Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

Rogue Country’s seven Federally Designated Wild and Scenic Rivers amount to over 633 miles of free flowing streams, nationally recognized for beauty and quality of habitat. Congress sets aside these rivers to protect their uncommon recreational values.

“It is here by declared to be the policy of the United Sates that certain selected rivers of the nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstanding remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.”
Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
October 2, 1968

  • WILD – this river is accessible only by trail, is undeveloped and generally is unpolluted.
  • SCENIC – this river can be accessed by some roads but is mainly still a trail access river.
  • RECREATIONAL – this river has been developed along the shoreline and is easily accessible by roads, trails not necessary.

Flowing out of Crater Lake National Park and boundary springs down stream to Prospect, Oregon the far upper portion of the Rogue River is crystal clear and very cold water. Born of volcanic origins the river is rowdy untamed and beautiful.

For more information
Total Miles: 40.3, Wild: 6.1, Scenic 34.2
National Forest / Prospect Ranger District

The Upper Rogue River drainage has spectacular scenery Boundary Springs in side Crater Lake National Park is the beginning of the Rogue Rivers headwaters. The Rogue River Sculpts its way through volcanic landscape left by the huge eruption of Mt. Mazama.

Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

Wild Rogue Wilderness

Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers - Rogue River Canyon

(Applegate River to Lobster Creek) Grants Pass to Gold Beach, Or.
Emerging from the western slope of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, the stream winds across farmlands and orchards before passing through the Wild Rogue Canyon Wilderness to the Pacific Ocean. The stream is renowned for whitewater rafting and famous for Salmon and Steelhead fishing.

Over Millions of years, lifting of the western part of Oregon formed the mountains of the Pacific Coast. As the land slowly rose, and the rivers channel eroded deeper and deeper into rock and soil creating an average Canyon depth, from rivers level to mountain top, of over 3,000 feet.

Flowing through time, the Rogue has nurtured those who have come to its lush banks. The earliest inhabitants were Indians who lived a life of hunting, fishing and gathering. Various Indian tribes made their homes and found sustenance along the Rogues shores for over 9000 years before Euro-Americans arrived. In the 1850’s miners poured into the river’s valleys and Indians awoke to the coarse cry of “Gold” which, with startling immediacy, signaled an end to a way of life Indians had known for thousands of years.

The boatmen of the early-to-mid-1900’s whose daring and perseverance established dominance over the wild waters, were responsible for opening these waters to the guided fishing industry and whitewater boating that has become so economically vital to southwest Oregon today.

The Rogue continues to be one of the world’s most popular recreation destinations. The 43-mile Wild section features predominantly Class III (or less) rapids, and includes thundering Rainie Falls (Class V) and breathtaking rapids at Mule Creek Canyon (Class III) and Blossom Bar (Class IV).

Total Miles: 84.5, Wild: 34, Scenic 7.5, Recreational: 43
Siskiyou National Forest
Guides & Outfitters
Whitewater Rafting Guides & Outfitters

Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

Chetco River

The outstanding value of this southwestern Oregon stream is its anadromous fisheries. The Chetco provides high quality spawning beds and rearing pools for salmon and steelhead. October 1st will begin the Chetco run of Fall Kings, the Chetco returns 20,000 Fall Kings averaging 25 to 50 pounds. Chetco Fall Kings begin their run by milling in and out of tidewater or holding in upper tidewater pools like Morris Hole and Tide-rock. Hundreds of Fall Kings will stack up awaiting fall rains to raise this river which is only 50 miles long. While stacked in these Lower Chetco pools Fall Kings are available for Flyfishing opportunities. Trolling for Fall Kings is also good in the Chetco estuary in October. The Chetco  is a Federally Designated Wild and Scenic River and fishing for Fall Kings can be spectacular when the fall rains raise the Chetco and the Kings move upriver. Chetco Fall Kings run remains good from October to January.

Siskiyou National Forest
Total Miles: 44.5, Wild: 25.5, Scenic 8, Recreational: 11
Chetco Guides & Outfitters

Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

Elk River

The Elk River,  is an importantFall King Salmon and Winter Steelhead   fishing in southwestern Oregon. Scenery on the Elk River is an added attraction.

