|MEETING PLACE:||Whitewater Cowboys, 210 Merlin Rd, Merlin, OR 97532|
|MEETING TIME:||5:30 PM, the evening before your trip|
|RETURN TIME:||Approximately 6:00 PM to Galice Resort|
|HIKER RATING:||Moderately strenuous|
|MILES COVERED:||Up to 40 (5-12 per day)|
|RIVER SECTION:||Wild & Scenic section: Grave Creek to Big Bend (Near Foster Bar)|
|TRIP LENGTH:||5 days / 4 nights or 4 days/ 3 nights|
|AGE LIMIT:||Minimum age is 12|
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 5:30pm for a pre-trip meeting at Whitewater Cowboys in Merlin, OR. They are located in “Downtown” Merlin and are walking distance to a couple restaurants, a gas station, and a convenience store. The pre-trip meeting 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 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 Galice Resort the following morning, usually 9 AM, to catch the transfer to the trailhead.
Around 9 AM, you will be transferred from Galice Resort to our starting point at Grave Creek trailhead on the Rogue River. The support rafts will be waiting for us there. We will pack our lunch, load our gear onto the boats, and talk about trail safety. The first five miles of the trail are quite rocky, with dramatic river views. We’ll pass by Rainie Falls, a narrow zone of extremely durable amphibolite, an erosion-resistant material which has created the unique rapid. We’ll stop to check out Whiskey Creek cabin. On the 5-day trip, we’ll likely set up camp next to Tyee rapids after a shorter day of only 5 miles. On our 4-day trip, we’ll attempt to camp around the Horseshoe bend area and our first day will be about 11 miles. As with all days, guests can choose to either hike or raft to camp. Once at camp, the guides will prepare dinner while you have time to explore the wooded terrain, take a swim or just relax with a good book.
Day 2 or Days 2-3, depending on you trip length
For the early risers in the group, hot coffee, tea and cocoa will be ready around 6:30 AM. A wake-up call comes shortly after, and breakfast is served. After you pack up your belongings, you’ll have some time to prepare your bagged lunch for the day while camp is broken down and the boats are loaded. We’ll discuss places the trail and river meet, so you can decide how much you’d like to hike today. Our breaks and lunch stops will usually be enjoyed alongside one of the numerous, beautiful side creeks.
On route, we’ll pass by historic Battle Bar, named after a fight between Colonel Kelsey’s Calvary on the north bank and a band of Takelma Indians on the south bank. We’ll also pass Zane Grey’s. We’ll likely overnight at Mule Creek Camp, named in the summer of 1852 when a company of soldiers from Fort Orford tried to open a trail along the Rogue. A member of the party later related that a Lt. R.S. Williamson rode a mule named John. When the mule was turned loose to graze near the stream, it wandered off and was not found despite a thorough search. Because of this incident, the stream was named John Mule Creek, but later shortened to Mule Creek. The tale ended happily several years later when Williamson found his mule.
Day 3 or 4, depending on your trip length
While camped at Mule Creek, a five-minute walk brings us to Rogue River Ranch. Once a major Rogue River Indian habitation site, the area has enjoyed a rich human history for over 9,000 years. We’ll visit the ranch museum to learn more about Native American and early white settlement in this area. Alternatively, you can get out your book, diary or sketchbook and spend some peaceful “alone-time” on the river bank. This is also a good time to relax, play cards or go for a swim.
After Mule Creek, the trail is relatively flat as we pass through Mule Creek Canyon. We’ll pause at Inspiration Point, overlooking Stair Creek Falls. The trail is on a narrow ledge high on the ridge. Occasionally, hikers with vertigo struggle with this section. (If this may be an issue for you, please contact us.) Below we can see deep, cool pools where salmon gather in the summer. We’ll pass Blossom Bar, named after the wild azaleas that bloom here. We’ll enjoy lunch at the picnic tables at Paradise Lodge. There will be a chance to purchase a cold drink or perhaps ice cream from the lodge store if you wish. After lunch, our trail leads us through the lovely Huggins Canyon and enchanted Brushy Bar. Another two miles brings us to Camp Tacoma, named after a mining operation from Tacoma, Washington.
Last Day (4 or 5, depending on your trip length)
Leaving camp on the last day is bittersweet—we’re not quite ready for civilization again, but a hot shower sounds pretty nice. We have only 6-8 miles to go before we’ll reach the trail’s end. Most guests elect to raft on the last day because the trail is less connected to the river, there are big ascents and descents, and the trail passes through pasture land. On the river, keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles that inhabit this section of the river canyon. We’ll pass Flora Dell Creek with its punchbowl waterfall that plunges over a 30-foot shear wall into a deep, trailside pool. Once at our take-out, Foster Bar, we’ll pack up the vans and then relax for the scenic, 2-4 hour mountain drive back to Galice Resort. You should arrive before 6:00 PM.
