Rogue - 5. Grave Creek (Galice) to Foster Bar (Agness) (35 miles)

Rogue, Oregon, US


5. Grave Creek (Galice) to Foster Bar (Agness) (35 miles)

Usual Difficulty II-III(IV) (varies with level)
Length 34 Miles
Avg. Gradient 14 fpm

Lower Black Bar Falls

Lower Black Bar Falls
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/05/14 @ 2900 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-14372300 1200 - 30000 cfs IV+ 00h38m 70100 cfs (too high)

River Description

PERMITS: Applications for the annual permit lottery (for launch dates between May 15th and October 15th) are accepted between December 1st and January 31st. You can also pick up unconfirmed launch dates by phone. Most become available ten days in advance of a launch date. Weekend launches in summer can be tough to get, but if you're flexible you can usually get a permit. Off-season permits are available by request. Additional information on permits can be found on the Rogue National Wild and Scenic (NWS) River web site.

SEASON: All year possible. The peak season is May 15th to October 15th and there are wonderful opportunities for winter paddling.
LOGISTICS: The Grave Creek put-in is reached off I-5 exit 61 by heading west towards Galice. Overnight parking and camping are not allowed at the launch site. Camping and an alternative launch site can be found 4 miles upstream at Almeda Bar (campsite reservations for Almeda Bar are possible through Jackson County Parks). The preferred shuttle route is the Bear Camp Road (FR 23) to Foster Bar Landing. The 44 mile drive takes about two hours (one way). This option may be closed due to snow or debris slides. The long route is 193 miles and takes about five hours (one way) on Oregon Highway 199, but this is along paved roads and is open through the winter. The Rogue NWS River web site has shuttle maps and current conditions. Many take advantage of one of the local shuttle services or a Rogue River rafting outfitter.
DESCRIPTION: Trips on the Rogue typically last 3-4 days and you have the unique option of camping or staying at the wilderness lodges spaced along the course of the run. Most of the information you'll need to plan a trip can be found on the BLM's Rogue NWS River web site. They even offer a full floater's guide in pdf format.You can either take a guided trip (some outfitters are geared towards kayakers and provide raft support for those who want to enjoy the river and have someone else worry about all the logistics) or organize your own non-commercial trip. If you're interested in the later, you will need to obtain a float permit.
Although this is one of the nation's original Wild and Scenic Rivers that retains its ancient forests, the river has a long history of human impacts. Upstream dams decimated native salmon and steelhead runs that made this river famous, but recent efforts to remove Savage Rapids Dam, Gold Hill Dam, Gold Ray Dam, and breach Elk Creek Dam are a sign of hope.  On the run itself, extensive blasting during the 1930's and 1940's cleared boulders and "cleaned up" the rapids. Finally, jet boats zip up and down the last few miles of the run. Despite these impacts, the Rogue remains one of the Pacific Northwest's most popular multi-day whitewater trips. Warm water, great pool-drop rapids, and beautiful scenery make this a true classic.
Starting at the Grave Creek Boat Ramp (river mile 68.5, elevation 630') class III whitewater begins immediately with Grave Creek Falls.The first major rapid, Rainie Falls (class V), comes within two miles of the put-in at an obvious horizon line. If you're thinking about running the falls you'll want to get out and scout. The best vantage is on river left and this is also the best side to portage kayaks. A class III alternative is the "fish ladder" which is an artificial channel blasted out along river right. The "mid chute" is a Class IV chute down the middle that offers another option.
The river continues with more class II and III rapids before arriving at Rogue River Ranch. This is a good place to stop and prepare for Mule Creek Canyon at mile 21. This section offers the longest continuous whitewater on the run with good class III+ rapids through a narrow canyon that culminates in the Coffee Pot, an class IV- constriction where surging boils require a strong brace. Soon after leaving this canyon at mile 23 you'll arrive at Blossom Bar (class IV) which is the second major rapid on this run. Scout the drop from river right. Jet boats can travel upstream as far as Blossom Falls so you may encounter them on the remaining 12 miles of the run.
Most take out at Foster Bar Boat Ramp (river mile 33.7) which is 34 miles from the Grave Creek put-in. The river continues 33.7 miles to the Pacific Ocean at Gold Beach, but there are fewer rapids and a road along the river.

