Difficulty IV(V+)
Length 1.3 Miles
Gauge No. Rogue Below North Fork Res
Flow Range 200 - 1000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 14 hours ago 100 [CFS]
Next Release 2020-08-22
Reach Info Last Updated 09/12/2019 11:39 pm

River Description


This is a short but great continuous Class IV creek run. The first 1.3 miles from Mill Creek Falls to North Fork/Prospect powerhouse is nearly continuous whitewater with many class IV drops connected by class II and III whitewater. Below the powerhouse the Rogue eases off to Class III but the powerhouse adds up to an additional 1000 cfs. This Class III section is approximately 2 miles in length but requires a hike out at the end once you reach the reservoir.

Most paddlers will want to take a look at the Avenue of the Giant Boulders from the bridge on Mill Creek Drive before heading to the put-in.  This class V-VI section has been run in parts but is more scenic than paddling material for most.    Upstream from the bridge is 
the Class V+ Prospect Falls that was featured in an Ashland Mine Productions film.

From this scenic viewspot it's 0.4 miles down the road to the Mill Creek and Barr Creek Falls trailhead parking area, from which you hike your boat to the water.  Getting to the put-in is more frightening and strenuous than the river for the experienced creek boater.  When Pacificorp is releasing recreational flows there is a free van shuttle that you sign up for on the clipboard that's on the picnic table at the southeast corner of the of the parking area.  From this spot the hike is all downhill, gentle at first and then ridiculously steep.  Take the most directly downhill trail at each intersection.  The hike is gentle until the trail drops into the basalt gorge, when you shoulder your boat on the right and downclimb a steep trail using handholds on the cliff to your left--or perhaps rope your boat down, as you wish.  When you feel the mist from Mill Creek Falls you are almost there.  You can split to the right (downstream) to reach the regular put-in, or if you are hungry for more action you can carry your boat upstream to run some of the Avenue of the Giant Boulders above Mill Creek Falls (class IV-V or VI if you go too far). 

Once on the water the action kicks in immediately.  From the standard launch (downstream from the rapid at the foot of Mill Creek Falls) there's a class III rapid and then the river disappears over a horizon in a wide boulder garden.  First timers will want to go far left and hit eddies down the left side until they either get out to scout the ledge, or see their line from an eddy.  This is the steepest short section, and there is a friendly pool below it.  

There's about 1/4 mile of class III-IV boogie water down to the next steeper section, which is the longest boulder garden on the run.  At the top there is a large boulder and it appears that the cleanest channel is left of that boulder then back right into the main flow.  The action keeps rolling around a long left bend and toward the bottom of the rapid there are three steep waves immediately before the final ledge which forms a stout hydraulic.  At the lower release flow (250cfs) it is boofable but at the 450cfs flow or more you may want to cut either left or right to go around it.  There is a very short pool below this rapid.

Below this point there are many class IV drops but if you have made it through this first section in one piece you will probably start having a lot of fun.  It is read and run (barring new wood) and there are multiple lines through every rapid.  There are a few sticky holes, lots of boofs and endless eddy turns.  In other words, this is creekin' heaven and if you don't play around in there the 1.3 miles to the powerhouse will go by way too fast.  Many people do multiple laps on the run when the shuttle is operating.

Locating the takeout point is important.  There are actually two powerhouses and you boat past the first one, then take out in a 4-boat eddy on river right just upstream from the second one.  It's a steep climb on riprap up to a flat spot where the free van shuttle awaits.  If, however, it is not an official release weekend there will be no van shuttle waiting and the road is gated so you can't drive in there.  You will have to boat down to some other mysterious takeout and carry your boat up a big hill through private land to exit the gorge.  I'm told this is preferable to paddling the reservoir below.  Apparently few to none paddle this reach when the shuttle isn't operating.

This reach was dewatered by PacifiCorp's Prospect Hydropower Project though adequate flows still occur during rainy season. During the 2008 FERC relicensing American Whitewater negotiated for the few recreational releases we have now and  for real-time flow information, but there appears to be no real-time flow info available on the web in 2019. The PacifiCorp Prospect Whitewater page is out of commission but was supposed to provide current information for scheduled whitewater releases and planned outages (i.e. days when the powerhouse is not operating and the full flow of the river is returned to the natural river channel). The flow in the run is a combination of releases from the Powerhouse and from tributaries, notably Mill Creek.  Negotiated releases are said to be 250cfs and 450cfs, with the lower release occurring one day and the higher one the next.

Logistics: 

To access the run, take Oregon State Highway 62 to Prospect and turn onto Mill Creek Drive that parallels the highway and takes you through the town of Prospect. The turn onto Mill Creek Drive is at Highway 62 mile 38.5 at the south end of town and mile 45.3 at the north end of town.

Mill Creek Drive has mile markers counting up from south to north and the key locations are as follows:

Mile 1.8, Lost Creek Reservoir take-out: This is the take-out where the North Fork and South Fork join together and end at Lost Creek Reservoir. Here a wire fence with a pull-out for a couple cars marks the start of an old road that has turned to trail. The trail leads down to the reservoir. The trail crosses Skookum Creek which is a good waypoint marking the take-out. This take-out crosses a small piece of private property and permission of the landowner is required. American Whitewater has explored solutions to bring this trail into public ownership and volunteers interested in pursuing this project are encouraged to contact us. Another option is to arrange for a pickup or paddle out on the reservoir.

Mile 4.1, Prospect Powerhouse take-out: This is the turn for the road that leads down to the PacifiCorp powerhouse at river level. In the past paddlers were allowed to drive down the road, but the road is now closed to the public. On release weekends PacifiCorp operates a shuttle service that picks up paddlers at the powerhouse and brings them back up to the put-in at Mill Creek Falls.

Mile 5.3, Mill Creek Falls put-in: The Mill Creek and Barr Creek Falls trailhead is a day use area for those viewing this dramatic waterfall that cascades into the North Fork Rogue River. Hardboaters (or adventurous rafters) will need to follow the rough social trail down into the gorge (bring ropes). Rafts may be easier to get to the water still rolled.  Those seeking a stout class V challenge can continue upstream to the "Avenue of the Giant Boulders."

Mile 5.8, Mill Creek Drive bridge: This bridge crosses the North Fork Rogue and offers a dramatic view down into the the Prospect Falls.

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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Teresa Gryder
|
2 months ago

The Pacificorp Prospect Whitewater Page link is out of commission and has been since at least Labor Day weekend this year when I first attempted to access flow information. I am removing all but one references to the link from the description text. Was maintaining this page part of the agreement with AW? Here is the link for future reference. https://www.pacificorp.com/es/hydro/hl/wr/rr/bf.html

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Nick Sinderson
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8 years ago

I managed to get on this run a no. of times last summer during the schedule release. The three times I did, the stick gauge at the put in read between 2.1 and 2.8 a low to medium flow. Perfect for the class 4 boater such as my self. With-in these flow parameters there were lots of eddys and the water did not have much push giving you plenty of time to make the technical moves necessary for this run. I hear as the flow goes up so does the rating, and I can see that. The class 4 section starting below Mill Creek falls to the Powerhouse is essentially a 1.3 mile long class 3 to 4 rapid and tons of fun, all set in a spectacular gorge with 2, 170' tall waterfalls, tall canyon walls and fantastic water color and quality. Even though I live less than an hour from the put-in, I like to camp up above Prospect on the release weekends, That way you maximize your boating time and can get the whole NF Rogue boating experience by adding runs down the Natural Bridge, Takilma Gorge and River Bridge sections as well as a couple of laps down the Mill Creek section. That all adds up to a great summer weekend of boating! Below the powerhouse is a good section of class 3 that reminded me of the upper McCloud...continuous, fairly shallow rocky rapids with good gradient (50fpm) and a couple of nice surf waves on the day I paddled it..The class 3 section goes 24/7/365 but has access problems both at the put-in and the take-out...too bad because I bet it would be fun in the playboat.

Release Schedule

More Information
Date Start Time End Time Flow
08/22/2020 10:00:00 16:00:00 250-450
08/23/2020 10:00:00 16:00:00 250-450
09/06/2020 10:00:00 16:00:00 250-450
09/07/2020 10:00:00 16:00:00 250-450

Gage Descriptions

This gauge is for flows downstream of the powerhouse. PacifiCorp removes about 1000 cfs from the first 1.3 miles of this run upstream of the powerhouse. Realtime flow information for the reach upstream of the powerhouse is now provided on the PacifiCorp Prospect Whitewater page add is updated every hour.

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.

No Accident Reports

Alerts

News

article main photo

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.

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FERC Approves Whitewater Recreation Plan for North Fork Rogue (OR)

7/1/2009
Thomas O'Keefe

Last week FERC approved a whitewater recreation plan for the North Fork Rogue. We are pleased to be working with PacifiCorp who has committed to immediately implementing the plan and providing the whitewater recreational opportunities this summer.

article main photo

FERC completes favorable review of whitewater for North Fork Rogue (OR)

10/18/2006
Thomas O'Keefe

FERC recently released their review of the Prospect Hydroelectric Project on the North Fork Rogue in southwest Oregon. FERC recommend restoring flows to the river for 8 days every summer, public access at the powerhouse, and access to flow information. These provisions would provide a new whitewater gem for the growing whitewater population in southern Oregon.
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Thomas O'Keefe

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john almassy

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Jacob Cruser

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Teresa Gryder

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1195739 08/06/09 Thomas O'Keefe
1195599 07/01/09 Thomas O'Keefe
1195740 08/06/09 Thomas O'Keefe
1197168 01/26/10 Thomas O'Keefe fixed broken PacifiCorp link
1193812 10/11/06 john almassy n/a
1195762 08/12/09 Thomas O'Keefe
1212519 05/31/19 Jacob Cruser updated image position
1212520 05/31/19 Thomas O'Keefe updated description
1209651 05/22/18 Thomas O'Keefe more information on access locations added
1210293 08/28/18 Jacob Cruser flow info
1205756 12/30/15 Thomas O'Keefe minor edits
1213635 09/12/19 Teresa Gryder updated stats
1212522 05/31/19 Thomas O'Keefe updated description
1213636 09/12/19 Teresa Gryder updated description
1213637 09/12/19 Teresa Gryder updated description