|MEETING PLACE:||Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge, 8500 Galice Rd, Merlin, OR 97532|
|MEETING TIME:||6:00 PM, the evening before your trip|
|RETURN TIME:||Approximately 6:00 PM|
|RIVER RATING:||Class III|
|PUT-IN:||Grave Creek or nearby launch site|
|TRIP LENGTH:||3 days / 2 nights|
|AGE LIMIT:||Minimum age is 7 years old (12 at high water)|
|BOAT TYPE:||Oar rafts, paddle rafts, inflatable kayaks|
The Rogue River might just be the perfect rafting trip. The generally moderate whitewater is ideal for all levels of experience, with excitement levels ranging from beginner to intermediate. Rapids such as Blossom Bar and Rainie Falls are sure to inspire a generous dose of adrenaline. For the more adventurous, our inflatable kayaks provide constant up-close and personal encounters with the rapids of the Rogue. The most common wildlife sightings include deer and river otter, along with an occasional black bear, and the many bird species seen along the way including Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle and Osprey. Your evenings present the best of river accommodations – your first night will be camping alongside the river, followed by a night at Paradise Lodge. The Lodge offers more than a hot shower and a warm bed – relaxing and enjoying the riverside scenery on the front porch with both new and old friends is a pretty special experience.
We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Each trip is different depending upon the group, other trips on the water and sometimes the weather. The following is a sample of what your trip might be like:
The Day Before Your Trip
We will meet at 6:00 PM for a pre-trip meeting in the lobby of Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge in Merlin, Oregon. This is an opportunity to meet your trip leader and ask any last-minute questions. Your trip leader will give a thorough trip orientation and pass out waterproof bags for packing your belongings. They will also confirm the meet time for the following morning for the transfer to the launch point.
At 9:00 AM, you will be transferred from Morrison’s Lodge to the put-in. Here, you will meet the rest of your guides and listen to a thorough safety talk on trip procedures. The anticipation will build as you board the rafts and push off from the shore to head downstream. After a few small rapids, you’ll arrive at Rainie Falls, where we may get a glimpse of salmon on their spring run. After a few more rapids, you’ll probably notice that appetites on river trips are larger than those at home; our deli-style lunch will be prepared fresh by your guides. Our day ends at the Horseshoe Bend/Kelsey Creek area, where you will enjoy luxury riverside camping. After unloading the rafts, the guides will demonstrate how to set up your tents. There will be time to relax and enjoy the surroundings while dinner is prepared.
In the morning, we will enjoy a hearty, hot breakfast. After you pack your belongings, you will have some time to relax while camp is broken down and the boats are loaded. The inflatable kayaks are put to use as the most adventurous take control of their own crafts. We may stop at Zane Grey’s Cabin, the historic Rogue River Ranch, or take a short hike while the guides fix lunch. After lunch, we may catch a glimpse of an otter family by the bank and marvel at the numbers of great blue herons. If we’re lucky, we may get to see a bear and her cub swimming across the river. The notorious Mule Creek Canyon with its sheer rock walls and deep rolling currents is another mesmerizing sight to behold. Towards the end of the day, we’ll scout our run at Blossom Bar Rapid. After the excitement of the day’s rafting is over, we will enjoy a sit-down dinner and comfortable accommodations for the evening at Paradise Lodge.
The Lodge provides a sumptuous breakfast, after which we’ll load the boats and continue downstream. As we keep our eyes looking downstream in anticipation of the next rapid, we hope to catch sight of one of the elusive bald eagles that inhabits this section of the river canyon. After lunch, we have a short float to our take-out point at Foster Bar. There is a scenic, 2-3 hour mountain drive back to Morrison’s Lodge to conclude the trip.
Included in Your Trip Cost
- Skilled, professional guide service
- All meals from lunch on day 1 through lunch on the last day
- 1 night of catered camping
- 1 night lodging at Paradise Lodge, based on double occupancy
- Two waterproof bags to hold your gear for the trip (approximate sealed size: 13” diameter x 25” tall with a maximum capacity of 2 cubic feet). Your sleeping bag and pad must fit into one bag and your remaining gear will fit into the other bag. Please note: If you rent our sleep kit, it will come pre-packed in one of the two waterproof bags. Your remaining gear, therefore, must fit into one
- One small, shared waterproof bag per raft for a camera and other small items you’ll want during the day (approximate sealed size: 17” tall x 9” diameter)
- Two-person tents on a shared basis (there is a $30 charge for a private tent)
- Expedition equipment, including personal flotation device, 2-person shared tent, waterproof bags and splash jacket
- High-quality inflatable rafts, kayaks and related river equipment including paddles and helmets
- Transfers from Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge to the river and back
- For clients with a high interest in using the inflatable kayaks, we will bring a limited supply of wetsuits. If you have your own, please feel free to bring it with you.
