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Oregon’s Wild and Scenic

Illinois River

A one-of-a-kind adventure for the truly adventurous

4 Day Illinois River Rafting Trips

  • Length: 32 miles / 4 days
  • Season: April and May
  • Activities: Class IV/V Rafting
  • Minimum Age: 16
  • Includes: Professional guides, exceptional food,
    and camping gear
  • Meeting Place: Grants Pass, Oregon
  • Trip Cost: $2295/person

Greatest Day Ever

With 20 years of rafting behind my dad, NWRC gave him the single greatest day on a river he’d ever experienced. I’ll forever be grateful for that.
- Tess Payne

BinocularsEvery river is unique and no single day on a single river is ever the same. Yet the Illinois stands apart as a river unparalleled in its pristine, wild course through the remote Kalmiopsis Wilderness.

The difference between an Illinois River rafting trip and other river trips is apparent right from the start. Instead of the jostle of crowded put-ins strewn with gear and people and the frenetic energy of a busy boat launch, the unimproved and mostly-deserted river bench put-in at Miami Bar sets the tone for a more introspective sort of journey. And you’ll need the calm and quiet you’ll find here to marshall your resources for the days ahead because just around the bend of what looks like a gentle undulation downstream, lies some of the biggest wildwater in the region.

Raft Paddle | Illinois RiverFor most of your time on the Illinois, you’ll see few if any other river runners. The intensity of Illinois River rafting trips keeps all but the most fierce away. The surrounding wilderness does as well. Deep canyons and rough rock ridges make for challenging terrain on foot and especially in the water. But as with other wild and remote locations on our earth, those who are ready to embrace all the Illinois has to offer will be rewarded with a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will shift your soul.

Illinois River Rafting Trip Rhythm

Expect a steady build-up over the course of the first couple of days to some of the most difficult rapids on any river we run (awesome Class IV/IV+ whitewater) by Day 3. The last day is generally pretty easy—whew!—so you can bliss out in that happy-exhausted feeling that comes after doing something hard and truly worthwhile.

Off the Rafts

Groover | Illinois River RaftingOnce we hit camp for the day, we might go for hikes. But after such epic days, we’re usually happy to relax in camp, talk about the day, and steep ourselves in the solitude and immense beauty surrounding us.

Flora & Fauna

NewtBears, Osprey, Bald Eagles, Mergansers, Rattle Snakes, Great Blue Herons, river otters, newts, sturgeon, salmon, deer. Ponderosa Pines, Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock, Madrone, Manzanita, Alder, Willows and many types of wildflowers. Lots of Bald Eagles and Osprey and of course Bear.

Land Acknowledgement

Our trips on the Illinois River travel through the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Shasta Costa and Takelma peoples. In particular, we we visit land ceded in the Treaty of 1853. We recognize current indigenous peoples and those who were removed from their homelands.

We operate under special use permit with the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Additionally, we are an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Trip Highlights

  • The unforgettable blue-green color of the Illinois’ waters
  • Wonderfully isolated, wonderfully beautiful and rugged country
  • Run the Green Wall, one of the most famous rapids in the world

Quick Facts

  • The Illinois River flows through the rugged Kalmiopsis Wilderness
  • Declared a Wild and Scenic River in 1984
  • Challenging Class IV and IV+ rapids
  • Trips offered in April and May
  • Located near Crater Lake National Park, Ashland’s Shakespeare Festival, and Jacksonville’s Britt Festival

Trip Reviews

illinois Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 17 reviews.
5 1

Greatest Day Ever

With 20 years of rafting behind my dad, NWRC gave him the single greatest day on a river he’d ever experienced. I’ll forever be grateful for that.
- Tess Payne

Epic Adventure

I have had the pleasure to go on unbelievable adventures with Zach and Northwest Rafting Co, the latest being on the Amazing Illinois River in Southern Oregon, and it was an Epic Adventure. In addition his class 3 and 4 rowing schools are filled with incredible instructors/ guides, and critical safety training. That’s why they get my # 1 Vote…. Thank you Zach, and all your talented guides.
- David Rhodes

Awesome and Genuine

The guides on this trip went way above and beyond. Everything was so wonderful from the food, gear and attentiveness at the right times. On top of that the river was absolutely beautiful and I loved that we got to got to explore one of the days. I also loved that it was a small intimate group allowing us all to really get to know each other. You all are the best!!!
- Sharon Klein

The best guide crew ever!

You can tell NWRC makes safety their number one priority. But they are able to balance safety along with having a lot of fun which leads to a fantastic trip!
- Patty Fletcher

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