Difficulty II-III
Length Miles
Gauge GRANDE RONDE RIVER AT TROY, OR
Flow Range 1000 - 13000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 day ago 842 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 06/04/2019 7:26 pm

River Description


This is a classic multi-day trip in northeastern Oregon popular in late spring and it makes a great trip to share time with friends and family on the river. There are other sections on the Grande Ronde but this one is especially popular because it flows through a remote and forested wilderness canyon designated as a Wild and Scenic River. Just upstream the river flows through agricultural lands and small communities and downstream of the take-out in Troy the river enters a more arid landscape making shade harder to find. The scenery on this run is characterized by basalt terraces and open forests that provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities (photo). Sitings of elk, deer, and even the occassional bear are common. Campsites are available in forested groves along the river (photo). On a weekday you may have the river to yourself but you can expect competition for campsites on the weekends. This 45 mile run takes about 9 hours of float time at medium flows and although you can easily run the river in two days, it is common to take 3 days and enjoy the great riverside camping and hiking opportunities.

The run starts out on the Wallowa River shortly after its confluence with the Minam River at the Highway 82 bridge. A railroad serving a local excursion train runs along river right for the first 10 miles of this run until you reach the Grande Ronde confluence. This first segment down the Wallowa contains good continuous class II along with 3 of the 5 named rapids on the run. The first rapid is the Minam Roller which can be a fun surf spot (photo). The next significant drop is the House Rock Rapids where a large boulder sits midstream with an easy route down the left hand side (photo). A short distance downstream you will come upon Blind Falls Rapid. There is a good route down the center that avoids the blind ledge to river right. More fun class II takes you down to the confluence. Use caution as you navigate through the bridge pilings at the confluence (photo).

As you start your journey down the Grande Ronde you soon enter the Wild and Scenic River corridor and start to see the good camp spots. The gradient tapers off slightly but at medium flows the river continues to move along at a good pace. Sheep Creek Rapid is located a little over a mile downstream of the confluence and is a relatively straightforward boulder garden that you can boat scout (photo). It's just under 10 miles to the final named rapid on this run known as Martin's Misery which is another boulder garden (photo). Some of the best campsites on the run are found in the section downstream of Martin's Misery.

You will likely see the road in the distance as you approach the Powwatka Bridge (photo). There is access right at the bridge on river right or alternatively at a site a short distance downstream on river left. The next 7 miles or so down to Troy are characterized by some human presence with a road along river left and a few homes but it's still a great section and you can play around in Double Eddy, a fun feature along a bedrock wall. As you approach the bridge in Troy, the take-out is on river right (photo). You can walk across the bridge into town for a burger and a milkshake. While many take-out here you can continue your trip down the Grande Ronde downstream of Troy and into Washington where the trees begin to disappear and the river enters a more arid landscape. You can even continue all the way down to the Snake River.

Logistics

The Grande Ronde runs through a remote canyon in northeastern Oregon. The put-in is located at Highway 82 mile 33.5 on the downstream river left side of the bridge across the Wallowa River. This highway starts in La Grande, OR which is the closest significant town. The Minam Store is located at the put-in and provides raft rentals, shuttles, and a limited selection of supplies. Good nearby camping is available at the Minam State Recreation Area which makes a good place to rendevous with your group the evening before your run. To reach this camping area which has designated sites with picnic tables and an outhouse, head 1.6 miles downstream from the put-in on a dirt road that runs along the river left bank of the Wallowa (the turn for this road is reached by heading left away from the store and then taking a right to head in the downstream direction). As an added bonus the Minam Roller provides a fun surf wave for those who want to get in a session the evening before putting on.

The take-out is located at the old bridge in Troy on river right (this bridge is now closed to vehicles but there is a new concrete bridge a short distance downstream). The most convenient option is to arrange for a shuttle at the Minam Store so all your vehicles are waiting at the take-out when you arrive.To get back home your best option is to head downstream and then east over to Highway 3 where you can either continue north or south. Alternate routes are available through the forest roads within the Umatilla National Forest and although some of these routes may look shorter on the map, don't plan on them being any faster. One of these scenic options is Forest Road 62 which heads west out of Troy and offers some great views and choice car camping.

Additional Information

The BLM publishes a river guide to the Grande Ronde which shows key landmarks and campsites (you can probably pick this up at the Minam Store). John Garren's Oregon River Tours also provides a good map to the run.

Rapid Descriptions

Minam Roller

Class - II Mile - -89.9

House Rock Rapids

Class - II Mile - -88.2

Blind Falls

Class - II Mile - -82
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Minam Confluence

Class - N/A Mile - -81.4

Confluence of the Minam River with the Grand Ronde River.

Sheep Creek Rapids

Class - II Mile - -79.5

Martin's Misery

Class - II Mile - -69.5

Comments

Gage Descriptions

The gauge is located at the take-out in Troy. Good medium flows are around 4000 cfs and the prime season is generally from April to July. For rafts, flows of at least 1500 cfs are desireable but smaller boats can get down at lower levels. At flows above 8000 cfs, which can occur at the peak of snowmelt, eddies diminish and some campsites may be unavailable.

Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2004-06-26 n/a Fatality Other Read More

Alerts

   

News

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Oregon Waterway Access Bill Set to Become Law

6/10/2019
Priscilla Macy

This week, Oregon House Bill 2835 re-passed the Oregon House on a 52-7 vote. Having earlier cleared the Senate, the bill now awaits a signature from the Governor to be signed into law. For decades, opportunities to protect and improve the ability of the public to access and legally use waterways for recreation have seen minimal progress, while efforts to severely limit access have been a consistent threat. Oregon House Bill 2835 is a pivotal piece of legislation in Oregon, and the first proactive waterway access bill in recent history to have made it through the state legislature.

article main photo

Western Rivers Announces Plans to Purchase Put-in for Grande Ronde (OR)

10/8/2010
Thomas O'Keefe

This week Western Rivers Conservancy announced plans to purchase the Minam Store, a critical parcel at the confluence of the Minam and Wallowa Rivers that provides access to the Wild and Scenic Grande Ronde River.

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Matt Muir

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Thomas O'Keefe

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1192870 06/20/08 n/a n/a
1195691 07/27/09 Thomas O'Keefe rapid edits
1212656 06/04/19 Thomas O'Keefe updated image position