Rogue, North Fork - 1. Natural Bridge to Woodruff Bridge

Rogue, North Fork, Oregon, US


1. Natural Bridge to Woodruff Bridge

Usual Difficulty IV+ (for normal flows)
Length 3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 42 fpm

Gorge below Knob Falls

Gorge below Knob Falls
Photo of Jennie Goldberg by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 08/19/11 @ 500 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
No. Rogue Above North Fork Res
dream-312 300 - 1500 cfs IV+ 30h53m 3400 cfs (too high)

River Description

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.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-08-22 20:39:49


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-182.9Knob FallsVPlayspot Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Knob Falls (Class V, Mile -182.9)

Knob Falls

Knob Falls
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 08/19/11 @ 500 cfs

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
October 11 2011 (2659 days ago)
Nick SindersonDetails
I'm going to take exception to the new 4+ rating you guys give this run and Karma. Most locals
consider the Mill Ck. section below the Mill Ck. falls and Takilma gorge 4+ and with this run
considerably easier and less dangerous, it should be rated class 4. No doubt at flows over a
1,000cfs Karma gets some push and probably deserves it's 4+ rating given in the rapids section, I
would go even a little further and say over 1,500cfs Karma might be low class 5 (at least it looks
like class 5 as I walk it at that flow). But most of the boating done on this section (I'd bet over
90%) are at summer flows of 400 to 800cfs and a class 4 or 4- rating for both karma and the run in
general are more in line with it's difficulty at those flows. As for the run; sure you can make it
class 5 by running the put-in rapid and Knob falls, but in the 100 or so times I've been down this
run, I've seen the put-in rapid run around 20 times (and usually by the same people) and Knob Falls
never. The point being; this is a class 4 run with an optional class 5 and a portage in my book.
September 6 2011 (2694 days ago)
Nick SindersonDetails
A couple of large logs (5' in diameter) now block the main line in the first part of Karma. So make
sure you scout on your way down either before the lead-in on the ledge river right or from the eddy
river left at the top of Karma. If you choose to portage after your scout run down to the eddy
river left and work down that side over some logs to reach a small eddy before the last part of the
drop. Two sneaks do exist one far right and the other far left, both should be obvious from a
scout. I prefer the left sneak.
September 6 2011 (2694 days ago)
Nick SindersonDetails
This run and the two below (Takilma & River Bridge) are summer and fall Rogue Valley staples. In
the 9 years I've been boating on this stretch I have never seen it too low to boat. Both Dreamflows
and Pat Welch post daily estimates online. The two estimates do vary a bit from each other but the
difference is consistent so both work. I'd say below 800cfs the run is easier (solid class 3
boaters should be OK 800 on down) as Karma becomes less pushy and the two holes on the right mid
way down disappear. The best way to scout Karma is to stop in the eddy on the right above the 3+/4-
rapid leading into it. Eddy out right then climb the right wall and walk to the overlook about 150'
downstream for the birds eye view. Even then you'll only see 2/3 of the rapid as the last 8'
sloping ledge is out of sight as the river curves to the left. To spot this large eddy; it's on the
right before the river will make a 60 degree turn to the left, narrowing down between large
boulders with a horizon line just past the boulders. Trust me you'll know when you see it. As of
2011 it is now really easy to spot the eddy as a 1' to 2' diameter log now spans the river just
below the eddy as you head into the drop above Karma. Don't count on this log being there next year
though. After Karma the river mellows out until Knob Falls, I go up and over (more work but faster)
but most of my buddies opt for the seal launch below the falls. I would go up and over unless
you're with somebody who knows where to get out above the falls. This run even though upstream is
better at low flows than River Bridge as the channel is more narrow and the water deeper. Oregon
Kayaking, Jefferson State Creeking and Dreamflows all have write-ups with pictures of this run

Associated Projects

  • North Fork Rogue (OR)
    We worked to restore flows, provide public access, and made flow information available to provide boating opportunities on this river.