Not Included in Your Trip Cost
- Transportation to and from Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge
- River Access Fee
- Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals
- Single supplement ($100)
- Sleeping bag & sleeping pad (these items may be rented from O.A.R.S.)
- Alcoholic beverages at the lodge
- Insurance of any kind
- Items of a personal nature (an equipment list will be provided)
Available For Rent
Please indicate on your guest registration form whether you want to rent a sleep kit or if you prefer to bring your own.
- Sleep Kit: Can be rented for $40 per person. Sleep kits consist of a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, ground tarp, sheet, pillow and pillowcase. Please indicate on your Guest Registration Form whether you want to rent a sleep kit or if you prefer to bring your own.
- Sleeping Pad Only: The pad only may be rented for $15
- 2-Person Tent: We provide 2 person tents. It is assumed you will share this tent with another person. You can (if you prefer) have a tent to yourself for an additional charge of $30 per tent.
TRIP PREPARATION CHECK LIST
☐ Purchase Travel Insurance: We strongly recommend you protect yourself, your belongings, and your vacation with the purchase of a short-term traveler’s policy. A trip cancellation policy covers your non-refundable payments, in most cases, should you have to cancel your trip at the last minute due to illness or injury. As with most major travel arrangements, there are cancellation fees that will apply regardless of why or when you might need to cancel. Insurance options are available at travelinsure.com/cobrand/OARS
☐ Trip forms (online): Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms within two weeks of making a booking. Refer to your confirmation e-mail for the link to the online forms. If you prefer to fill out paper forms, please let us know right away. If you are reserving your school within 60 days of departure, your forms must be completed immediately to ensure we can properly plan for your trip.
☐ Reserve flights and/or shuttles: Verify with your adventure consultant that your trip has met minimum numbers prior to booking flights and/or reserving overnight lodging for the night before and after your trip, if applicable.
☐ Whitewater Orientation: To increase your safety, we expect everyone to watch our 23-minute Whitewater Orientation video before joining us. Watch at https://www.oars.com/experience/safety/ or call 800-346-6277 to request a free DVD. Please don’t leave home without watching.
☐ Physical Requirements: Your outdoor adventure will be an active participatory trip. Please inform us of any physical limitation you may have as soon as possible. Make sure you are exercising frequently in the months leading up to your trip.
☐ Payments: Final payment is due in our office 60 days prior to your trip (refer to your invoice for final payment date). Please let us know if you would like for us to automatically charge your credit card on file when final payment is due.
Meeting Place & Time
The day before your trip we will meet at 6:00 PM in the lobby of Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge, in Merlin, OR for a pre-trip meeting. Your trip leader will provide a thorough trip orientation and pass out your waterproof bags so that you can pack your belongings that evening. The trip leader will also reconfirm the time for meeting at Morrison’s the following morning and give you an opportunity to ask any last-minute questions.
Getting to Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge
Merlin is just northwest of Medford and Grants Pass. Take the Merlin exit (#61) just 3 miles north of the northern most Grants Pass exit (#58). Go west on Merlin-Galice Road for 12 ½ miles. You will cross a large, yellow bridge over the Rogue River about two miles before you reach Morrison’s Lodge. The entrance is on your right at the bottom of a downhill curve. The address is 8500 Galice Rd, Merlin, OR 97532. You may park your car at Morrison’s River Lodge during your trip.
Mileage and Driving Times
|Medford to Merlin||37 miles (45 minutes)|
|Foster Bar take-out to Gold Beach||36 miles (1 hour)|
|Foster Bar take-out to Morrison’s||40 miles (2-3 hours)|
|Klamath Falls to Merlin||109 miles (2 hours)|
|Eugene to Merlin||135 miles (2½ hours)|
|Portland to Merlin||240 miles (4 hours)|
|Sacramento to Merlin||344 miles (6 hours)|
We recommend flying into Medford, Oregon. United, Horizon / Alaska Airlines all fly into Medford. As an alternative, Portland International has more frequent flight options. There are several car rental companies located at both airports, or you may choose to take a shuttle from Medford to Morrison’s.
Galice Shuttle offers service from various locations in the area, including Medford Airport, to Morrison’s Lodge (our meeting place).
•Galice Shuttle Service (541) 476-3818
By Bus or Train
Greyhound services the Grants Pass area, while Amtrak only services Klamath Falls or Eugene, Oregon.
After Your Trip
On the final day of your river adventure, you will return to Morrison’s Lodge at approximately 6:00 PM.
Please note: If you are planning to visit the Oregon Coast following your trip, we recommend you have your car shuttled to the take-out location at Foster Bar so it is waiting for you when you get off the river. This will save you five or more hours of driving time and backtracking. For this option, you will need to arrange for your car to be transferred from Morrison’s Lodge to the take-out at Foster Bar so that you can continue heading west, to the coast, from there. You will arrive at Foster Bar between 2 and 3 PM. Galice Shuttle Service can arrange this car shuttle service for you. Please contact them directly to set up this option.
Please contact us before your trip to alert us that you have made arrangements to have your car shuttled to Foster Bar. Come prepared with a duplicate set of car keys.
Pre- and Post-Trip Accommodations
We recommend you make reservations well in advance in order to guarantee lodging. Pre- and post-trip lodging is not included in the trip cost.
- Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge* (800) 826-1963
- Galice Resort (541) 476-3818
- Rogue River Doubletree Ranch (541) 476-0120
*Mention that you are an O.A.R.S. client and receive 5% off your room rate.
- Buona Sera Inn (541) 476-4260
- Shilo Inn (541) 479-8391
- Best Western Inn (541) 582-2200
- Holiday Inn Express (541) 471-6144
- Indian Mary Campground (800) 452-5687
- Josephine County Parks (541) 474 5285
- Lake Selmac Resort (541) 597-2277
For additional activities, lodging and camping information, please contact the Grants Pass Chamber of Commerce (541) 450-6180 or go to www.visitgrantspass.org.
On our Rogue River trips, we bring oar rafts and inflatable kayaks, and with sufficient interest, a paddle raft. Oar rafts carry our camp gear along with 2-4 passengers and are rowed by our guides using a long pair of oars. Inflatable kayaks are 1- and 2-person boats that get you up close and personal with the rapids of the Rogue. Paddle rafts carry 4-6 passengers, each of whom wield a single-bladed paddle and work together to propel the raft downstream under the direction of the guide, who steers the boat with oars from the stern.
Few rivers offer whitewater excitement suitable for such a wide range of ages and experience levels as the Rogue. Its Class III rapids are a great whitewater introduction for the beginning rafter, yet challenging enough to excite experienced river runners. The Rogue’s flow is regulated by upstream dams; this allows for reliable river flows all summer long. Enjoy rolling wave trains and exciting drops, separated by lazy stretches, during which you can sit back and relax, as you float down this scenic river.
Camp and Lodge Life
This trip is for those of who want to experience the best of both worlds: a night of camping under the stars at the river’s edge and a night at a rustic lodge, with a comfy bed and a hot shower. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the summer night around a campfire on the first night, perhaps while learning some of the local history. The following evening, the lodge provides a great venue to review your day’s adventure while lounging beside a stone hearth. If you are traveling on your own, we will assign a second traveler of the same sex to share your lodge accommodations. Please call us to discuss current bookings and room configurations at the lodge if you would like to request single accommodations.
After our day on the river, we pull ashore to our campsite or the lodge for the night. Upon arrival, our first task is to unload the boats using a fire line of crew and passengers to expedite the process. Individuals then collect their waterproof bags and with the guides’ assistance set up tents, or head to the lodge to check-in for the night. In the morning, after breakfast is served, the gear will then be loaded onto the boats and we’ll head downstream to see what new adventures await us.
The meals we serve are hearty and delicious, complete with fresh ingredients and a variety of foods. A typical morning on a multi-day trip might start with French toast, bacon, fruit, orange juice, and coffee or tea. Lunch might be a delicious spread of cold cuts and cheeses with several types of bread, or pitas stuffed with veggies and hummus. There are always cookies and a cooling drink. At dinner, our guides’ cooking skills truly shine—sizzling steaks or salmon, chicken enchiladas, and delicious stir-fry dishes are all part of their repertoire. Dinner generally includes a salad, and desserts are frequent. Hors d’oeuvres are a pleasant surprise before many meals.
We need to know as soon as possible about any dietary restrictions we should consider in planning your trip. If you have additional food allergies or necessary restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. However, there may be an additional supplemental menu fee ranging from $5-20 per person per day to cover our increased costs.
Beyond our standard menu, we can provide options for vegetarian, vegan and many allergy-restricted diets without applying a fee. However, we cannot always provide the same diversity or sophistication for restricted diets as we do for our regular menu.
Due to the constraints of cooking for a large group, availability of ingredients in remote locations and limited packing space, we are often unable to cater to dietary preferences (likes or dislikes).