Although the Rogue River Trail is only moderately strenuous overall, it is at times steep, rocky and narrow with exposed sections; therefore, it is not recommended for people who have a fear of heights or children under the age of 12 years. If you plan to hike full-time, please be prepared for full days of hiking, and be aware that gym workouts or flat land walking are generally easier than wilderness hiking.
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.
- 3-4 nights catered camping, depending on the length of your trip
- Two waterproof bags to hold your gear for the trip (approximate sealed size: 13” diameter x 25” tall; 3318 cu in; 54.4 L). 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.
- Two-person tents, based on double occupancy. Solo travelers and odd numbers on the booking will have their own tent (no additional cost) and will not need to share. Extra tents can be rented for $30 each
- 12-ounce insulated Klean Kanteen with Café Lid to use for drinks in camp
- Camp chairs
- Eating utensils, cups and plates
- High-quality inflatable rafts for trip support
- Transfers from Galice Resort to the river and back
What’s Not Included?
- Transportation to and from Galice Resort / Whitewater Cowboys
- Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals
- Rogue River Access Fee
- Sleeping bag & a deluxe 3-inch thick sleeping pad (these items may be rented from OARS)
- Insurance of any kind, including a travel protection plan
- Items of personal nature (see suggested packing list below)
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 with sheet liner, deluxe 3-inch air-filled sleeping pad, ground tarp, sheet, pillow and pillowcase.
- Sleeping Pad Only: The deluxe 3-inch thick 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 in your group. If you are traveling alone, or your travel group contains an odd number of people, you will still be provided a tent and will not have to share a tent with anyone who is not a member of your group.
- Extra Tent: Can be rented for $30 per tent.
TRIP PREPARATION CHECKLIST
☐ Consider Purchasing Travel Protection: For complete details and to purchase the plan we highly recommend, visit: https://www.oars.com/tpp
☐ 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 and can meet our essential eligibility requirements.
☐ 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 5:30 PM at Whitewater Cowboys 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 Galice Resort the following morning and give you an opportunity to ask any last-minute questions.
Click here for a Google map.
Getting to Merlin
|Medford to Merlin||37 miles (45 minutes)|
|Portland to Merlin||240 miles (4 hours)|
|Sacramento to Merlin||344 miles (6 hours)|
If you’re arriving by car, parking is available at Galice Resort.
OARS cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage to vehicles or their contents.
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 Galice Resort.
Whitewater Cowboys offers a shuttle service to shuttle your vehicle to our takeout location at Foster Bar. Airport rides can be arranged through Uber or Lyft.
- Whitewater Cowboys – 1-541-238-5969
- Lyft or Uber
- Cascade Shuttle – (541)-488-1998
- Double “D” Taxi – (541) 476-7773
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 Galice Resort at approximately 6:00 PM.
Please note: If you are planning to visit the Oregon Coast following your trip, or looking to limit your time spent in a van with other people, 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. (If you are headed to the OR coast after your trip, 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 Galice Resort to the take-out at Foster Bar. You will arrive at Foster Bar between 2 and 3 PM. Whitewater Cowboys can arrange this car shuttle service for you. Please contact Whitewater Cowboys directly with your questions.
Please contact us before your trip to alert us that you plan to make arrangements to have your car shuttled to Foster Bar. Logistics are easiest with a duplicate set of car keys.
Pre- and Post-Trip Accommodations
We recommend that you make reservations well in advance in order to guarantee lodging. Pre- and post-trip lodging is not included in the trip cost.
- Galice Resort (541) 476-3818
- Buona Sera Inn (541) 476-4260
- Shilo Inn (541) 479-8391
- Best Western Inn (541) 582-2200
- Holiday Inn Express (541) 471-6144
- Hampton Inn and Suites (541) 474-5690
- La Quinta Inn and Suites (541) 472-0152
- 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.
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 an upstream dam; 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.
