Rogue, Oregon, US
4. Grants Pass to Grave Creek (options up to 33.4 miles)
||II (for normal flows)
Argo RapidPhoto of Aki O'Keefe by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/19/15 @ 1500 cfs
to Hog Creek
This 19 mile stretch begins in Grants Pass, where the river flows through town. This section is
more open and a less scenic as it passes by riverside development and agricultural land for the
first few miles. Jet boat tours that run down to Hellgate Canyon run their trips through this
Hog Creek to Graves Creek
This 14.5 mile section of the Rogue offers great options for a day trip with some fun rapids,
nice beaches, rock ledges for jumping into the river, and even a riverside restaurant where you
can grab a cold drink or a full meal. With several nice river camps along the way, you could
enjoy a fun overnight trip on this stretch or add it as an extra day for multi-day trips
continuing downstream. This segment is also an exceptional instructional reach. With warm water,
consistent flows through the summer, and plenty of good features to practice on there is hardly a
better place to learn to kayak in the entire Pacific Northwest.
This section begins at the Hog Creek Boat Ramp which can be a bustle of activity on summer
weekends with guided trips, experienced paddlers, young people of questionable experience out on
a party float, and the occasional fleet of jet boats bringing tourists down for a look at
The current is swift at the put-in as the river heads into Hog Creek Rapid, an easy riffle just
before the entrance to Hellgate Canyon. The walls rise up dramatically before you as you enter
Hellgate Canyon and if it looks familiar, you may recognize it as the site of the jump scene from
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The canyon is short so take time to enjoy it. You will find
some ledges that are good fun for jumping into the river. For many years the canyon was
considered as a dam site but the river is now fully protected from hydropower development under
the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Leaving the canyon, you will arrive at class II+ Dunn Rapid where the river goes through a series
of waves and small holes making it one of the more challenging rapids on this stretch. More fun
but easy class II whitewater continues on down to the Hellgate Bridge.
As you pass Indian Mary, you will encounter an easy class II rapid and a short distance
downstream you will enter the Taylor Creek Gorge. While not as dramatic as Hellgate Canyon, the
bedrock walls that rise up from either side of the river offer more fun platforms for leaping
into the river.
Morrison's Lodge is tucked into the cove on river left at the downstream end of the gorge. An
easy rapid forms the exit from this wide spot in the river but then the river enters a mile and a
half long stretch of flatwater that feels longer particularly during hot summer days when flows
are lower. It's one of the few sections on this run where you really do need to paddle to
The flatwater finally ends at Ennis Riffle which is an easy class II rapid, but then you start
another mile of flatwater. The action finally picks up as you enter the rapid at Carpenter Island
which is class II. Coming up in quick succession is Upper Galice which is a class II+ bedrock
channel that can be one of the more technical drops on the run. Lower Galice is another class II+
that is just downstream.
After running this sequence of whitewater, you arrive at Galice Resort. A public boat ramp is
available on river left and you can also pull out here (be sure your boats are out of the way)
and head up for drinks or a meal out on the deck overlooking the river.
For the next few miles, the rapids of Rocky Riffle, Chair Riffle, and Island Riffle are all easy
class II- with stretches of flatwater in between. You will pass the rough boat ramp at Rand and
then the nice concrete ramp at Almeda as you boat through this stretch.
Just downstream of Almeda Park, a popular campground used for staging and launching overnight
trips, the river the river passes by the Almeda Mine on river right. The mine is evident by the
colorful mineralization of the nearby soils, and it is actively discharging acid mine drainage
into the Rogue River. The river passes through an easy class II rapid at the mine site. Bailey is
another easy rapid about half a mile downstream.
As you enter a short canyon with steep rock walls you will pass by one of the more popular sites
for jumping off the rocks into the Rogue River. A couple of platforms on river right provide the
launch point for aerial displays as boaters leap into the river below. It constitutes a required
stop for nearly all trips who boat this section.
Just downstream lies Argo Rapid, considered by many to be the most difficult one on this section.
At high flows the hole at the base can flip rafts but at more moderate flows you will likely have
less trouble as long as you don't get hung up on the rocks. The Argo launch site is
immediately downstream of this rapid.
The last real rapid on this section is Wooldridge Rapid which you will recognize as the Grave
Creek Bridge comes into view. The take-out is located just downstream of the bridge on river
right. Permits are required for overnight trips that continue on downstream.