Permit Information

Lottery for permits issued during regulated use season of May 15 through October 15.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-11-15 23:03:15


Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.2Grave Creek RiffleIIIPhoto
0.4Grave Creek FallsIIIPhoto
1.8Rainie FallsIV+Photo
2.2China Gulch RapidsII
4.3Tyee RapidIII+Photo
5.1Wildcat RapidsIIIPhoto
5.2Russian RapidsIIPhoto
5.5Montgomery RapidsIIPhoto
6.0Howard Creek ChuteIIPhoto
6.8Slim Pickins RapidIIIPhoto
7.2Washboard RapidsIIPhoto
7.9Windy Creek ChuteII
8.3Upper Blackbar FallsIII+Photo
8.5Lower Blackbar FallsIIIPhoto
9.3Little Windy RiffleII
10.5Horseshoe BendIIIPhoto
11.4Telephone Hole RiffleII
12.1Dulog RiffleII
15.2Kelsey FallsII+Photo
16.5Battle Bar RiffleII
17.4Winkle Bar - Zane Grey CabinN/APhoto
19.7Long Gulch RiffleII
19.9Big Boulder RapidsII
20.2Island RapidsII
20.5Johns RiffleII
20.8Maggies RiffleII
21.2China Bar RapidsIIPhoto
22.9Mule Creek Canyon - NarrowsIII+Photo
23.6Mule Creek Canyon - Coffee PotIVPhoto
24.8Blossom BarIVPhoto
25.2Devils StairsIIIPhoto
28.2Tichenor RiffleII
28.5Solitude RiffleII
30.1Tacoma RapidsIIPhoto
30.6Clay Hill RapidsIIIPhoto
32.5Payton RiffleII
33.3Burnt RapidsII
34.0Watson RiffleII
35.5Foster Bar take outN/ATakeout Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Grave Creek Riffle (Class III, Mile 0.2)

Grave Creek Riffle Shredder run

Grave Creek Riffle Shredder run
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/13/17 @ 5500 cfs

Just downstream of the Grave Creek boat ramp, the main channel flows down the left side of the river. Follow the main current down the tongue.

Grave Creek Falls (Class III, Mile 0.4)

Grave Creek Falls

Grave Creek Falls
Photo of Cyn Taylor by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/24/18 @ 1900 cfs

A vertical drop formed by a ledge. Follow the main tongue left of center to avoid rocks on the right.

Rainie Falls (Class IV+, Mile 1.8)

Rainie Falls

Rainie Falls
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 10/05/06 @ 1450 cfs

A wide bedrock ledge blocks the river creating a 10-12' drop. The main current flows steeply over the left side into powerful reversals (class V). Scattered boulders guard the middle and right side of the river at the top of the rapid, but a route exists through the rocks to a center chute (class IV+). A narrow and shallow fish ladder was blasted into the bedrock on the far river right side which serves as the most common route through the rapid (class III). On busy days, raft traffic can get backed up at the fish ladder. Be sure the route is clear before committing and pay careful attention to oar management to avoid breaking one. At lower flows both the center chute and fish ladder become tight for big rafts.

China Gulch Rapids (Class II, Mile 2.2)

Named for Chinese miners who worked in the canyon, this rapid is a straightforward read and run.

Tyee Rapid (Class III+, Mile 4.3)

Tyee Rapid

Tyee Rapid
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/05/14 @ 2900 cfs

A long and wide gravel bar on the left pushes the river against the right side. The channel curves back to the left, then splits around a large midstream boulder. Take care to avoid the ledge holes that form in this rapid.

Wildcat Rapids (Class III, Mile 5.1)


Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/13/17 @ 5500 cfs

The river splits around a long island and picks up speed. The preferred line is generally down the right but the left line is possible. When the channels converge the river bends to the right through the main part of the rapid.

Russian Rapids (Class II, Mile 5.2)

Russian Rapids

Russian Rapids
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/13/17 @ 5500 cfs

Montgomery Rapids (Class II, Mile 5.5)


Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/13/17 @ 5500 cfs

Howard Creek Chute (Class II, Mile 6.0)

Howard Chute

Howard Chute
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/13/17 @ 5500 cfs

Slim Pickins Rapid (Class III, Mile 6.8)

Slim Pickins

Slim Pickins
Photo of Megi Morishita by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/05/14 @ 2900 cfs

Washboard Rapids (Class II, Mile 7.2)


Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/05/14 @ 2900 cfs

Plowshare (Class II, Mile 7.6)


Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/05/14 @ 2900 cfs

Upper Blackbar Falls (Class III+, Mile 8.3)

Upper Black Bar

Upper Black Bar
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/13/17 @ 5500 cfs

Upper Black Bar Falls is a steep drop into a big curling wave. It can be scouted from the right bank.

Lower Blackbar Falls (Class III, Mile 8.5)

Lower Black Bar Falls

Lower Black Bar Falls
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/05/14 @ 2900 cfs

Lower Black Bar Falls, follows the upper drop after a short distance of calm water. The lower drop is more straightforward down the main tongue to the right of center.

Horseshoe Bend (Class III, Mile 10.5)

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend
Photo of Cyn Taylor and Paul Janda by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/24/18 @ 1900 cfs

The river curves to the right around a large gravel bar, then curves back to the left around a narrow gooseneck of hillside. The current pushes against the cliffs and boulders on the outside of each curve, creating waves and turbulence. Two constrictions create bigger drops.

Kelsey Falls (Class II+, Mile 15.2)

Kelsey Falls

Kelsey Falls
Photo of Paul Janda by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/24/18 @ 1900 cfs

Winkle Bar - Zane Grey Cabin (Class N/A, Mile 17.4)

Zane Grey's Cabin

Zane Grey's Cabin
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 10/06/06 @ 1450 cfs

This area is private property, but river runners are allowed to land and walk up to look at the log cabin. The property was owned in the 1920's by famous western novelist, Zane Grey.

