This run is best in the summer when all else is too low. The spring-fed water is cold and clear all year long most years and the run is more fun at low water. The fun consists of riverwide ledge drops, bedrock rapids and bolder gardens. Not fun consists of a one mile flat paddle to the take-out.
The first drop is a riverwide ledge with a notch on the right. It is usual to run the notch. Endos may be had here. When you're done, look back. If you could have run the ledge, the water is high. If the water is high, the second ledge (a quarter mile farther) is sticky and its a good idea to find the sneak on the left. With this one exception, all rapids on this run are easier to run, sneak, or portage on the right.
After the first cabin, the river slows down and just before the head of the reservoir is a last big drop. It consists of a gravel slide on the right of the island and nice class IV on the left. At medium water a nice play wave forms at the top left side of the island. Just below this wave is a full river sweeper which can be easily boofed even at low flows. Because the log is under water it is not easy to see. Do not try to boof this log while upside down or swimming.
To reach the take-out, take Oregon State Highway 62 to Prospect. At Highway 62 mile 45.2 take the 0.4 mile spur road to North Fork Park, a public day-use area on the reservoir maintained by PacifiCorp as a requirement of their hydropower license.
To reach the put-in, head north on Oregon State Highway 62 and at mile 49.1 turn left on USFS 6210 toward River Bridge Campground. Head 0.9 mile to the river and put in at the bridge.
this is a beautiful class 3 to 3+ run with giant firs, cold clear water and depending on how you count and the flow: 6-10 class 3 rapids. When flows increase to 1,300cfs and above there are some 3+ to 4-rapids/lines in there for sure. Contrary to the text I prefer this run with over 1,200 cfs but it's still good fun down to 400cfs though the Natural Bridge run a short ways upstream channelizes better during low flows, has more rapids and is just a small step up in difficulty. The reason I like over 1,200cfs better is the rocks get covered and waves are formed. There are quite a few good waves on this run if you look for them. Over the last few years this run has collected lots of wood, including many large Douglas Firs. If this is your first time down take your time, be safe and scout downstream what you can't see to make sure your line doesn't have a tree lodge in it. Also If your flow is over a 1,000 cfs watch out for the hole on the left side of the ledge that's on a bend to the left in the first mile, It can get sticky. Summer 2011 update: many of the large Douglas Firs have washed downstream, a few remain at this time but none are of consequence...presently!
There is no gauge for this reach. The water level is good all year long.
Permits are not required for this reach.
To get to the take-out: Go north on Oregon State Highway 62 East [sic] past Prospect. At Highway 62 mile 45.1 (i.e. just past MP 45) cross a canal, turn left at the small sign for North Fork Recreation Area and go along the canal 0.4 mile on the gravel road to North Fork Park. To get to the put-in: Go back to Highway 62. Turn left and go four miles to the River Bridge Campground turn-off (Highway 62 mile 49.1). Turn left on USFS 6210 and go 0.9 mile down a gravel road to the bridge. Park downstream on river left and put in 'under' the bridge.
Paddling out on the reservoir
Paddling North Fork Rogue
Shredder on the NF Rogue
River Bridge Access
First Ledge Below River Bridge
Pick a Spot
Fat Lady Singing
North Fork Parking Lot
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