Rogue River/Grants Pass Attractions

Picture of Hellgate Jetboat Excursion taken by MD Vaden.

While at the Rogue River House, be sure to enjoy a few activities in scenic Southern Oregon!

The Grants Pass and Rogue River area is home some of Oregon’s most stunning landscapes.  Known as Oregon’s gold country and the Gateway to the Rogue River Wilderness, the rugged canyons and rollicking whitewater will provide a dramatic backdrop to your stay.

The Rogue River is Oregon’s (and one of the West’s) premier rivers for whitewater rafting.  And if you happen to enjoy rafting, you’ll be happy to know this particular vacation rental home is five miles down the road from where Kevin Fedarko and the National Geographic crew dropped into the Rogue for Adventure Magazine’s article on rafting the Rogue River, “The Wild Bunch“.  With salmon and steelhead fishing right out the backdoor and trails leading to old gold mines nearby, you don’t have to go far from the Rogue River House for an adventure.

However, we advise you to explore this area that’s rich in beautiful scenery and history.  From golf and wine tasting to getting personal with bald eagles and jet boat rides, Grants Pass and the Rogue River Valley offer a bounty for making a memorable vacation for everyone.

Rafting

As we already mentioned, the Rogue River’s notoriety for whitewater rafting is unmatched in Oregon.  If you venture into Grants Pass or Merlin, you will find plenty of businesses that can rent rafts, kayaks and canoes for your adventures on the river.  However, if you’re interested in a guided raft tour with a seasoned professional, please check out one of the businesses listed below

  • Rogue Wilderness Adventures – Based out of Merlin on Galice Road, Rogue Wilderness Adventures offers a variety of whitewater rafting trips for a variety of experience levels.  From half-day adventures to theme trips,  you’re sure to have fun on the river!
  • Orange Torpedo TripsWith a name like Orange Torpedo, how could you not have fun?  Orange Torpedo Trips specializes in shooting the river in inflatable kayaks, but also offer oared and paddle rafting with trips ranging from fours to four days.  And for DIY-ers, you can rent a whole fleet for your crew! And yes, it is kid-friendly (and fun!).

Fishing

Yes, when the salmon and steelhead are running, you can find some of the best fishing around right out the backdoor at the Rogue River House.  However, if you want to see what else the Rogue has to offer, get in touch with one of the  businesses below.

  • Vernon Grieves Guide ServiceWe have fished with Vernon before and highly recommend his guide service.  The Grieves family has been guiding fishing tours for over 40 years, and this experience is likely to net you a big steelhead or salmon! Check out their popular four-day wilderness adventure as well as other guided fishing trips.
  • Don Grieves Guide Service –  Don is another fishing guide we have used in the past and highly recommend.  If you want to see the size of the fish he’s been landing, check out Don’s Facebook page and then give him a call at 541.821.8540 to set up a trip.
  • Chris Young Guide ServicesIf you love fly fishing, we can’t recommend anyone better than Chris Young.  With his experience around Galice, he knows the best spots and can set you up with all the best equipment to make your fly fishing adventure a success.
  • Ray’s Rogue River Guides Service – Located in Merlin, Ray Slusser will give you a local’s insight to the best fishing spots for salmon and steelhead on the Rogue.  He’s qualified to guide you on a drift boat excursion as well as a serene fly-fishing trip.  Call 541.476.8047 to for more information.
  • Rogue Wilderness Adventures – Just down the road from the Rogue River House, Rogue Wilderness Adventures offers a variety of packages to sate your appetite for fishing.

Jet Boats

The most exciting way to check out the Rogue River is from a jet boat!  If you need a little more adrenaline out of your trip, then speeding through narrow canyons and over small rapids in a jet boat is right up your alley.

  • Hellgate Jetboat Excursions – Since 1959, Hellgate Jetboat Excursions have been giving guests high-speed tours from Grants Pass through Hellgate Canyon.  You can take a quick, two-hour tour or book a lunch, dinner or brunch excursion.  And be sure to bring your camera, or at least a waterproof camera!

Points of Interest

Between it’s natural beauty, geologic wonders and its history, Southern Oregon has plenty of interesting places to explore.  For a fun day-trip for your family or guests, hop in your car and check out the places below.

  • Crater LakeCrater Lake National Park is one of North America’s most beautiful geologic wonders.  Over 7,000 years ago, the volcano Mt. Mazama collapsed in on itself and over the millenia, the caldera has been filled with water giving us one of the world’s deepest lakes.  Drive around the rim, take in the beautiful blue water on a ride to Wizard Island and check out the historic Crater Lake Lodge while you’re there.
  • Wildlife Images – If there’s a place that gets to the animal-lover in us all, it’s Wildlife Images.  Created to help rehabilitate injured wildlife, Wildlife Images gives visitors the chance to get up close and personal to predators found throughout the Northwest such as eagles, hawks, bears, big cats and wolves.  Plus, it’s just down the road from the Rogue River House in Merlin!
  • The Oregon Caves – Just a short drive out of nearby Cave Junction, the Oregon Caves are another one of Oregon’s geographic gems.  Created from dissolved marble and home to several fossilized animals, the Oregon Caves gives visitors an escape from the summer heat as well as a lesson in earth science.  Be sure to keep an eye open for wildlife on your drive there, including Big Foot!
  • The Oregon Vortex and House of MysteryIs it a hoax or is it for real?  You can decide yourself when you visit Gold Hill’s famed House of Mystery at the Oregon Vortex.  Originally the site of a gold mining camp, the Oregon Vortex plays messes with physics and plays with the mind.  Even Albert Einstein wrote a paper on the Oregon Vortex!