China Bar Rapids (Class II, Mile 21.2)

China Bar

China Bar
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/05/14 @ 2900 cfs

Mule Creek Canyon - Narrows (Class III+, Mile 22.9)


Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/05/14 @ 2900 cfs

The river enters a very narrow and scenic inner canyon. Interesting and challenging hydraulics are created by the current bouncing off the walls in the narrow confines. 

Mule Creek Canyon - Coffee Pot (Class IV, Mile 23.6)

Coffee Pot

Coffee Pot
Photo of Anne Brindle by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/13/17 @ 5500 cfs

The crux move in Mule Creek Canyon is the Coffee Pot where the bedrock walls constrict the flow creating a series of boils and surging eddy lines.

Blossom Bar (Class IV, Mile 24.8)

Blossom Bar, top with Dory

Blossom Bar, top with Dory
Photo by Paul Martzen taken 10/03/09 @ 1300 cfs

Huge boulders block the center and right side at the top of this rapid. The main current flows down the left side, straight into a "picket fence" of boulders and sieves. You can eddy out on river right and scout from a high vantage point above the rapid. The standard move is to enter left and then cut back to the center to avoid the picket fence.

Devils Stairs (Class III, Mile 25.2)

Devil's Stairs

Devil's Stairs
Photo of Anne Brindle by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/05/14 @ 2900 cfs

The Devils Stairs comes up quick at the end of the pool below Blossom Bar. Follow the main tongue as the river bends to the right, taking care to avoid the wall on river right.

Tacoma Rapids (Class II, Mile 30.1)

Tacoma Rapids

Tacoma Rapids
Photo of Mark and Mike by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 10/03/06 @ 1350 cfs

Clay Hill Rapids (Class III, Mile 30.6)

SUP on the Rogue

SUP on the Rogue
Photo of Mark Singleton by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/05/14 @ 2900 cfs

These are the last rapids on any significant size before Foster Bar. Clay Hill Creek comes in on the right before the rapid. The main line is down the right channel. Stay to the left side of this channel on the main tongue. Below this rapid the geology changes from volcanic to sedimentary.

Foster Bar take out (Class N/A, Mile 35.5)

Foster Bar, boat ramp

Foster Bar, boat ramp
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe В© taken 10/03/06 @ 1350 cfs

The take out is on river right just past the mouth of Foster Creek.  Derig on a big, wide and treeless gravel bar.  

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
February 6 2011 (2905 days ago)
Nick SindersonDetails
I'm lucky enough to live in S. Oregon so this run is in my extended backyard and I been down it
around 20 times. Mostly as a spur of the moment mid week grab a couple of cancellation spots, book
a room at the lodge two day kayak trip. If you can plan and act quick this is a great way to go,
esp. for kayakers. I just throw in a pair of shorts, shirt, flip flops, wag bag and a lunch into
the back of the boat and away we go. I've been down on many flow levels, But my favorite levels are
between 3,200 to 4,000cfs on the Agness gauge. Between these parameters; the water moves thru the
pools, the rapids have more push and this is to my mind the best level for playboating, you'll find
some great waves scattered about down below Paradise at these flows. Below 3,000cfs, I'll bring a
longer boat to ease the paddling effort thru the long slow pools. I highly recommend hiking up to
the waterslide on Tate's tons of fun! Blossom is a pretty easy move but don't
underestimate it and get yourself in a class 4 frame of mind when running it .
September 30 2009 (3399 days ago)
x (1)
At 1500cfs The Fishladder sneak (Rainey Falls) is a boney but easy III. Big rafts will get stuck a
lot, you can still line dories easily. Tyee is an easy III (not a IV), and Blossom is a III+ with a
must make move to avoid the Picket Fence. We did it in 3 days, I would highly recommend 5 days
unless you like to row flatwater a whole lot.
September 19 2008 (3775 days ago)
x (1)
Rainie can be run one of three ways. There are class III, IV, and V options.
January 6 2007 (4397 days ago)
andy heldDetails
The header info for this reach says Class II-III. The text describes Rainie as a V and Blossom Bar
as a IV. I think Blossom is a III+ and Rainie is a IV+. Either way, the header info (II-III) is
incorrect. -ah

Wild and Scenic 50th logo

In 2018 we celebrate this Wild and Scenic River and work to protect more rivers as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of Wild and Scenic Rivers. Learn More.


Associated Projects

  • Conservation System
    The National Landscape Conservation System represents the crown jewels of BLM lands and rivers.
  • Kalmiopsis Rivers (OR/CA)
    American Whitewater is working to protect the wild rivers of Southwestern Oregon and Northern California from the threats of nickel strip mines.
  • Restoring the Rogue (OR)
    One of the great Rivers of the West, preserving the the Wild Rogue and restoring upstream reaches impacted by dams are priorities for American Whitewater.