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.
The McKenzie River flows past some of Oregon's most awe-inspiring natural scenery?douglas fir?blanketed mountainsides, bald eagles diving to catch trout, and gargantuan boulders splitting the current into Class II and III rapids. Guides like Captain "Wild Matty" equip outdoorsmen with fly or spinning rigs and guide vistors on fishing trips on the McKenzie River, Siuslaw River, and Lake Creek to catch rainbow and cutthroat trout, spring- and fall-run chinook, and steelhead. The guides can also arrange lunch options for every outing, such as deli-style sandwiches, Wild West barbecue, or hot dogs on a hook.
Down the McKenzie River, the staff members of River Trail Guides steer rafts through Class II and III rapids, taking thrill seekers as young as aged 6 along for the ride. Full- and half-day trips float down up to 14.5 miles of churning river, splashing over gurgling rapids before rafters stop to eat lunch. The guides also offer river drift-boat fishing, wherein visitors cast their lines toward seasonal catches, such as trout, steelhead, and smallmouth bass.