Our Grande Ronde raft trips are popular with those of our guests who are looking for mild white water and great scenic beauty. The Grande Ronde is also a great trip for fishing and for wildlife viewing.
Our Grande Ronde trips begin on the Wallowa, a Grande Ronde tributary. Both the Grande Ronde and the Wallowa flow out of the Wallowa mountains in northeastern Oregon, "Oregon's Alps". The Wallowa is clear, swift and steep. Most of the rapids we encounter are class II, but several are rated class II+ to III: Minam Roller, Redrock, and Vincent Falls. (Rapids are rated I through VI. Class I indicates the smallest rapids, while VI indicates steep, turbulent, dangerous rapids and waterfalls.)
We join the main stream roughly ten miles down. (The Wallowa is actually the larger of the two in terms of flow, but the longer stream gets to keep its name past the confluence.) Below the confluence the pace slows, but several long class II+ rapids remain, including Sheep Creek and Martin's Misery.
Our float takes us through what we think is some of the most beautiful and varied mountain scenery in the West. Bald eagles, black bear, and Rocky Mountain elk make their home here, and glacier lilies color the hillsides. We camp in beautiful meadows dotted with ponderosa pines and fragrant mock orange. Our camps are good places to fish, bird watch, or hunt for wildflowers -- all rewarding pastimes here. Take a walk and you may see columbine, sego lily, lupine or shooting stars growing along the shoreline, and golden eagles, pileated woodpeckers, western meadowlarks and evening grosbeaks in the sky above.
This tour may not be as well known as tours on waterways such as the Rogue or the Salmon, but it is their equal in many ways, and this is the one to choose if you're looking for mild rapids. It's a little-known gem of a trip. Join us, and discover its many facets for yourself!