Festivals and Events

When it warms up, the Grants Pass and Rogue River valley area offers plenty of celebrations and events.  If you’re looking for a taste of local flavor, see if there’s a festival going on while you’re staying at the Rogue River House.  Below is a small sampling of the area’s popular events.

  • Boatnik – Held annually every Memorial Day Weekend in Grants Pass, Boatnik has a little something everyone in your family.  With boat races, a carnival and more, Boatnik is a must see if you’re around Grants Pass towards the last weekend in May.
  • Pottsville Father’s Day Weekend – Treat your dad to a trip to historic Pottsville and check out the antique tractors and early engines.  Be sure to go through the flea market if you forgot to get him a gift!
  • Back To The 50’s – Quite possibly Grants Pass’ longest festival, Back To The 50’s is held in the latter part of July and is nearly a week long.  With a 50’s style concert, poker runs and car shows, the Back To The 50’s Celebration is fun whether you’re cruisin’ or not.
  • Josephine County Fair – If you’re in the mood for a classic county fair, then head to Grants Pass in August for the Josephine County Fair.  This fair has it all – 4H and FFA projects, rodeo, tough truck competition, carnival and fair food!
  • Wolf Creek Oktoberfest –  Held towards the end of September, Oktoberfest in Wolf Creek is a small festival held at a historic tavern in scenic Wolf Creek.

Wine

Nationally and globally, Oregon is gaining notoriety for its high-quality wines.  Southern Oregon’s climate and soil types allow for a variety of grapes to grow, including those used in making Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Malbec and Riesling wines.  So, if you’re curious to see where the bottle of wine you’ve been enjoying comes from, or to discover a new favorite, check out the wineries and vineyards below.

  • Wooldridge Creek Winery – Just outside of Grants Pass is Wooldridge Creek Winery.  With varietals ranging from Pinot Noir to Chardonnay and a Syrah Rose’, Wooldridge offers a beautiful tasting room that’s open from 11 am to 5 pm.
  • Troon Vineyard – With their Applegate Valley estate located outside of Grants Pass, Troon offers a variety of blends as well as Zinfandels, Tannat and Vermintino varietals.  Come for the wine, stay for bocce ball courts!  Open daily from 11 am to 5 pm.
  • Schmidt Family Vineyards – If you would like to get a bit to eat as well as try a nice glass of wine, pay a visit to the Schmidt Family Vineyard tasting room, which is open from noon to 5 pm daily.  Produced in small lots, their varietals range from Sauvingon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay as well as Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
  • Del Rio Vineyards – Outside of Gold Hill, Del Rio Vineyards provides a beautiful tasting room where you can try a wide selection of varieties such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Viognier and Port. The tasting room has seasonal hours, so be sure to visit their site to see when they’re open.
  • Deer Creek Vineyards – This Selma-area winery has won two awards in the San Francisco Chronicle’s wine competition for their 2010 Pinot Noir and 2010 Pinot Gris wines.  Well done!  Their tasting room is open from 11 am to 5 pm Sunday through Friday and until 9 pm on Saturdays.  And with a tapas menu, you can enjoy lunch or dinner while you’re there!

For more information about Southern Oregon wines and vineyards, be sure to visit the Southern Oregon Winery Association Web site.

Golf

Did you remember to throw your golf clubs in the car?  Even if you didn’t you’ll be able to rent some at one of the golf courses below.  If the weather is nice (read hot), you’ll want to snag a tee-time earlier in the day.

  • Dutcher Creek Golf CourseThis public golf course offers 18-holes set in a park like setting of rolling hills, mountain views and pastureland.  With a par of 70, this golf course should be fun for duffers and pros alike.
  • Grants Pass Golf Club – This semi-private golf club is as beautiful as it is challenging.  With a pro-shop, women’s days and men’s days, tee-times must be made eight days in advanced.  Call to see which reciprocal club members can golf on this par 72, 18-hole course.
  • Applegate River Golf Course – This 9-hole, par 36 public golf course if perfect for someone who wants to get a little golf in on their vacation without spending a whole day at the course.  Call 541.955.0480 for tee times and directions.
  • Red Mountain Golf Course – Just a little northeast of Merlin, Red Mountain offers 9-holes of golf with a par of 30.  Open to the public, be sure to call 541.479.2297 for more information, tee-times and directions.

Above is just a small sampling of things to do with your family and friends while staying at the Rogue River House.  There’s plenty of adventures to be had and memories to be made, as long as you get out there and see what the Grants Pass – Rogue River area has to offer!