2014 Inner Tubing Season Begins Early

The 2014 inner tubing season began in the middle of June, then paused for some cooler weather, resurfacing towards the end of the month.  It is hard to believe that this will mark my 50th summer of inner tubing.  I have been fortunate to enjoy the waters of the Rogue River, an excellent river for inner tubing.  The flow now is about twice what it was before Lost Creek Dam(2200 cfs at TouVelle State Park), and somewhat warmer(53-54 at Casey State Park, instead of 51).  The test for low 50 temps. is to put your hand in the water.  If it begins to burn from cold, temp. is low 50s.  You can do the same thing with your feet.  I usually test the water at TouVelle State Park, and, if it’s warm enough, and the outside temp. is in the 70s, time to float.  Incidentally, when I was a kid, I usually encountered low 50 water, but now, at 61, I’d just as soon avoid it!

Note:  River has pushed to the right at TouVelle State Park, which means less water along the left bank.  The river took out part of the “children’s dam” and cut a new channel over soft rock to drop into main rapid on the right.  Unfortunately, the two rocky channels below the bridge are still there, forcing tubers to the left, and then requiring them to cross two swift currents to get to shore.  Chances are strong that tubers will be pushed downstream to second put-out among some thick underbrush.  My advice would be to get out just before the “children’s dam”.  The wave on the right isn’t worth the ensuing hassle.

Greetings to inner tubers everywhere!  It looks to be a wonderful season on the Rogue River.  People generally tube from Casey State Park to TouVelle State Park.  The run is exciting, but not dangerous, if you avoid strainers.  Mostly Class 1 and 2.  You could tube to below Gold Ray, but there is no easy put-out.  Below that, waves become too large and irregular for inner tubers, and there are a few falls.  However, you can tube from Gold Hill to Hog Creek(watch out for Twin Bridges Rapid Class 3, just before Valley of the Rogue State Park), if you have the desire, but much of the water from Grants Pass to Hog Creek is placid, and without action.  Happy tubing!

Introducing TouVelle State Park

TouVelle State Park on the upper Rogue River is one of the most scenic parks in Southern Oregon.  It presents a riparian environment rife with wildflowers, blackberry bushes, trees, and many kinds of birds.  As to the latter, the park is a favorite of birdwatchers, who are seen often wearing their binoculars.  Tou Velle Park has expanded to include a nature trail which hooks up with the Denman Wildlife Refuge.  Before the flood of 1955, a military bridge connected the two parts of the Tou Velle Road, which remain as isolated segments in different parts of the valley.  One of my photos shows what’s left of the bridge, a mere pylon.  At the lower end of the park,  Bybee Bridge, a double cantilever bridge, once ruled supreme, but was removed for a cement bridge that created numerous obstacles for boaters, and detracted greatly from the beauty along the shore.  The lowest ramp is recommended as easier and safer, and many boats take advantage of it.  Fishing is plentiful, but no famous holes for summer steelhead.  The park’s inhabitants also include frolicsome children, for whom a special rock dam was built so they could play in the river without danger, and dogs chasing sticks.  Below I have posted photos from Summers 2011-2012, which give a feel of the park’s activities and pleasures.

Trees and More Obstacles at TouVelle State Park

Inner tubers should be aware that there are trees and more obstacles at TouVelle State Park.  The flow is quite high(3600 cfs) and the river quite unforgiving.  Those tubers that are going under the bridge should be sure to take the left channel as the center slams into a rock wall and the right is full of sharp rocks and boulders.  The left channel also requires some dodging.  If you plan to get out at lower TouVelle, I suggest using the second ramp to avoid a large sand bar at the first ramp.  It goes without saying that you get out on the right side of the river.  Be sure to bring a camera as some of the views of Table Rock are quite spectacular.  Happy inner tubing!  Photo of Lower TouVelle Rapid.

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