Rogue River Wild & Scenic Lodge Trip
Wild and Scenic Rogue River Trip Summary
The Wild and Scenic Rogue River in Southern Oregon, is the oldest and most popular whitewater rafting trip at Orange Torpedo Trips. Consistently regarded as one of the top five rafting trips in the country, this is the perfect vacation for families or adventurers who value a hot shower and a bed after their day running world-famous whitewater. The ability to float lodge to lodge on a “Wild and Scenic” river is just one of the many unique characteristics that separate rafting on the Rogue River from anywhere else. Spectacular wildlife including: bears, deer, eagles, and otters, along with world-class technical whitewater and plenty of thrilling history, makes a few days in the canyon a truly unique all-around experience. Trips down the remote gorge become the getaway with your spouse, time with your kids, or exciting vacation with friends you talk about for years.
On this wilderness trip, spend three or four days learning to paddle through numerous class II and III+ rapids, such as Grave Creek Falls, Tyee, Wildcat and the Coffee Pot. After days paddling and riding waves on the river, nights are in two or three pristine wilderness lodges, complete with a hot shower and a comfortable bed. We offer this trip in both a 3-day, 2-night option and a 4-day, 3 night option. On our 4-day trip we spend an extra day in the lower canyon exploring side creeks for waterfalls and swimming holes while staying one extra night. If you want to truly experience the full Rogue River try our new 4-day trip.
What our guests have to say...
Rogue Wild and Scenic Trip
Reviewed by Cathy on the Rogue on June 18, 2016
“Excellent Trip Experience!”
A family reunion - 22 of us in total. Every single person had a wonderful time. The guides and staff helped to make this trip a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Every lodge we stayed at was clean, amazing food, and very friendly. I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants an amazing River adventure. The rogue River is absolutely magnificent. Just scenery, the rapids, the wildlife were more than any of us had envisioned.
Rogue River Wild and Scenic Trip Itinerary
Trip Logistics Overview
The day your trip starts you need to arrive at our shop at 210 Merlin Rd, Merlin Oregon at 8 AM. If you are driving head west off of Interstate 5 at exit 61. At our office you will transfer your clothing for the trip into a supplied dry bag for the entirety of the float. Your vehicle will be parked inside the locked gate at our facility until you return. At the conclusion of the trip a van will pick you up at the takeout and return you to our storefront in Merlin. If you plan on driving to the coast after your trip it will be more convenient for you if your vehicle is shuttled from our facility to the rafting takeout at Foster Bar. There is a small fee associated with this so call for details. For additional travel information please refer to the travel information page for flight and hotel details.
Detailed Rogue River Wild and Scenic 3-day rafting trip itinerary
Day 1: Arrive at 8 AM at our storefront. (210 Merlin Road, Merlin, OR) to meet your head guide and receive your trip orientation. (Arrive early to purchase any last-minute items.). While at our shop your head guide will spend about 45 minutes discussing safety, river history, and paddling techniques. You will be supplied with all the equipment you need, including a life jacket, helmet (optional for anyone over 12), wet suit, splash-top, a dry bag for your personal items, and a community dry bag to store items you wish to access during the day like a camera. When everyone is geared up and river ready, vans will be loaded and driven the 20 minutes to the put-in, at Almeda boat ramp. At the put-in you will meet the rest of your guides and prepare to head down the river.
The trip starts off with a few warm up rapids before entering the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River at Grave Creek. This is where the adventure really begins as the roads and civilization fades into the background. You will learn your boating skills navigating famous Rogue River rapids such as Grave Creek Falls, Tyee, and Wild Cat on this first day. Sometime in the late afternoon the group will float into the first nights home, Black Bar Lodge. Expect beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, and delicious food as you relax into the evening. If you stay up late enough you might even see the famous Glow Stick Show.
