Though Will Volpert founded Indigo Creek Outfitters in 2011, his river-touring experience began much earlier. As a kid, his parents ran an outfitting business in Salmon, Idaho, where salmon guides would stay with them for the summer. During six-day rafting trips, he learned the ways of river culture and fell in love with fishing and navigating rapids. Today, he shares his expertise with families of all experience levels, leading whitewater trips on the Rogue River and building custom vacations in Oregon and Idaho. For a bit of local flavor, the staff also organizes walking tours of local restaurants and tastings at nanobreweries.
Jerry's Rogue Jets does not take river tours lightly. The company employs a staff of Coast Guard-certified jet-boat pilots who navigate tours through the federally protected Rogue River Canyon. The route includes a turbulent, 12-mile stretch that the company has exclusive commercial access to. Each of the company's voyages takes place on a boat custom made by Wayne Adams, a direct descendant of the Adams family that homesteaded the canyon in the 19th century. Once they board the boats, passengers embark on one of three round-trip tours that aim to integrate adventure, nature, and comical, unscripted narration.
The calmer 64-mile Historic Mail Route follows a path that Jerry's mail boats still use to deliver mail each day. The 80-mile Whitewater Excursion and 104-mile Wilderness Whitewater adventures extend into more tumultuous waters. All of the tours—which throughout the years have attracted guests such as Jimmy Carter, Meryl Streep, and Clark Gable—include a 90-minute meal stop to keep passengers from filing their teeth until they are sharp enough to eat river rocks.
Over its 155-mile path from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, the Rogue River alternates between slow-flowing Class I water to roiling, Class IV rapids that challenge even experienced paddlers. Rogue Rafting Co. is situated mere steps from the dynamic watercourse, making it easy for paddlers of all ages and abilities to go exploring by raft or kayak.
Professional river guides lead tours that range from three-hour forays to multi-day camping trips. Though they challenge guests to brave the Class IV Nugget Falls and Power House rapids, they consider passengers’ comfort paramount. To that end, they welcome nervous guests to jump ashore, walk around the more challenging rapids, and then rejoin the group on the other side. Additionally, guides can customize tours to suit groups’ interests, whether it be tackling the most difficult rapids or taking time to spot eagles, osprey, and nomadic watercolor painters who roost along the shore.
A girl stands frozen at the edge of a cliff 35 feet above the Klamath River. A group of friends, each of whom has already made the exhilarating plunge into the water, shouts words of encouragement. Slowly, the girl releases her fear and jumps from the cliff's edge, spending a few seconds in midair before splashing safely into the river and experiencing a feeling of great peace and accomplishment. For the staff of Kidder Creek Rafting Trips, it has been a decades-long journey in their effort to bring moments like these to life. In 1976, Richard Jones founded the nonprofit Christian organization, setting up shop in Scott Valley amid the Marble Mountain Wilderness region. Initially a horse camp, the organization grew over the years to include more adventurous activities such as rock climbing or the less-popular rock leaning. Despite the growth, the business has always retained its primary focus: to help young people step out of their comfort zones, experience new things, and grow in their faith. More than 35 years later, the horse camp still welcomes kids into its classrooms, onto its trails, and into the arena to practice horse gymnastics. Rafting guides, all of whom have completed Kidder Creek's guide program, lead exhibitions down the Klamath River's scenic waters, which are sprinkled with class III and IV rapids. These experts occasionally pause to play rafting games, hike to waterfalls, and exchange family photos with Bigfoot while encouraging others to try new things.