Rogue, North Fork, Oregon, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV+ (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||42 fpm|
|No. Rogue Above North Fork Res|
|dream-312||300 - 1500 cfs||IV+||16h50m||525 cfs (running)|
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. In the winter you can drag your
boat down a mile of snow and throw it into the icewater, but just try to get back to the highway
from Woodruff Bridge. The run features a chance to show off before amazed spectators, a chance to
scare your pants off, a probable back-flip, a rugged portage, a collapsed lava tube so narrow I
saw a Stubby get stuck sideways, and a too easy runnable waterfall. This run is too short. Make
sure you are confident where the portage is. If it is not obvious from the description and map
you can walk the nice trail on river left first.
Cross the foot bridge at Natural Bridge Viewpoint, hop the stone wall, hump through the woods and scramble down to put in downstream river right. The class V rapid above has been run but beware of the cave on river left. Boating is not encouraged here so be quick and discrete at the put-in especially if you run the drop above the bridge. Stop and try to surf the little wave, then shoot the first IV- drop. For the next mile or so the rocks are small and your concentration will be on your bow with plenty of fun whitewater. Stop often and look up at the rock formations and colors. When you come to a pool at the top of a IV- drop with a couple of moderate-size boulders it is time to wake up. Go ahead and run this drop.
The next rapid, Karma, is the crux rapid. Karma is a long, nearly blind double drop that continues around a blind left turn and should be scouted for logs. Once you get started you can't be guaranteed a chance to stop until you come out the bottom.
Soon after Karma you come to a horseshoe bend that starts with the river taking a hard bend to the right. Knob Falls or Therapy Falls, at the apex of the horseshoe bend back to the left, is typically portaged. The portage route up over the small hill is visible on river left. The falls has been run but there have also been some close calls here.
In the runout below the gorge there are a couple fun rapids finishing off with a hole in a narrow chute that needs to be punched. At this point the pace slows down considerably.
After a mile or so of flat water you come two collapsed lava tubes. The second should be scouted for logs from the take-out before starting or it can be portaged/run on the left. The narrow slot on the right is more fun though, so scout.
Finally, run the last waterfall on the right side of the island. It is too easy. The left is death in full view of all the fishermen.
Do not drift downstream of the picnic area thinking it will be as easy as it looks. The next reach contains class V Takelma gorge.
Take-out: Go north (on Oregon State Highway 62 East) past Prospect. At Highway 62 mile 51.3 turn left on USFS 68 toward Woodruff Bridge. Go 1.8 miles, cross the bridge and park.
Put-in: Go back to Highway 62. Turn left go three miles to the Natural Bridge Campground turn-off (Highway 62 mile 54.9). Turn left and follow the signs to the Viewpoint (0.7 mile from highway). Before you carry your boat down the asphalt 'trail' and over the foot bridge, walk all around and gawk at the natural bridge.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|