|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 Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge|
|RIVER RATING:||Class III|
|PUT-IN:||Almeda Bar or nearby launch site|
|TRIP LENGTH:||3 days/2 nights, 4 days/3 nights or 5 days/4 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 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 an up-close and personal encounter with the rapids of the Rogue. Your trip will surely be witnessed, whether you know it or not, by the abundant wildlife living onshore. The most common 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. Indeed, this river canyon is the birdwatcher’s as well as fisherman’s delight. As for the accommodations, we will make camp on one of the many sandy beaches that line the river. Inside a tent or under the starry night sky, you’ll sleep soundly, serenaded by boisterous crickets and the rush of the passing river.
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’ll meet at 6:00 PM in the lobby of the Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge in Merlin, OR for a pre-trip meeting. This is an opportunity to meet your fellow travelers and trip leader and ask any last-minute questions. Your trip leader will give you a thorough trip orientation and pass out waterproof river bags so that you can pack your belongings that evening. Your trip leader will also reconfirm the time to meet at Morrison’s the following morning to catch the transfer to the launch point.
You will be transferred from Morrison’s Lodge to the put-in, which is just a short drive down the road. Here, you’ll meet the rest of your guides at the boat ramp 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. The canyon walls rise up around you, heightening the sense of isolation from the outside world. After a few small rapids, you’ll probably notice that appetites on river trips are larger than those at home; lunch barely comes soon enough. The afternoon brings us to exciting Rainie Falls—the first real test of our whitewater skills. Below Rainie, it won’t be long till we set up camp on a sandy beach. While the guides prepare dinner, you’ll have time to have a short hike, explore the wooded terrain, read a good book, or just relax.
Days 2–5 (Depending on trip length)
Each morning, the early risers will be greeted at 7:00 AM with hot coffee, tea and cocoa; the group wake-up call comes about 7:30 AM, and breakfast is served around 8:00 AM. After you pack your belongings, you’ll 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. These boats are a kick, even in the smallest rapids. Your guides will give you pointers on navigation and soon river lingo like “eddy,” “ferry angle” and “river right” will be part of your vocabulary. The first day includes lots of action through many Class II and III rapids, and we might try for a short hike up a lush side canyon. Most days, we’ll get to camp sometime before 4:00 PM.
As we continue down the canyon, we will take time to enjoy the beauty and history the Rogue has to offer. Perhaps we will stop at the Historic Rogue River Ranch, the BLM maintained museum of human history offering insights into the canyon’s past. It’s just a few minutes’ walk from the river. The Rogue also features highlights such as the sheer rock walls and deep rolling currents of Mule Creek Canyon, and the exceptionally challenging rapid called Blossom Bar, which is followed by tranquil Huggin’s Canyon.
There is a possible layover day on a 5-day trip. Your guides might let you sleep in, but everybody knows the dawning hours are the best in which to catch a fish, take a brisk hike or paint the sunrise. Your guides will offer activities for the day, which may include voluntary swimming, hiking up a side creek, experiencing the natural water slide at Tate Creek, or visiting the enchanted Brushy Bar Forest. Those who choose to stay at camp may like to take out books, diaries or sketchbooks and enjoy some peaceful “alone-time.” Others may try their luck with their fly rod.
Breakfast is just as hearty on the last day as it was on the first morning. Leaving camp is bittersweet—you might not be quite ready for civilization again, but a hot shower will sound pretty good! A few guests may practice their newfound rowing skills on the last day while the guides keep their eyes peeled for the elusive bald eagles that inhabit the final section of the river canyon. After lunch, we have a short float to our take-out point at Foster Bar, where we’ll arrive around 2:00 PM. We’ll pack up the vans and then relax for the scenic, 2-3 hour mountain drive back to Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge. You should arrive before 6:00 PM.
Included in Your Trip Cost
- Skilled, professional guide service
- All meals from lunch on day 1 through lunch on the final day, with limited beer & wine at dinner
- 2, 3, or 4 nights catered camping depending on your trip length
- Expedition equipment, including 2-person shared tent, splash jacket (spring and cold weather trips only) and waterproof bags
- 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 gear it will come already packed in one of the two waterproof bags. Your remaining gear, therefore, must fit in one bag.
- One small waterproof bag for 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)
- Personal flotation device (PFD) which must be worn at all times on the river in compliance with safety regulations
- Camp chairsEating utensils, cups and plates
- Highest quality inflatable rafts and related equipment
- Transfers from Morrison’s Lodge to the river and back
- Wetsuit–weather dependent (does not include footwear of any kind, including wetsuit booties).
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
- Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals
- Rogue River Access Fee
- Sleeping bag & sleeping pad (these items may be rented from O.A.R.S.)
