Rogue - 4. Grants Pass to Grave Creek (options up to 33.4 miles)


Rogue, Oregon, US

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4. Grants Pass to Grave Creek (options up to 33.4 miles)

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Length 33.4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 8 fpm

Argo Rapid


Argo Rapid
Photo of Aki O'Keefe by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/19/15 @ 1500 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
ROGUE RIVER AT GRANTS PASS, OR
usgs-14361500 1000 - 3000 cfs II 01h07m 6290 cfs (too high)


River Description

Grants Pass 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 section.
 
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 Hellgate Canyon.
 
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 make progress. 
 
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.
 
Logistics:
 
Baker Park Boat Ramp in Grants Pass (river mile 101.9)
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 not paved.
 
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 recommended.
 
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)

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-10-08 05:47:45

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-95.0Entering Rogue "Wild And Scenic" AreaN/A
-94.0Whitehorse RiffleN/A
-92.6Bedrock RiffleN/A
-88.2Brushy Chutes / Everton RiffleN/A
-82.6Hellgate CanyonN/APhoto
-81.9Dunn RiffleIIPhoto
-81.1Hellgate Recreation AreaN/APhoto
-79.8Taylor Creek GorgeN/APhoto
-79.1Old Man RiffleII
-77.9Ennis RiffleIIPhoto
-76.8Upper GaliceII+Photo
-76.4Lower GaliceIIPhoto
-75.8Rocky RiffleIIPhoto
-73.9Chair RiffleN/A
-72.3Almeda RiffleIIPhoto
-71.7BaileyII
-71.4Jump RockN/APhoto
-71.0Argo RiffleIIIPhoto
-70.9Lower ArgoII
-69.1Wooldridge RapidIIPhoto

Rapid Descriptions

Hellgate Canyon (Class N/A, Mile -82.6)

Hellgate Canyon

Hellgate Canyon
Photo of Charlie Janda by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/19/15 @ 1500 cfs


Dunn Riffle (Class II, Mile -81.9)

Dunn Rapid

Dunn Rapid
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/19/15 @ 1500 cfs


Hellgate Recreation Area (Class N/A, Mile -81.1)

Hellgate Recreation Area

Hellgate Recreation Area
Photo of Charlie Janda by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/19/15 @ 1500 cfs

A fun place to hang out just downstream of the Hellgate Bridge accessible by boat or road.



Taylor Creek Gorge (Class N/A, Mile -79.8)

Taylor Creek Gorge

Taylor Creek Gorge
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/19/15 @ 1500 cfs


Ennis Riffle (Class II, Mile -77.9)

Ennis Riffle

Ennis Riffle
Photo of Charlie Janda by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/19/15 @ 1500 cfs


Upper Galice (Class II+, Mile -76.8)

Upper Galice

Upper Galice
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/19/15 @ 1500 cfs


Lower Galice (Class II, Mile -76.4)

Lower Galice

Lower Galice
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/19/15 @ 1500 cfs


Rocky Riffle (Class II, Mile -75.8)

Rocky Riffle

Rocky Riffle
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/19/15 @ 1500 cfs


Almeda Riffle (Class II, Mile -72.3)

Almeda Rapid

Almeda Rapid
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/19/15 @ 1500 cfs


Jump Rock (Class N/A, Mile -71.4)

Jump Rock

Jump Rock
Photo of Aki O'Keefe by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/19/15 @ 1500 cfs

One of the best places to jump off the rocks into the Rogue River.



Argo Riffle (Class III, Mile -71.0)

Argo

Argo
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/19/15 @ 1500 cfs


Wooldridge Rapid (Class II, Mile -69.1)

Entering Wooldridge

Entering Wooldridge
Photo of Aki O'Keefe by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 07/19/15 @ 1500 cfs



User Comments

Users can submit comments.
February 6 2011 (2274 days ago)
Nick SindersonDetails
From Galice resort ( or head just upstream to Carpenters Island so as to get get upper Galice Rapid
in) down to either Argo or Graves Creek is a great beginner run or relaxing hot summer day float.
The best time to make this run is June thru Sept. Air temps can reach into the 100's and water
temps into the high 60's or low 70's. There's always enough flow and few hazards and lots of
boaters of every type. Shuttles can easily be arranged through Galice resort. Bike shuttles work
great too. Most of the run consists of long pools separated by class 2 & 2+ rapids with a couple of
playspots in there too. (The big center wave in Argo can be a great surf wave at the some flows). I
usually put-in at Carpenters Island and take-out at Graves Creek, if it's a 100 degrees out no
sense in hurrying home. Plus by taking out at Graves Creek those who are so inclined can run the
first two class 3's on the Canyon Run (Grave Creek Riffle & Falls) and wow their beginner friends.
(climb out river left after Grave Creek Falls to the trail and hike the couple of hundred yards
back above the boat launch and ferry over to it, beware of poison oak)


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Documents

  • Comments of American Whitewater on the Department of State Lands Navigability Study.

  • Plan for the development, operation and management of the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River.

Associated Projects

  • Restoring the Rogue (OR)
    One of the great Rivers of the West, preserving the the Wild Rogue and restoring upstream reaches impacted by dams are priorities for American Whitewater.