Beverages / Alcohol
A limited supply of complimentary beer and wine is available in camp or for purchase at the lodge. You are welcome to bring your own favorite beverages, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, in non-glass containers. If you choose to bring additional drinks or alcoholic beverages, please let us know in advance. For your safety and the safety of others, the consumption of alcoholic beverages is limited to camp or the lodge.
*We are obligated to adhere to the regulations established by the managing agency with jurisdiction over the area in which our trip operates. Use of marijuana on federal lands, whether it be medicinal or recreational, is illegal and therefore we ask that you refrain from bringing it with you on your O.A.R.S. trip.
We carry sufficient drinking water along with us to provide for your needs throughout the trip. Water jugs are accessible in camp, at lunch time and before hikes for filling personal water bottles. In some cases, we will resupply water jugs with river water filtered through a purification system we provide. (No iodine is used in the purification process.)
Boat Options (see photos at http://www.oars.com/experience/boats/)
One highlight of the Rogue is that the river’s currents and water levels allow us to bring a variety of boats. Please indicate any boat preference on your guest registration form in the field for listing your expectations.
We do our best to accommodate the requests of all of our guests. Please be aware that in doing so we will ask you to share boat time with your fellow travelers should they have the same interests. We don’t assign boats, nor can we guarantee exactly what we bring, but trust us to provide you with the best possible mix for you and others on your trip. The following boats may be a part of your Rogue experience:
- Oar Raft—The O.A.R.S. flagship. The oar rafts carry the bulk of the gear on most of our multi-day adventures. Your guide pilots with long oars from a center-mounted aluminum frame. Ample deck space allows for lounging in calm stretches, while the sturdy weight and width of the boat gives your guide confidence to hit the big waves head-on. (Two to four passengers.)
- Paddle Raft—The sportiest of crafts we put on the water, everybody handles a paddle while the guide gives directions and steers with oars from the stern. Paddling together is essential to finding the right run, and teamwork begets success. A thrilling way to brave the rapids! Helmets required. Ask an Adventure Consultant about this option, as it is not available on every trip. (Four to seven passengers.)
- Inflatable Kayak—Also known as Duckies, inflatable kayaks float low in the water, putting you in touch with the pull of the current and splash of every wave. On most trips, double and single inflatable kayaks are available, depending on group size. Twelve years is the minimum age in Class III rapids, 7 years for Class II rapids. Helmets required. (One or two paddlers per Ducky.)
Hiking / Side Creek Exploration
Each day varies, but on an average you’ll spend 4-6 hours a day on the boats. The rest of the time will be spent hiking and exploring, eating, or just relaxing in camp. While we generally plan at least two guided hikes on each trip, there is ample opportunity for the curious to explore the area at length. Please let your trip leader know if you are an avid hiker and remember to bring extra water bottles and good shoes. Remember, however, that all hikes are optional and you can choose to lie on the beach and take in a few tanning rays or read a book instead.
The Rogue is a fisherman’s paradise. There are four species of trout that live in the Rogue, though only steelhead is commonly seen on our trips. Two species of salmon also make their way up the Rogue to spawn in their place of birth. Chinook salmon can be seen fighting the rapids in the spring and again in the fall. The Coho, also known as the silver salmon, makes a fall run only. Generally, water temperatures are too warm for fishing in June, July, and August. The most abundant seasonal period on the Rogue is from September through mid-November, which offers some of the West’s best fly-fishing.
You’ll need to bring your own gear; please bring your rod protected in a hard case. You will need a Steelhead and Salmon permit as well as a general Oregon fishing license. You may purchase a 4-day pass (which includes both) at $43.50. This pass can be purchased upon arrival at Morrison’s Lodge. Non-residents of Oregon may buy a short-term fishing license by calling (800) 720-6339. You can also purchase one on the Internet here. Call the Department of Fish and Wildlife at (503) 947-6001 for up-to-date, recorded information about fishing and regulation changes, or go online to www.dfw.state.or.us.
The Portable Toilet
While the idea of a river trip is appealing to most people, many are inhibited or reluctant because of modesty or uncertainty regarding personal hygiene. To minimize our environmental impact, we carry out all solid human waste. Each day at camp, we set up a portable toilet system in a discrete location away from the tent sites. It is essentially a toilet without plumbing, and it’s available each afternoon from the time you pull into camp until you leave camp the next day. Toilet paper and a convenient hand-washing station are provided. We also carry a small container called the “day tripper,” which can be easily accessed during the day should the need arise. It is a personal disposable toilet, which includes an odor-proof transport bag, chemical solidifier and odor eliminator, toilet paper and an oversized hand wipe.
On popular stretches of wilderness rivers, a commonly heard refrain is “dilution is the solution to pollution.” We practice this approach by urinating in the river during the day. At camp, we provide pee buckets so that during the night, urination can occur in a secluded location and then be dumped into the river current, where it will be carried downstream.
Bathing is allowed in the Rogue River, but not in any of the side streams that feed into the river. We recommend using the smallest amount possible of liquid biodegradable soap such as Campsuds or Dr. Bronner’s, which can be purchased in most stores that have a camping section. Disposable anti-bacterial towelettes (Coleman Swash Cloths, baby wipes, etc.) are good alternatives to submersion in the river, and they are especially convenient for spring and fall trips.
For Women Only
Even if you aren’t anticipating your menstrual period, come prepared for it. We recommend you bring some sandwich-size Ziploc™ bags. These bags can be used to store feminine products during the day while you are on the river and can be disposed of when you reach camp. (For tampon users: o.b. ® tampons are ⅓ the size of regular tampons, tuck discreetly into pockets and have less paper wrapping.) Many women suggest bringing a small supply of baby wipes. We provide some feminine products on most trips for emergencies.
We provide a small waterproof bag (17” tall x 9” diameter—approximate sealed size) to hold your camera and other items you might need during the day. While these bags are designed to be waterproof, you may wish to place your camera in a zip-lock plastic bag or waterproof casing for additional protection. We also strongly recommend you take out a rider on your homeowner’s policy to cover your camera—especially if it’s fine equipment. Make sure to bring additional memory cards, batteries, and any other extras you will need. Disposable waterproof and panorama cameras are also a fun option.
Electronics & Technology
The use of electronic devices, especially music players, on your trip may represent an intrusion into the wilderness experience of your fellow guests. We ask that you be mindful of the impacts to others and respect the wilderness nature of the trip. Please bring headphones if you intend to listen to music during the trip.
Many of our guests travel with their smartphone even though there is no cell service. On a trip like this, there is always the risk of water damage to smartphones and other electronic devices, even when they are stowed in a dry bag. If you intend to take your phone with you on the river, consider investing in a small, waterproof container just for your phone.
We are not able to provide a power source for recharging devices. To keep cameras, phones, GPS and other devices working you may need spare batteries or portable power. Options include compact portable solar panels that can recharge devices directly, portable power banks that store power, or a combo unit that can be charged before the trip and recharged with a built-in solar panel.
Once you are on the river, there is limited communication with the “outside world.” Cell phone service is not available. Our guides carry satellite phones which are strictly used to call out in case of an emergency situation on the river. They can call out, but we cannot call them. The trip leader will periodically check in with our office. If someone needs to contact you about an emergency at home, they should call our office (800-346-6277). If possible, we will relay the message to you. Keep in mind it could be several days before the message actually reaches you. For your family at home, before you depart on your trip you should define what you consider to be an emergency and provide them with instructions to call our office in the event one occurs during your vacation.
Weather & Water Conditions
The weather in Southern Oregon is quite favorable during the summer months. The days are long and typically dry, making for a pleasant journey. However, the weather in Southern Oregon is often unpredictable. Early and late season trips can bring a wider range of temperatures, and one should always be prepared for rain. Being properly prepared for weather variations is an important factor in fully enjoying your trip.
You may want to check one week prior to your trip for an up-to-date weather forecast. We recommend the following website for weather in Galice, Oregon: www.wunderground.com.
Average Air and Water Temperatures
|Air (Day) °F||Air (Night) °F||Water °F|
Our primary goal is for you to have an enjoyable experience. The nature of the trip is such that it involves some physical exertion and potential exposure to the elements, including cold water, heat, sun, wind and rain. We have experience accommodating people with a wide range of physical disabilities and/or health conditions. However, individuals who are overweight or lack conditioning can endanger themselves, other guests and the guides. Please consult your doctor if you have medical or health conditions that could impact your ability to participate in this outdoor adventure. In general, trip participants must be able to:
- Wear a Type V Coast Guard approved personal floatation devices (maximum chest size of 56 inches)
- Climb on and off the boats multiple times each day
- Navigate uneven terrain in camp and on hikes
- Paddle or hold on to the boat while navigating whitewater rapids
- Carry your own dry bags (20–30 lbs) from the boats to your camping location and back
- Self-rescue by swimming to a boat or to shore in the event of an involuntary swim in a whitewater rapid
- Self-rescue by climbing into a boat with the help of another person in the event of an involuntary swim in a whitewater rapid
Due to the physical nature of this trip, we highly recommend that you engage in regular exercise for at least three months prior to departure to ensure preparedness. No gym membership required! Simple exercises like push-ups, sit-ups and squats go a long way to improving core fitness. Start with these exercises and do three sets of ten repetitions each, three to four times per week. Aerobic training is also easy to accomplish without expensive equipment. Two or three times a week, take 30-40 minutes and go for a brisk walk, easy jog or bike ride around town. If you have access to a pool, lake or the ocean, swimming is obviously an ideal choice for aerobic exercise. It provides a full-body work-out and is training that may come in handy in the event of an involuntary swim in a whitewater rapid. It is important to push yourself in the months leading up to your trip by increasing your strength training repetitions and the pace of your aerobic training. Getting in shape will certainly add to your enjoyment of the trip.
