Wild and Scenic Rogue River: Hellgate Canyon


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The Rogue River in Oregon is one of the eight rivers designated a Wild and Scenic River by Congress in 1968. Parts of it are managed by the National Forest Service and the rest is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. To see my earlier post on the Natural Bridge in National Forest Service, click here.


We explored the BLM-managed section while staying in Grants Pass with a four hour dinner tour through Hellgate Jetboat Excursions. Our excursion departed from the landing by the Caveman Bridge in Grants Pass. This bridge is named for its proximity to the Oregon Caves National Monument.


We motored about 20 miles up river while our guide told stories and directed us to any wildlife sightings. We saw some turtles and a bald eagle.


Every so often, the guide would warn us to stow our phones and cameras in a plastic bag and the driver would speed up, do a a spin-out and get us all wet. It was a hot summer day, so this was welcome, except for the few ladies with fancy hair and makeup who obviously hadn’t read the disclaimers (you WILL get wet) prior to signing up.


Then we arrived at historic Hellgate Canyon with 100-foot-high cliffs on either side.  Several movies have been filmed here including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and  River Wild.


A few minutes downriver from the canyon, we disembarked at the Hellgate River Lodge. We ate a barbecue meal on the homestead’s patio high above the Rogue River. We took a few pictures of the black-tailed deer hanging out nearby and then climbed back aboard the boat to return to Grants Pass.

Location: 966 SW 6th St, Grants Pass, OR 97526

Designation: Wild and Scenic River

Date designation declared: October 1968

Date of my visit: 8/24/2016