October through January. The Elk is 50 miles long with 10 miles of the best Fall King / Chinook Salmon fishing water for late season Fall Kings / Chinook to be found anywhere. The Elk is a wonderful stream to fish for Fall Kings. A small costal stream with more Fall King / Chinook Salmon holding holes per mile than I have ever encountered. These Fall Kings / Chinook will average close to 30 pounds with attitude, great fighters in small water makes these kings top sport. Mostly we will use back-bounced roe or big back-trolled plugs from drift boats.

Total Miles: 19, Wild: 2, Recreational: 17
Siskiyou National Forest
Guides & Outfitters

Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

Elk River - Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

Illinois River

Whitewater provides plenty of excitement for small rafts and kayaks, while clear, still, blue-green pools offer contrast and opportunities for catching large Wild Winter Steelhead.

Total Miles: 50.4, Wild: 28.7, Scenic 17.9, Recreational: 3.8
Siskiyou National Forest
Whitewater Rafting Guides
Guides & Outfitters

Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

Illinois River - Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

North Umpqua

Oregon Whitewater Rafting - Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers - North Umpqua River

Fly-fishing, whitewater boating, and scenic driving are premier recreation activities along the North Umpqua. The clear water, virgin Douglas fir stands, and geologic formations add to the spectacular scenery.

It is said that the North Umpqua is a Summer Steelhead graduate school. The North Umpqua is a tough place to get good grades. The North Umpqua has the most beautiful scenery and waters for Summer Steelhead Flyfishing. Steeped in Summer Steelhead Flyfishing history, if only the pools and riffles could talk. The North Umpqua Highway follows the North Umpqua up into the Cascades from Roseburg to Glide, then on to Steamboat, the heart of North Umpqua Summer Steelhead Flyfishing. Across the on the south side the old Col. Mott trail will give access to the south side of the stream for about 5 miles. Guides are nor required but highly recommended if you are not an experienced North Umpqua Steelhead fisherman. Much of the best waters are Flyfishing only. Wading can be treacherous and casting is demanding but rewards and beauty are beyond words here.

Total Miles: 33.8, Recreational: 33.8
Umpqua National Forest
Whitewater Rafting Guides
Guides & Outfitters

Upper Klamath River

Feisty fish and fierce rapids are the calling cards for the Upper Klamath, California’s second-longest river. Kayaks, canoes, raft, and, at points, powerboats tackle the Klamath, which roughly translated from Chinook language means swiftness. Fall King Salmon, Winter Steelhead Steelhead and Summer Steelhead Flyfishing attract anglers, while summer’s made to order for Summer Steelhead. Dam-controlled flows create electrifying ribbons of whitewater through Satan’s Gate and Hell’s Corner rapids. And the river is a popular wayside for migrating birds. The list of frequent flyers includes blue and green herons, lots of eagles, cormorants, and even pelicans. It’s a kinder, gentler float from the Oregon border to Copco Lake through open country littered with remains of mines, ranches, mills, and even a historic 19th century health spa.

The white water of the Upper Klamath are rated at class IV+ to V (Caldera and Hells Corner rapids are rated class IV+ to V, depending on water levels and who is doing the rating). These classes are considered advanced to expert on a scale of one to six. In the middle 5 miles of the Upper Klamath, there are 19 separate rapids rated class III or higher. If you are not a seasoned raft rat, there are a number of White Water Rafting Guides and Outfitters who offer safe, professionally guided raft trips ranging from one to three days. These outfitters all have many years of experience and their guides are all well trained in  running safe raft trips. Most Whitewater Guides offer shore lunches and you might hear a good tale or two as well. Contact one of our Guides and Outfitters for best local information.
Lakeview BLM Offices
Total Miles Scenic 11.2
Whitewater Rafting Guides

Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

Southern Oregon Vacation Family Activities - Whitewater Rafting

Smith River North Fork in Oregon

The North Fork Smith flows south out of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in southwestern Oregon to the state border to tie with the Smith System in California.

Total Miles: 13, Wild: 8.5, Scenic 4.5
Siskiyou National Forest
Guides & Outfitters

Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

Rogue Country’s seven Federally Designated Wild and Scenic Rivers amount to over 633 miles of free flowing streams, nationally recognized for beauty and quality of habitat. Congress sets aside these rivers to protect their uncommon recreational values.

Oregon Wild and Scenic Rivers

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