North Umpqua River Rafting
The North Umpqua has increasingly gained popularity with white-water rafters and kayakers in the past few years. But fishing and floating are not always compatible, so guidelines for boaters and rafters have been established by the Bureau of Land Management and the Umpqua National Forest.
The area around Steamboat has the most restrictions, mainly because of the heavy fishing in the area that boaters would disturb. Be sure to check with the Forest Service (541/672-6601) prior to setting out to make sure you are making a legal trip.
A good way to get started rafting and avoid the hassle of rules, regulations, and gear is to go along with an experienced white-water guide. These leaders provide the safety equipment, the boats, and the expertise; all you have to do is paddle.
In addition to rafting, inflatable kayak trips are offered by outfitters. Inflatables are easier for the neophyte to handle than the hard-shell type, though these craft expose you to more chills and spills. Whatever your mode of floating the river, expect more than a dozen Class III or IV rapids and plenty of Class IIs, as well as old-growth trees and osprey nests.
Best of all, this world-class river is still relatively undiscovered. Spring and summer are the best times to enjoy the North Umpqua, although it’s boatable year-round. Boaters are allowed on the river 10 a.m.–6 p.m. only, leaving the morning and evening for fish.
North Umpqua Rafting Outfitters
North Umpqua Outfitters (222 Oakview Dr., Roseburg, 888/454-9696, www.nuorafting.com) offers raft, kayak, and drift-boat trips. Three-hour raft trips are $105 per person; five-hour raft trips with lunch are $125 per person.
You can combine rafting and mountain biking with Oregon Ridge and River Excursions (541/496-3333 or 888/454-9696, www.umpquarivers.com). Their popular two- or three-day trips take mountain bikes down the trail along the North Umpqua River and feature white-water paddle rafting.
They also offer raft and kayak packages as well as guesthouse accommodations. Snacks, great outdoor cooking, and comfortable camping are provided. Check the website for rates and reservations.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel