The picturesque Rogue River winds 215 miles through southern Oregon, from Crater Lake National Park to the Pacific Ocean at Gold Beach. With a history ranging from Native Americans, fur traders, farmers and gold miners to movie stars and politicians, the beauty of the Rogue captures the hearts of all who wander its shores.
The native Shasta, Takelma and Tututni conglomerate tribes were the original inhabitants the Rogue River Valley. European trappers and fur traders arrived in search of beaver pelts in the 1830’s, and while initial interactions were relatively peaceful, the Europeans regarded these natives as rascals, or rogues, giving the river its present name.
The Donation Land Act of 1850, which gave 320 acres to couples who agreed to live and cultivate the land for at least four years, saw the first great influx of white settlers, followed by the discovery of gold and its subsequent rush in 1851. It is estimated that over 70 million dollars worth of gold has been panned from the banks of the river since that time.
In more recent history, celebrities including Clark Gable, Ginger Rogers, Zane Grey, Herbert Hoover and Kirstie Alley have been drawn to the Rogue River Valley for its natural splendor and excellent salmon and steelhead trout fishing. Various movies have used its impressive landscape as a backdrop, including “The River Wild” with Meryl Streep in 1994.
Designated as one of the original eight “Wild and Scenic” rivers in the United States in 1968, the Rogue has something to offer any nature enthusiast. One can spot numerous birds and beasts along its banks, from osprey and bald eagle to river otter and mountain lion. As a destination for whitewater kayaking, rafting, jet-boating, fishing, hiking and bird-watching, the Rogue River is one of the best in the West.