Packing for Your Trip
During the day— Start with a swimsuit and/or swim trunks and synthetic or merino wool shirt as a base layer. Depending on the weather, temperature and how wet you’re getting in the rapids, additional layers for sun protection or insulation can be added or subtracted.
In camp – When the weather is warm, a pair of lightweight cotton pants or shorts and a shirt make great camp wear. Anytime the forecast calls for cool evenings and cold nights, a dry set of long underwear is the perfect base layer under long pants and a fleece sweater.
During the day— The best choice is an amphibious shoe that drains water, protects your toes and won’t come off in swirling current. A retired pair of athletic shoes can work well, too. Sport sandals with a heel strap are a good option. Find professional-grade options made by Chaco®, the official footwear sponsor of O.A.R.S. guides.
In camp— We recommend wearing shoes in camp due to risk of kicking a rock buried in the sand, or stepping on a sharp stick. It’s also nice to put on dry socks and shoes after a day on the water. The athletic shoes or light hikers you bring for hiking can double as your camp shoes. Flip flops or slip-on sandals are OK for wearing in camp only.
Please note: If you buy new shoes or sandals for the trip, make sure you break them in first!
During the day—Wide-brimmed hats are a good choice for sun protection. Ball camps are also useful since they fit under helmets, which are required attire when paddling our whitewater rivers.
In camp—When the weather is cool or cold, you’ll want a beanie-style hat to wear in camp. Warm hats are the perfect remedy for bed-head as you rise from your sleeping bag to secure your morning cup of coffee or tea, or for retaining warmth in the evening hours after the sun sets.
Hot Weather Trips
During summer months, conditions on the river may be hot and sunny. These trips require less gear than spring or fall trips, but thoughtful packing is still required. Protection from the sun and heat will be critical to your enjoyment and health while on the river and during side hikes. To protect yourself from the sun’s rays, consider bringing long-sleeved shirts and pants.
A good way to keep cool is with long-sleeved cotton shirts. Old collared dress shirts work well. They can be soaked in the water and worn in the raft or carried on a hike for later use. This method of evaporative cooling is very effective. Bandanas are another useful item that can be used in this manner.
Camp-wear should be made of cotton and be loose-fitting. A combination of shorts/skirt and a lightweight top is ideal for staying cool on hot afternoons.
To Avoid Being Cold
Synthetic or merino wool long underwear is a must-have on river trips. It can be worn under shorts, rain gear, T-shirts, etc., then stripped off when the chill of the morning has worn off. It keeps you warm even if it’s wet (which can happen easily), dries quickly, and it’s compact enough to be stuffed into your small waterproof bag or daypack after you take it off. It can be layered under your waterproof rain jacket and pants. In cooler weather, a rain jacket and pants can work better than a wetsuit. This is because the jacket and pants can be put on when it’s cold or when you’re going through whitewater then easily taken off when the sun comes out and it’s hot. On early-season and high-water trips, wetsuits will be provided for paddlers. After June 1st, wetsuits will be available by advance request only. Be aware that cotton items, once wet, do not insulate; only synthetic and wool materials will keep you warm during cool, wet weather.
Something warm for your top & bottom: You need to be prepared for inclement weather. Bring a good fleece or wool top and bottom, along with a warm hat and gloves. You’ll want to double up on your base layers so that you’ll have a set to wear in the boat and a set of warm, dry clothes for camp.
Raingear protects you from rain, wind, and the splash of the rapids. It is one of the essential items that all passengers should have no matter what time of year you are traveling. Look for jacket and pants that are 100% waterproof, not just water resistant. A hooded jacket is recommended. Good secure closures around your head, neck, wrists and ankles. Do not bring a rain poncho, as it cannot be worn under your PFD.
Protecting yourself from the sun should be taken very seriously. A hat, sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses are a must. In many cases, a long-sleeve shirt is the best method for preventing sunburn on your upper body. Light-weight long pants may also be appropriate to protect your legs.
Bugs & Mosquitoes
Bugs and mosquitoes vary depending on location and time of year. It’s a good idea to come prepared with insect repellent. Long sleeved shirts and pants may be desirable at times.
