Gold Hill Dams. The goal of the planning project is to identify appropriate public access points along the Rogue River following dam removal and develop a strategy to proactively manage changing and increasing recreational use patterns, while maintaining the integrity of the natural resources in the area and minimizing potential conflicts.
The Oregon Department of State Lands has recently released a Rogue River Navigability Report concluding that the 89 mile stretch of the Rogue River from Lost Creek Dam to Grave Creek meets the federal test for navigability. The paddling community can support this finding by attending a public meeting (3/19) or providing public comment (by 3/26) to the State Land Board.
Oregon's Department of State Land issued a final ruling and determined that the Rogue River from RM 68.5 to 157.5 (Grave Creek to Lost Creek Dam) is indeed navigable. The finding confirms that the state is the owner of the river bed, and the public has the right to use the river.
Gold Ray Dam on Oregon's Rogue River has not generated power in almost 40 years, is a serious impediment to endangered salmon migration, blocks paddlers exploring the Rogue, and has become a financial burden for its owners. Comments in support of a proposal to remove the dam are now needed.
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