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Backpacker Magazine – September 2005

Paddling's Greatest Getaways

16 wild ways to find backcountry solitude and big-time scenery. All this, and you can bring the ice chest, too.

by: Larry Rice


©Tom Till
{Oregon}

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.




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READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
Pennyyork
Feb 02, 2013

was wondering if anyone knew my father kenneth York he guided the Allagash for years.I would be interested thank you

Markus Harrild
Apr 02, 2012

Although you've listed some great waterways, and have limited space for your article, you know, your readers are going to chide you about not listing their favorites. So, to add to that list of incredulousness, when was the last time you paddled down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, in Central Idaho. For raw jaw-dropping beauty, aqueous power, a wicked challenge, and a great trip, you've got to list this gnarled ribbon of water that slices through the River of No Return Wilderness. I could understand leaving other waterways off your list, but not this beauty!

Anonymous
Mar 30, 2012

Wow, I can't believe the (insert favorite) river wasn't included. This is the best! Some of the most beautiful scenery is found on the (insert favorite) river....

Peter Swiderski
Mar 29, 2012

Wait a minute. Just wait a minute. You left out the Green River in Utah? Whether its Desolation Valley or Labyrnth Canyon or Stillwater, we are talking the most spectacular rafting and canoeing in the country, bar none, nothing even close. Please. Just my humble opinion, but seriously. Green River, for like 200 miles. THAT'S amazing.

Peter Swiderski
Mar 29, 2012

Wait a minute. Just wait a minute. You left out the Green River in Utah? Whether its Desolation Valley or Labyrnth Canyon or Stillwater, we are talking the most spectacular rafting and canoeing in the country, bar none, nothing even close. Please. Just my humble opinion, but seriously. Green River, for like 200 miles. THAT'S amazing.

Richard M McFadden
Mar 29, 2012

WOW! Do not depend on Larry Rice on this one. First off. The Glory Hole pictured is not even in the Buffalo watershed. Second, the LOWER section will be low in the Fall. The upper half of the river will be virtually dry. The Buffalo is rain dependent, not spring fed. Summer is hot and humid with low algae filled water. The Buffalo is my river. It is by far my favorite river and I spend a lot of time there. Obviously Larry Rice does not. I will be joining Kenneth L Smith tomorrow for a week of trailbuilding on the Buffalo. Ken will be trailbuilding in the fall. If you love trails it is a chance to be in a wonderful place extending the Buffalo River Trail.
rmmcfadden@yahoo.com.

DblKnt
Mar 29, 2012

The Allagash is indeed beautiful in Sept / Oct
but the river sections are very shallow and rocky.
You will likely be limited to the lakes.

Summer months usually have the best river flow.
Bring 100% DEET and a head net!

David Scarborough
Mar 29, 2012

I cant believe yall left out the Alabama Scenic River Trail, a trail that spans from NE Alabama to the Gulf of Mexico and includes the Bartram Canoe Trail, a trail that meanders through the beautiful Mobile/Tensaw River Delta.
http://www.alabamascenicrivertrail.com/
http://www.outdooralabama.com/outdoor-adventures/bartram/index.htm

Anonymous
Mar 29, 2012

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