You can either bring your own sleeping bag, pad and ground tarp, or you can rent our sleep kit. If you are purchasing your own bag for the trip, keep in mind that a synthetic-fill bag rated to 20°F (the normal range for an all-around, “three-season” bag) is recommended for early and late season trips.
Suggested Packing List
Equipment and Personal Items:
☐ Sleeping bag, pad, sheet liner, small pillow, 5×7-foot tarp. Sleep kits including these items may be rented for $40. (For trips in April/May/early-June we suggest a synthetic-fill bag rated to 20°F.)
☐ Two 1-liter water bottles: durable and reusable, if you have them; empty soft drink bottles work fine if you don’t
☐ Headlamp or flashlight (consider bringing extra batteries)
☐ Sunglasses (preferably polarized) with securing strap (consider bringing a spare)
☐ Small, quick-drying towel
☐ Toiletries, including soap and shampoo (preferably biodegradable)
☐ Sunscreen and lip protection: waterproof & SPF 30 or higher (aerosol sprays not recommended)
☐ Moisturizing lotion or cream
☐ Insect repellent
☐ Personal first aid kit (Band-aids, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, moleskin, eye drops, etc.)
☐ Spare pair of glasses and/or contacts
☐ Cash for gratuities
☐ River shoes or sandals with a heel strap (such as those made by Chaco® “Aqua socks” strongly discouraged
☐ Athletic Shoes or light hikers: for hikes or in camp
☐ Socks: Wool or synthetic for the river and hiking; cotton is ok for camp
☐ Long-sleeved shirt and pants: lightweight and light color for sun protection (old dress shirts work well)
☐ Long pants: lightweight and light color for sun protection
☐ Shade hat or visor with securing strap – flexible enough to wear underneath your helmet
☐ Rain jacket & pants: waterproof (not water resistant). A hooded jacket with secure closures is recommended.
☐ Swimsuit; a two-piece is recommended for women for changing and using the restroom. Tankinis are a great option.
☐ Shorts: 1-2 pair
☐ T-shirts/tops: 1-2
☐ Synthetic or merino wool long underwear: 1 set top & bottom (light-, mid- or expedition-weight depending on the time of year, weather, location)
☐ Jacket: fleece or down/synthetic fill puffy (depending on the time of year, weather, location)
☐ Camp clothes: comfortable and appropriate for season. Cotton recommended for hot weather trips
Additional Essentials for Spring trips (April / May / early June):
☐ Wetsuit booties and/or neoprene, wool or synthetic socks (for wearing inside your river shoes)
☐ Fleece top & bottom
☐ Warm hat and gloves: synthetic or wool
☐ Extra set of synthetic or merino wool long underwear top and bottom
☐ Neoprene paddling gloves
☐ Camera and accessories
☐ Sarong: useful for sun protection/changing clothes
☐ Small day pack, waist pack or hydration pack for side hikes
☐ Bathing wipes: pre-moistened disposable towels
☐ Plastic bags: for separating dirty clothes from clean
☐ Ear plugs
☐ Splash jacket and pants
☐ Lightweight cord and clothespins for drying clothes
☐ Sketchbook, notebook and pen, paperback book
☐ Female Urinary Device (for women only)
Find all the gear you need for your trip online in the OARStore and receive FREE SHIPPING in the U.S. + 15% of your purchase helps provide disadvantaged youth with outdoor adventure experiences.
Packing Your Gear
At the pre-trip meeting, each person will be given two large waterproof bags (approximate sealed size: 25” tall x 13” diameter). One bag will be for your clothing and personal items. The second bag will be for your sleeping gear (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, ground tarp, sheet and pillow). These two bags will essentially be your “checked luggage” and will only be accessible in camp. Tents are stowed separately. Please note: If you rent a sleep kit from us, it will come pre-packed in one of the two waterproof bags. This pre-packed bag will already be loaded onto a raft and will not be available to you at the time you are issued your second waterproof bag.
We also provide one small, shared waterproof bag per raft for day use where you can keep items such as raingear, camera, sunscreen, lip balm, etc. (approximate sealed size: 17” tall x 9” diameter). All bags are cylindrical in shape and pack from the top. Please pack light; river attire is very casual―comfort, convenience and boat space takes precedence over style. At the end of the trip you will return to Morrison’s Lodge with your packed waterproof bags where you will be able to unpack your gear for your return trip home.
If you have extra luggage, it should be locked in your car or stored at your hotel.
We recommend you leave your valuables at home. For personal items like wallets, purses and cell phones, we recommend leaving them in your car.