Baker Park Boat Ramp in Grants Pass (river mile
This access is on river left downstream of the
Highway 199 Bridge in Grants Pass.
Grave Creek Road mile 4.8, Hog Creek (river mile 83.0)
This is a primary launch point for day trips on the Rogue River and on hot summer weekends this
site can be quite a scene. It is just upstream of the scenic Hellgate Canyon. The launch area has
two boat ramps at river level and short-term parking for staging. Once you are done rigging, run
your car up to the upper parking lot.
Grave Creek Road mile 5.5 Hellgate Overlook
This is a pull-out and overlook high above the river that gives you an overview of Hellgate
Canyon. No river access is available from this site.
Grave Creek Road mile 6.2 Hellgate Bridge
Where the Galice Road crosses the Rogue River at Hellgate Bridge, there are pull-outs upstream
river right and downstream river left and right of the bridge. You will not find formal access
for boaters, but the area is popular for day use during the summer as there are several small
beaches and some good rocks for jumping into the river.
Grave Creek Road mile 7.0 Indian Mary Park
This is a Josephine County Park that has a boat ramp and is a bit more manicured than other
camping areas along the river. It is popular with the RV crowd and the sites are packed in tight.
Grave Creek Road mile 7.7 Rainbow
Rainbow is a day-use area with no formal access for boaters but you can hike down a short
trail to a great band of cliffs along the river, Taylor Creek Gorge, that make a popular stop for
river trips where you can leap into the river.
Grave Creek Road mile 8.4 Morrison's Lodge
Morrison's is one of the private lodges along the river for those looking for the highest
level of comfort for their overnight stay.
Grave Creek Road mile 8.5 USFS road turns off for Briggs Valley
Grave Creek Road mile 9.8 Ennis Riffle
The Ennis Riffle recreation site has a boat ramp and is managed by the BLM as a dispersed
recreation site where overnight camping is allowed. There are toilet facilities but no drinking
water available. Several simple riverside camps are dispersed along an approximately half mile
stretch of river. If you are coming in late at night, you can almost always find a spot to throw
down a tent here.
Grave Creek Road mile 10.8 Carpenter's Island
Carpenter's Island is a day-use area with no formal access for boaters but you can hike down
a short trail to the river.
Grave Creek Road mile 11.3 Bear Camp Road
The Bear Camp Road is the shortest shuttle route to the coast and the take-out for the multi-day
wilderness stretch of the Wild and Scenic Rogue.
Grave Creek Road mile 11.5 Galice Boat Ramp and Galice Resort
The Galice Resort is a great place to get a burger or ice cream. The outdoor patio is wonderful
in the summer and you can catch live music on weekends. The store has a few basic odds and ends:
sunscreen, maps, and cold drinks. Simple cabins are available for rent. The boat ramp is the
standard take-out for those renting rafts from the Galice Resort so things can get a little
crowded during hot summer days. If you are boating past and decide to stop for a drink or a full
meal just be sure to pull your boats up away from the ramp.
Grave Creek Road mile 12.5 dispersed site
An unmarked road leads down toward the river and accesses some dispersed camping areas.
Grave Creek Road mile 13.7 Chair
This is not a particularly good river access but if you have a high clearance vehicle you can
access some dispersed camping areas along the river.
Grave Creek Road mile 14.0 Rand
This is a river access that is not used as extensively as other areas along the river. It is
adjacent to the ranger station, and river access is good via a paved road but the ramp itself is
Grave Creek Road mile 14.1 Smullin Ranger Station
The ranger station has information and is also the check in point for trips headed on the
multi-day wilderness run where permits are required. If you are looking to pick up a last-minute
cancellation permit, this is the place to be at 7am.
Grave Creek Road mile 14.8 Almeda County Park
This County Park is a popular spot for groups to camp the night before a trip. Some groups launch
straight from here as an alternate start point for trips on the multi-day wilderness stretch of
the Wild and Scenic Rogue. You can rig your boats the night before, camp here, head up to Smullin
first thing in the morning to check in with the ranger, and be on your way right after breakfast.
The campground can fill up on summer weekends and is patrolled by a camp host so reservations are
Grave Creek Road mile 16.8 Argo
This is a dispersed site that is used as an alternate access for the Rogue River.
Grave Creek Road mile 18.7 Graves Creek access (river mile 68.5)
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Last Updated: 2015-10-08 05:47:45