Hellgate Recreation Area
The Hellgate Recreation area begins at the mouth of the Applegate River, about seven miles west of Grants Pass, Oregon. The area features 27 miles of class I and II rapids, 11 boat access facilities, four campgrounds, and numerous undeveloped sites to fish, swim, picnic, camp, sunbathe, bird watch, photograph nature, and generally enjoy the river the way you choose. Grave Creek marks the end of the Hellgate Recreation Area of the Rogue River and the beginning of the Wild Rogue.
In the Hellgate Recreation Area the Rogue River begins relatively wide and slow, moving through agricultural fields, foothills, and a lot of private property interspersed with public land. As you float downriver the canyon gets progressively deeper and rockier and you get a sense of leaving civilization behind even though a road is always within a quarter mile of the river's edge. That sense of leaving civilization is a reality as the amount of public land surrounding the river increases, human development decreases, nature takes over, and your opportunity to get food, water, gas, medical assistance, and a nice warm bed diminishes. Hot summer weekend days the crowds boating this section of river are at a peak. Some people have said it is like being at Disneyland, but everyone usually has a smile on their face. The river is beautiful and fun!
There are no limits on the number of people, no fees, and no permits required for private use of the river and public lands in the Hellgate Recreation area. There is a 14 day camping limit on all public lands. There are many businesses offering guided river trips, shuttle services, equipment rental, lodging, and supplies to assist you in your visit to the Rogue. River guide businesses are required to have a BLM special recreation permit and state guide license to operate.
Common use of the Hellgate Recreation Area includes whitewater rafting, drift boat fishing, bank fishing, commercial jetboating, camping, scenic driving, swimming, picnicking, and sun bathing. The river is most often floated in a day, but overnight trips are possible. The first 14 miles of this section of river has a lot of private land along its banks, so the public is asked to be courteous and respect private property.
There are four developed campgrounds, operated by Josephine County Parks, on this 27 mile stretch of river. Camping is also allowed on undeveloped public land along the Rogue between Hog Creek and Grave Creek. Because of the large amount of private property between the mouth of the Applegate River and Hog Creek, camping is not allowed along this stretch of river, except in the developed campgrounds.
Total Distance 34 miles - Grants Pass to Grave Creek
Grants Pass - Hog Creek
19 miles - approx. 7 hours
Mostly flat water
Ennis Riffle - Galice Store
1.6 miles - approx. 1 hour
Hog Creek - Indian Mary Park
2.5 miles - approx. 1 hour
Galice Store - Almeda Park
3.5 miles - approx. 1.25 hours
Indian Mary Park - Ennis Riffle
3.2 miles - approx. 1.25 hours
Almeda Park - Grave Creek
3.8 miles - approx. 1.5 hours
Plan for Success
Several thousand people use the Rogue River every year. On your visit you may encounter many types of recreational activities. Courtesy and cooperation will help everyone enjoy their trip and will discourage the need for regulations.