If you feel your guides have provided a very special trip for you, you may leave a gratuity with the trip leader to be shared among the crew. This tip is entirely at your discretion, though we recommend a general tipping guideline of anything between 8% and 12% of trip cost. If you plan to tip, remember to bring a personal check or cash—ATMs are hard to find in the backcountry!
In reviewing your statement, you’ll note a $1/person/day donation to American Rivers, a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to Wild and Scenic Rivers. One-hundred percent of these funds go directly to American Rivers, and your contribution is tax-deductible. This donation is voluntary and may be removed from your invoice if you choose not to participate. Please notify our office if you would prefer to delete the donation from your balance.
If you enjoyed your trip, consider donating to the O.A.R.S. Foundation. This organization is a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 organization with the express goal of providing opportunities for young people to experience the magic of the outdoors. Visit www.oarsfoundation.org to learn more about how a tax-deductible donation can change young lives for the better.
Shop for the latest in top-quality gear for your trip
Recommended reading list
O.A.R.S. practices Leave No Trace outdoor ethics
Watch our “How To Pack For A River Trip” video
Additional information about the area
Whitewater Orientation video & CROA Safety Video
Terms & Conditions
Reservations and Deposits
A $250/person deposit is required at the time of reservation. The balance is due 60 days prior to departure.
Cancellations and Refunds
If you find it necessary to cancel your trip, please notify us as soon as possible. The cancellation fee after you’ve made your deposit can range up to the entire trip cost, based upon the number of days prior to your trip that we receive your cancellation notice. We regret we cannot make exceptions for personal emergencies. For this reason, we strongly urge you to investigate trip insurance (see Insurance section below).
Cancellations 60 days or more prior to your trip earn a full refund less a $100/person fee. Cancellations 59 days or less prior to your trip are not refundable.
If you transfer from one trip to another, there is a $50/person charge up until 60 days before the trip. Transfers made after this time will be treated as cancellations.
Under most circumstances, if you are of an adventurous spirit and in reasonably good health, you should have no problem enjoying an O.A.R.S. trip. People with medical conditions, including pregnancy, should have a physician’s approval before taking an adventure travel trip.
We strongly recommend that you protect yourself, your belongings and your vacation through the purchase of a travel insurance plan. They cover your non-refundable payments in most cases, should you have to cancel your trip due to illness or injury—yours or that of an extended family member—even at the last minute. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, pre-existing medical conditions may be covered. No one wants an expensive helicopter to become necessary, but if you need to be evacuated or if an immediate family member dies and the local management agency is requested to notify you by helicopter, the helicopter expenses will be your responsibility. Evacuations can be prolonged, difficult and expensive. Personal belongings and cameras are carried entirely at the owner’s risk, and O.A.R.S. accepts no responsibility for lost, damaged, delayed or stolen property. You can protect yourself through Travel Insurance Services or with alternative insurance. Call Travel Insurance Services at 800-937-1387 or visit their website at travelinsure.com/cobrand/OARS.
Everyone is required to sign a standard liability release form before the trip, acknowledging awareness that there are inherent risks that are associated with the trip. Due to the nature of the activities, a condition of your participation is that you will sign this form and return it to our office before the trip begins. Anyone who refuses to sign the form will not be allowed to participate, and consistent with O.A.R.S. cancellation policy, there will be no refund of the trip fees at that time.
Responsibility – An Important Notice
O.A.R.S. West, Inc. and cooperating agencies act only in the capacity of agent for the participants in all matters relating to transportation and/or all other related travel services, and assume no responsibility however caused for injury, loss or damage to person or property in connection with any service, including but not limited to that resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, detention, annoyance, delays and expenses arising from quarantine, strikes, theft, pilferage, force majeure, failure of any means of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulations, and discrepancies or change in transit over which it has no control. Reasonable changes in itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and well being of the participants, including cancellation due to water fluctuation, insufficient bookings (this trip requires a minimum of 4 guests), and other factors. There is risk in whitewater rafting, particularly during high-water conditions. Rafts, dories and kayaks do capsize. You could be swept overboard. Your guide will make every attempt to assist, but you must be strong and agile enough to “self-help” and “float-it-out” without further endangering yourself or others. We reserve the right not to accept passengers weighing more than 260 pounds or with a waist/chest size exceeding 56 inches. We are experienced at accommodating people with various disabilities. Please give us an opportunity to make you feel welcome. We need to discuss any special requirements ahead of time. We may decide, at any time, to exclude any person or group for any reason we feel is related to the safety of our trips. On advancement of deposit the depositor agrees to be bound by the above recited terms and conditions. Prices subject to change without notice.