The number and variety of boats on an OARS trip will vary based on water levels, the number of participants and other factors we take into account when planning your adventure. Please be aware that in doing so we will ask you to share boat time with your fellow travelers. We don’t assign boats, nor can we guarantee exactly which crafts 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 experience:
Oar Raft, Inflatable Kayak
Learn more about the boats on your trip at https://www.oars.com/experience/boats/
After each active day on the trail, we will meet our gear boat at our camp for the evening. Upon arrival, individuals will collect their waterproof bags and locate an area on the beach to set up tents. The first night, a crew member will give a demonstration on setting up a tent, which you’ll see is quick and easy. 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, hors d’oeuvres will be served and you will 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 hot breakfast. After breakfast is served, we’ll pack lunches for the trail. Then, the entire camp will be broken down and packing will be completed. The gear will then be loaded onto the boats and we’ll continue our trek 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 salad, a 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 food allergies or restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. However, there may be a supplemental menu fee ranging from $5-25 per person per day to cover our 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. Similarly, certain allergen-free snack foods are difficult or impossible to source in our locations, so feel free to bring your own favorite snacks to supplement our provisions. Please let your Adventure Consultant know if you intend to do so.
We cannot guarantee that cross-contamination from allergens will not occur during meal prep, and reserve the right to refuse service to anyone as it relates to safety, including the potential for a medical emergency caused by a severe food allergy. Also, due to the constraints of cooking for a large group in a wilderness setting, availability of ingredients or specialty items in remote locations, and limited packing space, we are unable to cater to dietary preferences (likes or dislikes).
Beverages / Alcohol
For kids, we provide ample amounts of water and juice, plus their choice of one canned beverage (soda, specialty juice, or sparkling water) per day. Adults are also provided with ample amounts of water and juice, plus their choice of two canned beverages per day (soda, specialty juice, sparkling water, or beer). For adults, we will also supply those who are interested with a glass of wine at dinner. 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, alcoholic beverages are limited to camp.
OARS is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our guests and for our staff. We ask that smoking of any kind be done away and downwind from other trip participants.
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 OARS 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 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.)
Be prepared to hike between 5-12 miles each day, under varying trail conditions. Most of the Rogue River Trail is well constructed and has moderate grades. The group will hit the trail each morning after a hearty breakfast and a bottomless cup of coffee or tea. During the day, you will need to carry your lunch, drinking water, camera gear, and spare clothing such as rain gear or long underwear, depending on weather conditions. All other gear will be shuttled downriver, from camp to camp, by OARS crew in our rafts. We have one guide designated as trail lead on smaller trips and, on larger trips, we have one guide designated as trail lead and also one guide designated as trail sweep. We strongly encourage you to be aerobically fit, have comfortable, broken-in hiking shoes with socks, and bring a good pack.
The Rogue River trail traverses varied terrain. Some sections of the trail cross over uneven bedrock and are very rugged, some sections are easy-walking on dirt trails, and some sections of the trail are narrow and cut into steep scree slopes that often slide.
For those not wishing to hike the entire trail, riding in a raft is an option. Each day, the trip leader will discuss the trail’s terrain, segment lengths, and options for switching into or out of the rafts throughout the day. If you have a member of your group who is not an avid hiker, we can accommodate.
The Rogue River Trail has some thick sections of poison oak. If you are highly allergic, please plan to wear long pants for extra protection. Bring soap or Tecnu to wash away the plant’s poisonous oils that may be left on your skin or clothing from accidental contact with this plant. Depending on the spring weather and amount of trail maintenance that the BLM/FS has done, there may be sections of trail where contact with poison oak is unavoidable.
In the spring and fall, 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. Anyone over the age of 12 who is fishing (or is helping someone under the age of 12 to fish) must have a valid Oregon fishing license with steelhead and salmon tags. You may purchase an adult, three-day angling license, which includes the combined angling tags for salmon and steelhead for $54.50. To find out more about the fishing licenses available, please visit: https://myodfw.com/fishing/licensing-info
Fishing licenses may be purchased online here: https://odfw.huntfishoregon.com/login or in-person at a licensed vendor. They are not available for purchase over the phone.
For Oregon fishing regulations, please visit: http://www.eregulations.com/oregon/fishing/license-information/
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.
Along the Rogue River Trail there are a few places that have public pit toilets available for use. 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.
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 antibacterial 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.
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. We provide some menstrual products on most trips for emergencies.
While on the trail, you may wish to place your camera in a zip-lock plastic bag or waterproof casing for extra protection. We 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.
Electronics & Technology
The use of electronic devices, especially music players and flying drones, 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 and leave your drone at home.
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 case just for your phone.
We are not able to provide a power source for powering or recharging devices. To keep cameras, phones, GPS, a CPAP 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. Solar panels must be designed to withstand outdoor elements and fit in your dry bag (roll-up or no larger than 12” x 12”). Keep in mind direct sunlight in a river canyon may be limited and even non-existent at camp (mornings and evenings).
Once you are on the river, there is limited communication with the “outside world.” Cell phone service is not available. Our guides carry a satellite communication device for emergency use. 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 or longer before the message actually reaches you. For your family at home, you should define for them what you consider an emergency and provide them with instructions to call our office in the event one occurs during your vacation.
Wildfires & Smoke
Fire activity frequently impacts the air quality on our trips, and occasionally wildfires may be present in the immediate vicinity of where we’re traveling. Smoke impacts are more likely in the latter-half of the summer season, so those with asthma or other respiratory conditions may wish to steer clear of this time frame. In general, we will not cancel a trip on account of smoky conditions, except in cases of clear danger to life or property. Necessary changes to logistics and/or destination may occur with very short notice as fire conditions are constantly changing. We will do our best to keep you apprised of excessively smoky conditions that can be foreseen for your upcoming trip, but we also encourage you to stay informed about local fire activity: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/
Our standard cancellation terms & conditions apply, should you choose to cancel due to environmental conditions resulting from a wildfire near to where our trip operates. Please review our Terms & Conditions section in this document, below. Furthermore, we recommend you consider investing in a comprehensive Travel Protection Plan that provides you the ability to “cancel for any reason”, should you feel conditions from a nearby wildfire may result in you canceling your reservation.
Our guides do not carry firearms on our trips, and in most cases are prohibited from doing so by the managing agency. As a matter of preference, we ask all our guests to kindly leave your own firearms at home or in your vehicle.
If you require the use of a CPAP machine and intend to bring one with you, be sure to alert your OARS Adventure Consultant prior to your trip to let us know the dimensions of the machine, description of battery(s), and any protective case(s). Travel-sized CPAP’s are readily available and often come with a battery kit. You must assess the power needs of your CPAP and bring the battery(s) needed to operate it for each night of your travels. We’re able to accommodate the transportation of your machine and accessories on the trip in metal dry boxes or soft dry bags; however, please understand that despite efforts to protect your equipment we can’t guarantee your machine and accessories won’t suffer water or impact damage and therefore we recommend additional protective case(s) for your machine & accessories.
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|
Hiking & River Runners Responsibility Code
- Read the pre-trip literature and arrive at the meeting place on time.
- Understand the risks: your safety is ultimately your responsibility.
- Treat your fellow guests and guides with respect and courtesy; harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.
- Wear clothing and personal protective equipment suitable for the current conditions.
- Listen to and follow the guides’ instructions.
- Abide by the managing agency’s rules.
- No drugs or alcohol prior to, or during, your trip; alcohol is allowed in moderation in camp on overnight trips.
- Minimize your impact on the environment.
- Wear the OARS-issued and properly–fitted Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at all times when in the boats or swimming. Wear a helmet when required.
- Your children are your responsibility!
Packing for Your Trip
Click on this link for helpful information about packing for your trip: https://www.oars.com/video/pack-river-rafting-trip/
The information below is subject to when your trip takes place. The need for warm weather or cold weather items should be based on a reliable weather forecast leading up to your trip.
During the day – Start with sunscreen, shorts or long pants (convertible pants are great), and long-sleeved shirt. Add additional layers of synthetic or merino wool long underwear, socks, rain pants and rain jacket depending on the time of year and weather. In the morning it can be cool. As the day warms up, layers can be taken off and stored in your day pack.
In camp – After a long day on the trail you may want to refresh and change into clean, comfortable clothing. Soft, loose-fitting shorts or pants, t-shirts, etc., will allow you to truly relax in the evening. For spring and fall trips, you will want to have something dry and warm, such as long sleeved shirts, pants and fleece.
During the day – Footwear will make or break your trip. For daily wear on the trail, you will want a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or boots with good support and soles.
In camp – a second pair of shoes or sandals to change into at camp will give your feet a break from your trail shoes. As many hikers like to bathe at camp, consider river sandals as your camp shoes. Find professional-grade options made by Chaco®, the official footwear sponsor of OARS guides.
Please note: If you plan to buy footwear for the trip, make sure you get it far enough in advance to break it in and wear your footwear until it’s comfy—if your feet hurt, you won’t enjoy the trip!
During the day – Wide-brimmed hats or ball caps are a good choice for sun protection.
In camp – When the weather is cool or cold, you’ll want a beanie-style hat to wear in camp. They 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.
To Avoid Being Cold
Synthetic or merino wool long underwear is a must-have on 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, dries quickly, and it’s compact enough to be stuffed into your day pack after you take it off. It can be layered under your waterproof rain jacket and pants. Be aware that cotton items, once wet, do not insulate; only synthetic and wool materials will keep you warm during cool, wet weather.
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 synthetic layers so that you’ll have a set to wear on the trail and a set of warm, dry clothes for camp.
Raingear protects you from rain and wind. It is one of the essential items that all guests should have no matter what time of year you are traveling. Look for a jacket and pants that are 100% waterproof, not just water resistant. A hooded jacket is recommended, as well as good secure closures around your head, neck, wrists and ankles. Do not bring a rain poncho as it cannot be worn under your PFD (Personal Flotation Device) if you need to ride on the raft for any reason.
Protecting yourself from the sun should be taken very seriously! 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.
A hat, sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses are also a must. Rheos, the official sunglasses sponsor of OARS guides, offers polarized floatable nautical eyewear with 100% UV protection. Use promo code OARS15 to save 15% on any purchase from The Nautical Eyewear Collection.
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 May/early-June, we suggest a synthetic-fill bag rated to 20°F)
☐ For hikers: Backpack/Hydration pack: it should be large enough to carry water, lunch, camera, and rain gear, as well as a warm layer of clothing (750–2000 in3 recommended)
☐ Two 1-liter water bottles, insulated bottles recommended for trips in hot climates to prevent water from becoming too hot to drink
☐ Headlamp or flashlight (consider bringing extra batteries)
☐ Sunglasses (preferably polarized such as Rheos floatable eyewear www.rheosgear.com) (consider bringing a spare)
☐ Small, quick-drying towel
☐ Hand sanitizer
☐ 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
☐ Hiking boots or light hikers
☐ Comfortable shoes and/or river shoes (such as those made by Chaco®) for camp)
☐ Hiking socks
☐ Long-sleeved shirts: 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.
☐ Swimwear; a two-piece is recommended for women for changing and using the restroom. Tankinis and board shorts 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. Some may prefer an athletic skirt or dress
☐ Walking stick or trekking poles
☐ Camera and accessories
☐ Solar shower
☐ Sarong: useful for sun protection, evaporative cooling, changing clothes, etc.
☐ Small day pack, waist pack or hydration pack for side hikes
☐ Bathing wipes: pre-moistened disposable towels
☐ Small bags: stuff sacs, zip locks or similar for organizing items in your bag
☐ Large empty bag: laundry bag, pillow case or similar for putting clothes into after your trip
☐ Ear plugs
☐ Splash jacket and pants
☐ Lightweight cord and clothespins for drying clothes
☐ Sketchbook, notebook and pen, paperback book
☐ Locking carabiner (for clipping a water bottle or personal dry bag into a raft)
☐ Stand-up Urination Device
Find all the gear you need for your trip online in the OARStore + 15% of your purchase helps provide under-resourced youth with outdoor adventure experiences.
Local Outdoor Equipment Stores
DICK’S Sporting Goods – 293 Rossanley Dr Ste A, Medford, Oregon (541) 930-3254
Sportsman’s Warehouse – 1710 Delta Waters Rd, Medford, Oregon (541) 732-3700
Big 5 Sporting Goods – 65 E Stewart Ave, Medford, Oregon (541) 858-1685
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; 3318 cu in; 54.4 L). 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.
When we leave Galice Resort, we head straight to the trailhead to begin our day’s hike. You will bring your daypack with you on the trail; your waterproof bag will be loaded directly onto a raft. Your personal, now mostly empty, luggage can be stowed in your vehicle for the remainder of the trip.
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 Galice Resort 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.
Tipping is appreciated by our staff. If you are wondering how much to tip, you may consider that we operate in a service industry with a host of behind-the-scenes contributors in addition to the guides on your trip. In general, we suggest a gratuity based on 10 – 15% of the trip cost. It is customary on OARS trips for gratuities to be given to the Trip Leader in the form of cash or a personal check who will then distribute appropriately amongst all the guides and support staff.
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.
Gear up in the OARStore where 15% of all purchases help fund outdoor adventures for under-resourced youth
Shop for the latest in top-quality clothing, footwear & outdoor gear
Recommended Reading List
Additional information about the area
Terms & Conditions
Reservations and Deposits
A $400/person deposit is required at the time of booking. Deposits may be made by check, money order or Visa/Mastercard (American Express and Discover incur a 3% processing fee). Prices are in US Dollars and all payments must be made in US Dollars. Payment of the deposit establishes your acceptance of our complete Terms and Conditions. Individual departures and trip capacity are strictly limited by the managing agency.