Day 2: The second day is filled with plenty of rapids, history, and learning how to surf your torpedo. After a delicious breakfast the group will meet around 9:30 AM to prepare for the river. You will navigate Horseshoe Bend before arriving at the famous Mary’s Pothole. The group will stop at this rapid so everyone can re-run the rapid until they have had their fill. This is an opportunity to shoot photos and video of your family and friends trying to run this exciting wave in the inflatable kayaks. It’s not un-common to see families of 3 or more trying to run this together. After lunch the group may make a quick stop at Zane Greys historical cabin. After this historic stop the group paddles to Slagles’s Hole, where you can try your hand at surfing. This friendly hole is an ideal spot to learn how to ride the waves and perfect your great surfing moves like the paddle spin! When you are all surfed out, end the day at Marial Lodge. With its delicious home style food, hiking, scenery and atmosphere, you may never want to leave this historic Rogue River hideaway.
Day 3: The last day on the water starts off with a bang! Just around the corner from the lodge is the exhilarating Mule Creek Canyon, a whitewater gorge that is truly unique. At well over a mile of almost non-stop action the whitewater of the gorge culminates at the famous “Coffee Pot” known for it’s unique boils and whirlpools. After the pot is an unbelievable float between vertical cliff walls with stair case waterfall cascading in on the left. About 20 minutes later comes the Rogue Rivers most famous rapid, Blossom Bar. Here we take a short portage around the upper part of the rapid before putting back in and running the fun lower section. A challenging rapid for the rafts, you will find your Torpedo slides right between the boulders with little difficulty. After more rapids and a riverside lunch, the group arrives at the takeout at Foster Bar, early in the afternoon. Change out of your river clothes while the guides de-rig the rafts. After loading the vans it’s a 2-hour drive back to our shop in Merlin.
Detailed Rogue River Wild and Scenic 4-day rafting trip itinerary
We have replaced our old 4-day trip with a new “in the canyon” 4-day trip. On this trip the first two days are identical to our 3-day trip. However on the morning of day 3 we sleep in a little later for a slower start as we head into Mule Creek Canyon. Even before hitting the river the group may hike up Mule Creek to see the upper gorge and possibly do some swimming. When the group does hit the river and down through Blossom Bar everyone can look forward to numerous hikes and chance to explore. Plan on a hike up to Brushy Bar ranger station or time exploring up Tate Creek looking for the natural waterslide.
The third night is at Clayhill lodge above the last class III rapid of the trip. Clayhill is a beautiful lodge with one of the best canyon views on the whole river. Day 4 includes a hike to the beautiful waterfalls of Flora Del Creek and Fall Creek.
If you want the full Rogue River experience sign up for our new 4-day trip and experience more of the hidden gems in the Rogue River Wild and Scenic canyon.
Travel Information for the Rogue River Wild and Scenic Lodge Trip
Where to Meet Orange Torpedo Trips
Take exit 61 off of Interstate 5. Exit is approx. 3 miles north of Grants Pass. At exit turn left (west) and follow Merlin Rd 3.2 miles until you see Orange Torpedo Trips on right. We have a secure fenced parking lot where your car can be stored during your trip.
For 3-day raft trips please plan on meeting us at 8:00 AM. Due to the early hour of the day we strongly recommend staying locally the night before your trip. Here are a few of the local accommodations in the Grants Pass area.
- Redwood Motel Grants Pass Oregon 888-535-8824 (recommended)
- Magnolia Inn 541-899-0255 (Great B&B in Historic Jacksonville)
- Bybee Historic Inn Jacksonville Oregon 877-292-3374 (tell them you are with OTT for a discount)
- Holiday Inn Express Grants Pass Oregon 541-471-6144
- Flery Manor Grants Pass Oregon 541-476-3591 (Award Winning)
- Shiloh Inn Grants Pass Oregon 541-479-8391
- La Quinta Inn Grants Pass Oregon 541-472-1808
If you plan to camp while you’re here, we recommend Indian Mary Park (541-474-5285). The nearest RV Park is Beaver Creek RV on Merlin Rd., although Indian Mary Park also provides full RV hook-ups. We have a parking lot that will accommodate RVs while you are on your trip.
The closest commercial airport is in Medford, Oregon (airport code MFR), 34 miles southeast of our shop in Merlin. In the Medford Airport there are four car rental companies (Budget, Avis, National, Enterprise, and Hertz). At this time we do not offer transportation to or from the airport, but we can pickup and drop off at any Grants Pass Hotel the morning of a trip and at the conclusion of a trip. If you plan to not rent a car, you can call Double D Shuttles at 541-476-7773 and hire them to transport you from the Medford Airport to a Grants Pass Hotel. Please note: Our trips return too late in the day for us to ensure you will make a flight out of Medford same day. We suggest making reservations for the next day after the trip concludes.
Southern Oregon is known for its great summer weather. Weather here is generally so nice that the local tourism board has adopted the slogan “its the climate” to describe what makes Southern Oregon so desirable. While rain does occasionally sneak in during the summer months it is rare and usually only stays for a short time. Averages are:
- May · High (F) 73 Low (F) 41Avg. Rainfall 1.21 in.
- June · High (F) 81 Low (F)45 Avg. Rainfall .53 in.
- July · High (F) 89 Low (F)49 Avg. Rainfall .37 in.
- August · High (F) 89 Low (F)49 Avg. Rainfall .45 in.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What types of boats do you use?
As on most of our trips we offer a variety of river craft to choose from. Orange Torpedo Trips is best known for inflatable kayaking with 80% of our customers choosing this as the way to go down the river, but on this trip we offer 3 types of river craft on this trip. Watch the video to learn more about our 3-boats.
Learn to paddle your own inflatable kayak (Torpedo). We have guides in Torpedo’s teaching you how to paddle and leading you through the rapids in a 4 to 1 ratio. If you happen to fall out the guides have you out of the river in seconds. 45+ years of doing it on the Rogue River and tens of thousands of satisfied returning customers prove that it is extremely fun.
A more traditional type of rafting, paddle rafts are a great way to go if you still want to do some work, but think the torpedo is just a little to much. Work with a team of your friends paddling the big boat through the rapids as the guide sits in the back to help navigate.
Hop on an oared raft and ride in luxury. This is the relaxed way to travel. If taking in the scenery and letting the guide do the work is how you vacation then hop on board. This is how kids 4-11 years old will usually travel.
Q: What is an Orange Torpedo?
An Orange Torpedo is our custom-designed inflatable kayak. We have brought our 45 years of guided inflatable kayaking experience into our partnership with world renown raft builder SOTAR to introduce an industry leading high performance, beginner friendly inflatable kayak which we exclusively use.
Q: Can I switch boats during the trip?
Yes, but with some limitation. If you start in an inflatable kayak and decide quickly that it’s not for you. We will get you out of the kayak. If you start in a raft and decide you want to kayak, we cannot always guarantee that ability. Based on what people tell us they want to do we pack a specific amount of equipment and bring an appropriate number of guides for a trip. Sometimes that does not leave much room to add kayakers mid-trip. People will often be willing to switch out throughout the trip, but if someone signs up to tackle the river in an inflatable kayak, we want to make sure they have chance to paddle the entire trip if they want.
Q: Gratuity, is it common to give tips and how much?
Gratuity is certainly appreciated but by no means required. At the conclusion of a trip please just give any gratuity to the head guide who will divide it evenly among the crew. Standard restaurant gratuity percentages tend not apply on these trips, so what we have seen over the years on the Rogue River 3-day trip is an average of approx: $50 per person in a group. So a group of four would be about $200. That is what we typically see on this trip as an average, please don’t feel obligated. Also, when thinking about gratuities, please feel free to tip the staff at the lodges during your stay there.
Q: Does everything for the trip go down the river with the group?
Everything for the trip will go down the river. When you pack a dry bag at the put-in, that will be all of your stuff for the duration of the trip. All food, drinks, and camping equipment will be transported on our rafts for the entirety of the trip.
Q: What is your cancellation policy?
On single day trips your $10 per person deposit is refundable up to 72 hours before your trip. Cancellations within 72 hours of the scheduled trip launch will be subject to loss of their deposit.
On all of our multi day rafting trips we do not offer refunds on deposits or balance payments. We strongly encourage all customers to purchase travel insurance through travel guard to help protect your travel investment against the things that come up in life. It’s a small additional price for the comfort to know that if something comes up (illness, work change, etc) you will have the ability to recover your significant travel investment. Get a Travel Guard Quote Here.
Q: How much is the deposit and when is the balance for my trip due?
For the Rogue River 3-day Wild and Scenic Trip the deposit is $300 per person. For the 4-day trip the deposit is $350. For the Rogue River 2-day Intro to kayaking lodge trip the deposit is $150 per person. The remaining balance is due 30 days before the trip launches. Upon making your reservation you have the option to set up your credit card to automatically run the balance on the due date.
Q: What age is considered “Youth”?
Youth is 17 and under.
Q: How many years have we been running the rivers?
Orange Torpedo Trips was founded on the Rogue River in 1969 by rafting visionary, Jerry Bentley. Within just a few years OTT had spread to numerous rivers throughout the Northwest including the Klamath River, the Main Salmon River and Snake Rivers.
Q: What is our average tour guide tenure?
We are proud to have one of the highest head guide tenure’s in the industry. The majority of our multi-day trip guides are teachers in the off-season. This off river profession makes them naturally great guides with a desire to teach our customers about the rivers, but it also makes them stable year to year guides. The average tenure, with our company, of our head guides is 29 years.
Q: What is the typical guide to guest ratio?
On the River we typically have one guide for every three guests on a trip
Rogue Wild and Scenic Trip Rates/Dates
2018 Rogue River 3-day Lodge Trips
- Monday Launch - Adult $1049 Youth $949
- Friday Launch - Adult $1099 Youth $999
Trip Start Dates:
- June - 14, 17, 21, 24, 28
- July - 1, 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22, 26, 29
- August - 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29
2018 Rogue River 4-day Lodge Trips
- 2018 Pricing - Adult $1349 Youth $1249
- 4-day Single Occupancy Fee - $225
Trip Start Dates:
- July - 2nd and 9th
Rogue Wild and Scenic Trip Packing List
On this trip everything for the duration of the adventure goes down the river with the group. When you arrive at our shop the first morning of the trip you will be supplied with a dry-bag for you to use throughout the duration of your Rogue River float trip. This dry-bag is where almost everything you want to take on the trip will go. It’s approximately the size of a medium size carry-on duffle bag.
Dry Bag Dimensions: 20″L x 12″D, 2,262 cu. in., 37 L
What to pack
On the River
- 2 swimsuits or shorts and top (cotton not recommended)
- Sports sandals or hard-soled wetsuit booties (ideally something that does not come off when swimming)
- Synthetic paddling gloves (only if kayaking and even then not required but they do help with blisters) - Available at our shop
- Wide rimmed hat or ball cap (ball cap fits well under helmet) - Available at our shop
- Polypro, synthetic or hydro-skin shirt (nice for mornings and chilly days - not required but can be comfortable) - Available at our shop
- Water Bottle with carabiner (1 liter) - Available at our shop
- Waterproof sunscreen - Available at our shop
- Sunglasses with croakies or chums strap (consider bringing two pairs)
At the Lodges
- 1 pair pants
- 1 pair shorts
- 2 shirts
- Fleece jacket or sweatshirt
- Insect repellent - Available at our shop
- Personal items (medications, hygiene; keep personal grooming items to a minimum)
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Camera with memory cards and batteries
- Fishing equipment and valid state fishing license (Not lots of time to fish, but can be fun in the morning and evening at the lodges, especially in later August)