- Single supplement to guarantee use of a single tent ($30)
- Insurance of any kind, including travel insurance
- Items of 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.
- 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
☐ Consider Purchasing Travel Protection: Help to protect yourself, your belongings, and your vacation with the purchase of a short-term Travel Protection Plan. A Travel Protection Plan can help cover your non-refundable payments should you have to cancel your trip due to a covered illness or injury. Because we begin working to prepare for your trip upon receipt of your deposit, and may be turning other prospective guests away while holding space for you, there are cancellation fees that will apply regardless of why or when you might need to cancel. The cost for the optional Travel Protection is listed on your trip invoice. All Plan Benefits are administered by Trip Mate, Inc. (in CA & UT, dba Trip Mate Insurance Agency). For a complete description of Trip Mate’s Plan online go to: http://www.tripmate.com/wpF431Y or call Trip Mate at 800-888-7292 (reference Plan # F431Y).
☐ 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.
Wilderness Gourmet: For those with a palate for great food, exquisite wine and adventure, the O.A.R.S. Wilderness Gourmet Series brings a traditional culinary classroom setting to the river. O.A.R.S.’ guest chefs have years of experience preparing delectable cuisine both on and off the river and invite you to share the adventure while learning a thing or two from the experts.
Wine on the River: Our wine trips offer an elegant alternative to our regular departures, and combine mouth-watering menus and award-winning wines with the appeal of the wilds. After each day of river rafting, enjoy gourmet meals and premium wines introduced by regional experts. The wines are carefully chosen to complement the bill of fare each night, and each winery brings its own personality to the river, where tastings can turn into blending seminars or informative discussions of Old World versus New World wine making. Rest assured that these trips inevitably result in an outrageously good time.
Craft Beer Tasting on the River: Our Craft Beer Tasting trips combine mouthwatering menus prepared by an executive chef with beer (and wine) carefully chosen to complement each night’s menu. Maybe it’s just because beer is mostly water and paddling through exhilarating rapids can leave you parched, but we think you’ll agree that enjoying hand-selected micros-brews on the banks of a river is about as good as it gets.
After each active day on the river, we pull ashore to camp 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 locate an area on the beach to camp for the night. On the first night in camp, a crew member will give a demonstration on setting up a tent, which you’ll see is quick and easy to do. The guides will set up the kitchen and central dining/seating area with camp chairs. They will also locate a secluded area away from camp to set up the portable toilet.
As dinner is prepared by the guides, you might enjoy some hors d’oeuvres while you have an opportunity to relax, enjoy a drink if you wish, and reflect on the day with your fellow traveling companions.
In the morning, the first wake-up call will let you know that coffee, hot water for tea or cocoa, juice, fresh fruit and cold cereal are ready on the hors d’oeuvres table. You can fill your mug and grab a bite, then begin to pack up your personal belongings and sleep gear as the guides prepare a hearty breakfast. After breakfast is served, the entire camp will be broken down and packing will be completed. 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
We provide plenty of water and lemonade throughout the trip. While on the river, we provide one soda per person per day along with a limited supply of beer and wine. You are welcome to bring your own favorite beverages, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, in non-glass containers. If you choose to bring additional beverages, please let us know in advance. For your safety and the safety of others, alcoholic beverages are limited camp.
*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 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 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
☐ 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: 13” diameter x 25” tall). 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 our sleep kit, it will come already packed in one of the two waterproof bags issued to each passenger. We also provide a small waterproof bag per person for day use, where you can keep items such as raingear, camera, sunscreen, lip balm, etc. (approximate sealed size: 17” tall x 9” diameter). The bags are cylindrical 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 consider purchasing a travel protection plan (see Travel Protection).
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.
For those unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we offer an optional Travel Protection Plan from Trip Mate, Inc. (in CA & UT, dba Trip Mate Insurance Agency) that can help protect you, your travel investment and your belongings. Should you have to cancel your trip due to illness or injury – your own or that of an immediate family member – non-refundable payments may be covered by a travel protection plan (see Cancellations and Refunds). For a complete description of Trip Mate’s Plan online go to: www.tripmate.com/wpF431Y or call Trip Mate at 800-888-7292 (reference Plan #F431Y). Please Note: Purchase this Plan within 14 days of the date we receive your initial deposit and the exclusion for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions will be waived, provided you are not disabled from travel at the time the plan is purchased.
Liability Release / Acknowledgement of Risk
Everyone is required to sign a standard liability release/acknowledgement of risk form before the trip, acknowledging awareness that there are inherent risks 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 wellbeing 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 may decide, at any time, to exclude any person or group for any reason we feel is related to the safety of our trips. 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. On advancement of deposit the depositor agrees to be bound by the above recited terms and conditions. Prices subject to change without notice.