|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – September 2005
16 wild ways to find backcountry solitude and big-time scenery. All this, and you can bring the ice chest, too.
Top Wilderness Whitewater
Feisty rapids and quiet camping await on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River.
Running whitewater rivers is like drinking wine: For the perfect experience, you want neither too much nor too little. The Rogue's forgiving rapids guarantee the perfect buzz, delivering full-bodied fun but dialing down the spin cycle just enough to suit beginners. The 35-mile run bisects a lush wilderness of fir forests and azalea and rhododendron thickets. Secluded riverside campsites at places like Whiskey Creek and Battle Bar offer ringside seats to watch the Rogue's legendary menagerie: ospreys, bald eagles, bears, otters, steelhead, and other wildlife. Allow time for hiking the parallel Rogue River Trail and for a detour to the smooth-rock water slide at Tate Creek. If you've got the paddling chops for Class II-IV rapids, secure a river permit and do it yourself (rentals and shuttles: wildrogue.com). Prefer a guide? Rafting hedonism goes upscale with Wilderness River Journeys, which adds classical music and wine tasting to its 5-day September trip ($925, www.riverjourneys.com/rogue.html).
Get there From Galice, OR, take Galice Road 3 miles to the Rand BLM office to pick up the required permit, then continue 5 miles to the put-in at Grave Creek. The take-out is at Foster Bar Landing, off Forest Route 33.
Season May through October; upstream dams allow for a long boating season. Check flows for the Rogue and other rivers at water.usgs.gov/waterwatch.
Difficulty Moderate. It's Class II-IV, but at average flows even beginners paddle the Rogue in inflatable kayaks.
Contact Bureau of Land Management, (541) 479-3735; www.or.blm.gov/rogueriver. To run it this year: Call for permit cancellations and open slots in the fall. Next year: Apply for private permits after November 15, 2005.