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28. Rogue River

The Rogue River has four distinct sections that all have a different flavor, each offering a unique summer recreational experience.

The lower Rogue River represents the first 68 miles upstream from the mouth at Gold Beach. It includes a series of canyons and rapids in the Wild and Scenic Section visited either by driftboats or rafts.

For serious hikers, the Rogue River Trail covers 40 miles between Grave Creek near Galice and Foster Bar near the river hamlet of Agness, with camping spots and lodges in between for overnight stays.

The middle Rogue downstream of Grants Pass is home to fine fishing for summer steelhead and, late in the summer, fall chinook salmon for anglers fishing by themselves or with guides. It’s also a popular place to raft and kayak.

One of the best ways to see the middle Rogue is through Hellgate Jetboat Excursions, a Grants Pass livery that offers scenic and dinner runs through the summer.

Rogue Jet Boat Adventures offers evening trips along the upper Rogue, which includes the riffles, rapids and pools upstream of the old Gold Ray Dam site near Gold Hill.

The stretch from Cole Rivers Hatchery down to Shady Cove is home all summer to floaters who rent rafts for half-day, self-paddled tours of this house-lined stretch. The upper Rogue is also the main destination for salmon and steelhead anglers throughout the summer, either with guides or from the bank at several public-access points upstream and downstream of Shady Cove.

The rough-and-tumble waters that give the Rogue its name are more serene in the far upper Rogue around Union Creek off Highway 62. There’s plenty of river access at numerous campgrounds, and a riverside trail, as well as true look-but-don’t-touch phenomena such as Natural Bridge, where the Rogue flows underground in a lava tube, and at the gorge across from Union Creek Resort.

A boat from Rogue Jet Boat Adventures in Central Point cruises past the Table Rocks on the Rogue River near TouVelle State Park. [Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch]