. .



Rogue National
Wild and Scenic River

Outdoor Ethics

Day Use Info
Hellgate Recreation Area
Rogue River National Recreation Trail
Gold Panning
Outdoor Ethics

People come to the Wild Rogue River to enjoy the outdoors and get away from crowds, noise, and the pressures of life. This escape should be accompanied by a commitment to protect and preserve the "wild" environment. By practicing Leave No Trace techniques visitors can enjoy the river while preserving the beauty and solitude. Leave No Trace practices are designed to minimize your impacts on wildlife, plants, soil, water, air, and other people. Here are a few things you can do to protect your resources and contribute to everyone's enjoyment of the Wild Rogue River.


  • Practice Leave No Trace ethics by cooking on a gas or propane stove and avoid building campfires. Fire leaves scars and depletes wood supplies.
  • If you have a campfire please build it in a fire pan. Fire pans are required within 400 feet of the river. Hikers can use a fire blanket, heavy aluminum foil, or whatever works in containing the fire.
  • Fire residue should be packed out of the canyon with other garbage. Egg shells, foil, plastic, food, and oil should not be burned as they do not burn clean and attract pests to the site.
  • Check fire regulations with local authorities before you start your trip. If you are going to build a campfire, be sure to build it on a sandy spot or bare ground away from trees and shrubs. Never build a fire next to rocks because smoke will blacken them. Use only down and dead wood. Small wood will burn completely, providing good coals for cooking and ash that is easier to carry out than partially burned large wood.


  • Waste water from bathing and dish washing should be discarded at least 100 feet from camp, the river, and creeks. Washing should be done carefully so that the environment is not polluted and fish and aquatic life are not injured. Water can become polluted from the runoff of soaps and food waste. Bathing and dishwashing should be done without soap. Even biodegradable soap is a pollutant.
  • To clean dishes properly use boiling water. Avoid attracting pests to a camping area by keeping a clean camp. Strain dishwater and place strained materials into garbage bags to pack out. Food materials from dishwater attract ants, stinging insects, bears, raccoons, and other pests.


  • Black bears can sometimes be a problem in the Rogue River Canyon. Paradise to Flora Dell Creek tends to be the worst area for bear encounters. One way to keep bears from helping themselves to your food is to hang unattended food and garbage at least 10 feet off the ground in a tree and 4 feet from the trunk. For more information on bear proofing get a copy of "The Bear Facts" brochure from the Bureau of Land Management.

Human Waste

  • Please use toilets when available. If there are no toilets at a site, use the "cat method" of making a shallow hole and covering it when done. A cat hole should be dug at least 6 inches deep in soil and 100 feet from camp, the river, and creeks. Pack out toilet paper and other man-made toiletries.
  • Leaves and smooth sticks are readily available toilet paper substitutes and you don't have to pack them out. Natural toilet paper substitutes should be left in the cat hole then covered with dirt and organic matter. When using leaves or sticks as toilet paper try to avoid poison oak and other obvious hazards. "Practice makes perfect." Minimizing contamination and maximizing decomposition are the primary goals when dealing with human waste.

Other Helpful Hints

  • Use established campsites whenever possible.
  • Use established trails.
  • Pack out all garbage.
  • If you smoke, carry out all cigarette butts (they are trash too).

Many canyon visitors are seeking quiet and solitude. Please use common courtesy around others and help keep the scenery natural.


A River To Run, by Florence Arman, 1982
Illahe, by Kay Atwood, 1978
Requiem of a People, by Stephen Dow Beckham, 1971
Rogue River Float Guide, USDA, Forest Service, Siskiyou National Forest, 1993