If travel is a state of mind, Oregon sure makes you wonder how one region can offer so much wide-ranging recreation and scenery–and how you will ever be able in one lifetime to experience it all. Even for the seasoned traveler, an endless supply of secret places is available for exploring.

So, slow down and savor a once-in-a-lifetime experience this summer on a river steeped in legend, lore, and interesting characters and enjoy one of the most breathtaking boat rides into the Rogue River Wilderness.

The Rogue River is world famous and has attracted adventure seekers for decades, some as well known as the river itself, like Zane Grey, the western novelist who came to the canyon to write and even set one of his novels there. Once a lifeline of sorts for folks who lived along the river, boats have been used for over than a century to deliver food, supplies, and news from the outside world into the rugged canyon.

Now, they’re lifelines of laughter and smiles that help folks reconnect with Oregon’s outdoors. Speedy jet boats launch family excursions and recreation into a distant world away from the routines, noise, and general hubbub of city life.

Early morning – when the air is still and nature is waking up Oregon rivers like the Rogue are a marvel. As daylight grows, people come out to play at Jerry’s Rogue Jets and Rogue Mailboats along the Rogue River waterfront at Gold Beach.

The jet boats can reach speeds of 60-mph – but we motored along at less than half that speed in half a foot of water – it was shin deep shallow and amazing. Cliffs and canyons are the rule along the river’s course through the Oregon coast range, where eons of water and wind have eroded the exposed rock into smooth, unworldly sculptures. Along shore, small waterfalls spout across rocky rims, slap a shelf here and there, and plummet into deep, swirling whirlpools. Settlers arrived in the canyon of the Rogue River by the mid-nineteenth century, following the trails left by early trappers and miners.

One of the pleasures of so much isolation is the abundant wildlife–a bald eagle may cruise by overhead; Canada geese may be seen shepherding their young from one shore to the other; an osprey might dive to catch its finny prey in the water. Even black bears are regularly seen strolling the shoreline. It’s fitting that so many critters are more at home in the canyon than any of us ever will be.

Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Fridays and Saturdays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network.

About the Author: Grant McOmie

Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.

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In this Grant’s Getaway

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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  1. pam clark says…

    LOVE everywhere we’ve been in Oregon. We’ve made it to the coast every year for the last 7 years. We’re looking at southern Oregon for retirement. !

    Written on August 5th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
  2. Lori Kent says…

    Gold Beach is an awesome get-away place! Another great upcoming event there is the humongous annual Hospice Marketplace sale on August 27,28,29 (Fri to Sun) on the North Jetty. They have literally something for everyone… it’s like a giant once-a-year department store, run by volunteers. Same weekend as the salmon derby, a win-win weekend!

    Written on August 6th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
  3. Luis F. says…

    I did not see a single passenger wearing safety vest, life saver jacket or any name you wish to use.
    Most Rogue River jet boats require passengers to wear them.
    Where is the prevention awarness, safety awarness, hello..!
    Have you ever heard of Murphy’s law?
    How long would it take if the boat tips, runs out of control, crashes or any issue until the boat operator could provide jackets to all those people and they would wear them once in the water ?
    How many passengers knew hot to swim..?

    Written on September 18th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
  4. Marine Board says…

    In response to Luis…check out the segment at the 2 minute mark. I assure you, everyone is wearing a properly fitting life jacket! The Marine Board works closely with Grant McOmie and Travel Oregon to ensure all the proper boating safety rules are being demonstrated. Thank you for your comment. It’s nice to see you are safety-conscious and care about people wearing life jackets. They do save lives!

    Written on September 20th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
  5. Lindsey Baker says…

    I love the jet boat ride — it was amazing dress warmly this time of year — you will get wet! I posted a few videos on my blog http:www.visitwildriverscoast.com about this fun adventure.

    Written on October 24th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
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