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29. Rafting

Rafting on the Rogue River is part of visiting or living in Southern Oregon.

The Rogue’s rollercoaster rapids and lazy, lacy riffles make it one of the best all-around rafting destinations in North America.

Rafting season runs from May through October, and with navigable stretches along much of the 84-mile Wild and Scenic corridor, there is an itinerary suited to both river rats and novices.

Rafting trips can be four hours or four days. The 12-mile float from Casey State Recreation Area, about three miles below Cole M. Rivers Hatchery to Upper Rogue Regional Park in Shady Cove is a gentle, scenic paddle through Class 1 riffles, making it well suited for beginners.

The four-hour “Nugget” run from just below the former Gold Ray Dam site near Central Point to the Gold Hill Sports Park features the roaring Class IV Nugget and Tilomikh falls with a couple of Class II and III rapids that make for a splashy ride.

Two- to four-hour floats from Hog Creek at Hellgate Canyon, approximately 15 miles west of Grants Pass, to Grave Creek are popular. The Class I and II rapids make for heart-pumping moments through 25 miles of rugged, scenic canyons.

The 35-mile section of the lower Rogue, from Grave Creek to Agness, is a must-do for real whitewater enthusiasts, but permits are awarded through a lottery, so you’ll need to hire one of the many excellent outfitters in the area to make the trip.

Rafters hit up Nugget Falls on the Rogue River near Gold Hill. [Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch]