If you are you are looking for a class II run in the Rogue Valley this run will provide you with a wonderful mixed bag.
First the plusses: Continuous moving water. A few easy play waves, especially at moderate flows around 1000 cfs. Good water quality. Good scenery, including a gorge that looks intimidating but turns out to be class II+ and . While the houses on the bank and the nearby roads prevent this from being a pristine wilderness run, it does have its share of quality scenery. If you want to avoid crowds this might be the run for you since it is not as popular as the class II runs on the Rogue, especially the Hellgate section. The shuttle is easy and bike-able.
Now the minuses: Due to the continuous moving water, there's not as much eddy service as a first timer or novice might want. The banks of the river are crowded with bushes and branches. Most of the rapids occur in the first third of the run. A small drainage means that the river doesn't have the biggest of seasons. In summer time it is often too low to run, which is obviously the most useful time for beginners.
To get to the river from I-5 from the South go to Phoenix and get on Hwy 99 going North. Take South Stage Rd. through Jacksonville as it turns into Hwy 238. From North you can get off in Medford and take 238 (Jacksonville Hwy) directly. Follow Hwy 238 to the town of Ruch and turn left onto Applegate Rd. When you get to the 2nd bridge you will be about 5 miles downstream of the dam. If you take out at the 2nd bridge you will have to get out right before the low head dam. If you are unsure of your abilities save yourself some drama and take out well upstream of the dam at a campground/picnic area. (This is about 1/4 mile past the bridge). The low-head dam is without a doubt the most dangerous thing on the river, so if you do plan on taking out at the bridge make sure you scout your exit first. There is also a dirt road on the river-left side (Palmer Creek Rd) that can possibly be used as an alternate take out.
To get to the put in drive upstream to the next bridge (within sight of the Applegate dam), and put in on the river-left side.
Narrative copyright 2008. Contact Peter Gandesbery. This page was last updated Jun 30, 2008.