Canceling your trip after your deposit has been processed will incur cancellation fees because OARS has absorbed costs on your behalf and will turn others away who would like to book the spaces we’re holding for you. Final payment is due 60 days prior to departure. Accounts on which final payment has not been received 50 days prior to the departure date will be canceled without exception.
Cancellations and Refunds
Your deposit is fully refundable, less a 3% processing fee, for 7 days after you book when you submit a deposit 7 days or more prior to the final payment due date.
If you must cancel your reservation after the rescission period described above, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the schedule below. We regret we cannot make exceptions to the cancellation policy for any reason, including foul weather, poor air quality, wildfire activity, acts of terrorism, civil unrest or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early. For these reasons, we strongly urge you to consider purchasing a travel protection plan (see Travel Protection below).
Date of Cancellation Cancellation Fee
180 or more days prior to your trip $50/person
179 – 90 days prior to your trip $100/person
89 – 60 days prior to your trip $200/person
59 days or less prior to your trip Full Fare
Please note that different deposit/cancellation policies may apply for charter groups. Refer to the group organizer’s confirmation e-mail for details.
OARS reserves the right to cancel any trip due to insufficient registration or other factors that make the trip impractical to operate. In such instances, we will inform you at least 45 days prior to departure. Do not make nonrefundable travel arrangements unless you have spoken to your Adventure Consultant regarding the status of your trip. If a trip must be canceled or postponed due to force majeure (factors outside the control of OARS), OARS will provide full credit for payments made toward future travel, or a refund less a 5% service fee plus any nonrefundable payments made on your behalf to 3rd -party suppliers. OARS will make good faith efforts to recover deposits made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers; however, we can’t guarantee recovery of any or all of the advance payments made. OARS is not responsible for expenses incurred by participants in preparation for a canceled trip.
If you need to move your reservation to a different trip during the same season, or to a credit account for the following year, there is a $25/person fee up until 90 days prior to departure for a one-time transfer of your payment. Transfer requests made 89 days or less prior to departure will be treated like a cancellation according to the schedule above.
Under most circumstances, if you are of an adventurous spirit and in reasonably good health, you should have no problem enjoying an OARS trip. People with medical conditions, including pregnancy, should have a physician’s approval before taking an adventure travel trip.
Because there are costs that you will incur if you cancel the spaces on this trip that we’re now holding for you, or in the event you need to be evacuated during the trip due to an unforeseen illness or injury, we strongly encourage our guests to purchase an optional travel protection plan. A travel protection plan may help reimburse the cost of your pre-paid, non-refundable payments in the event you are prevented from taking your trip for a covered reason. Trip participants must understand that in the event of an illness or injury on a wilderness trip, evacuation can be prolonged, difficult and expensive. For complete details and to purchase the plan we highly recommend, visit: https://www.oars.com/tpp
Please note: To be eligible for coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your initial trip payment and you must be medically fit to travel at the time you pay for the plan.
Emergency Medical Evacuation coverage can be purchased as stand-alone coverage, independent of a comprehensive travel protection plan. You can get a quote for this type of policy by entering a Trip Cost amount of $0 when getting a quote here: www.oars.com/tpp
Please note: By entering a Trip Cost amount of $0, the plan will not include Trip Cancellation coverage and you
may not be eligible for Emergency Medical Expense benefits relating to any pre-existing conditions.
Liability Release / Assumption of Risk
Everyone is required to sign a standard liability release / assumption of risk form before the trip, confirming 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 OARS 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, pandemics, 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 – 6 for gourmet, craft beer and wine trips), 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 guests 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.
OARS trips occur in areas where unpredictable environmental conditions are to be expected. To moderate dangerous situations for our guests and guides, all travelers must obey the rules and regulations as determined by the managing agencies and the Trip Leader and demonstrate reasonable consideration for other guests and OARS employees. We reserve the right to remove any guest from a trip if, in our opinion, that guest’s actions or behaviors pose a threat to the safety of her/himself or others, or if those actions or behaviors compromise the enjoyment of the trip for others. Should a guest be asked to leave a trip, there will be no refund for the unused portion, nor will OARS be responsible for additional expenses incurred by the guest for accommodations, return transport, change fees, etc. Prices subject to change without notice. Upon advancement of deposit, the depositor agrees to be bound by the above recited terms and conditions. OARS is an equal opportunity provider.