How To Run Horseshoe Falls And Rattlesnake Rapid In Low Water

Since quite a number of people have wondered how to run Horseshoe Falls and Rattlesnake Rapid in low water, I will tell them in this post.  When approaching Horseshoe Falls, you’ll notice a large rock on the left shortly before the main drop.  Pass just to the right of it then slide into the drop with your boat pointed left.  The problem at Horseshoe is to go too far right at which point you would encounter a waterfall with sharp rocks.  Avoid it!  Immediately below Horseshoe a ledge has formed over the years that you must go to the right of.  You are now approaching Rattlesnake, which is made up of three parts.  The first part requires you to pass between two large rocks on the right.  The passage is very narrow, but needs to be negotiated to put you in proper position for part two.  This is a steep drop, which you go through by locating a long sharp jagged ledge, and passing just to the left of it.  Then you pull right to move between two ledges, and as you float through the second drop, you will skim over rocks at the bottom.  Do not go over the center, because there is a rocky ledge with a straight drop!  You made it!  Now take out your fishing pole, because right below the rapid is an excellent steelhead hole.  Enjoy the scenery that follows.

Remembering Jackson Falls On The Upper Rogue River

Jackson Falls posed a considerable problem for boaters before it was erased by the 1964 flood.  Below Dodge Bridge the river went straight for about 3/4 mi. before making a sharp right angle turn, which created the falls(The river now turns right much earlier.)  The river flowed over a bar and moved slowly along some reeds. The mood was almost idyllic in its serenity.  Then the river was quite still as it flowed along a rock island.  It was here that Dad used to stop to pump up our rubber boat.  Towards the end of the island you could hear the roar of the river announcing the approaching falls.  At that point the river divided into different channels, which flowed over bars.  One of the channels flowed into a group of bushes.  All channels dropped over sharp ledges, which formed falls.  My Dad took the center channel, which was the largest one.  We navigated a rocky drop Dad called First Falls before pulling to the right bank to avoid Jackson Falls, a 5-6 ft. drop.  There was another small drop further on when the river made a quick left turn.  Although small, it was full of jagged rocks, which meant another portage.  When the river made its left turn it was one rapid above what is called Horseshoe Falls.

I remember walking along the bank with Grandpa Johnny, and being glad to be out of the water, especially when I looked back, and saw the falls we had avoided!  It is sad that there appears to be no pictures of this splendid falls, but, hopefully, some will be found in the not distant future.

A Great Summer For Inner Tubing The Upper Rogue

This is truly a great summer for inner tubing the Upper Rogue River.  Flows are above 3,000 cfs, which insure high waves, and less exposed boulders.  However, there are some strainers and forceful currents.  Inner tubers need to be cautious and be sure they are seated properly in the tube for balance.  When passing through Horseshoe Falls below Dodge Bridge, you need to grip the tube firmly to avoid capsizing.  Remember that a tube can only take a curler of a certain height.  If the curler exceeds that height, the tuber will be flipped over.  Most waves are not serious and a lot of fun.  Enjoy yourself on the river!  Photo of Rogue River at Shady Cove Park.

Inner Tubing Season Has Begun So…

It’s time to take those inner tubes out for a great float on the Rogue River.  For those of you who know nothing about inner tubing, here are a few pointers.  You have more control in an inner tube than you might think you do.  To achieve best balance, sit down in the water with your legs pointed in a line over the side.  Make sure your tube is large enough so your arms don’t scrape when pulling.  To go left, point your feet to the right, and pull to the left.  To go right, point your feet to the left, and pull to the right.  When making a directional move, try to line up your feet so they point in a line, and not at an angle.  When pulling, make sure your arms are a few inches under water to achieve maximum strength on your pull.  If you wish to slow down, pull upstream.  You can also combine the directional moves with a spin move to dodge obstacles faster.  Whenever you hit a wave, always hit it directly, and never broadside.  Also with certain waves you might want to hold on, especially at Horseshoe Falls, to avoid tipping over.  Remember that a tube can take only a certain size wave.  Beyond that size, you will be flipped over!  Always watch out for strainers, which are the most dangerous obstacles on the river!  Unless compelled to do so, stay away from the banks as tree branches are likely to be present.

With caution and practice of basic strokes, you should have a fun time on the river.  Of course, there are people like my sister Nancy, who throw caution to the winds.  My sister sometimes sat in one large tube with her friend Martha Brooks, and floated the rapids that way!

P.S.  Remember to wear life jackets at all times, and respect other boaters and fishermen.  Happy floating!

Inner Tubing Season Begins In Southern Oregon

The weather has finally warmed up to the point where inner tubing is possible on the Rogue River.  The Rogue River between Casey State Park and Tou Velle State Park offers great whitewater for inner tubing.  There are several Class II rapids with a few Class II+ and a Class III-.  Strainers can be a problem, and there are several waves that can flip a tube.  Best stretches are from Casey State Park to Rogue Elk Park, and from Dodge Bridge to Black Oaks.  The latter stretch includes Horseshoe Falls Class II+, and Rattlesnake Rapid Class III-.  The photo below is Takelma Park Riffle at about 4,000cfs.IMG_0114