Grande Ronde River

Trip

Whitewater Packraft - Grande Ronde River

Join us for a fun, late-spring packrafting trip down the Wallowa and Grande Ronde Rivers in NE Oregon!

  • Class III River
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 65.6 mi

Put in at the Minam Store (https://goo.gl/maps/TzJBtnaLCa1U3z8W9) where we’ll arrange a shuttle to the take-out. We plan to take out at Boggan’s Oasis (65 river miles), but in case river flow and velocity is lower than expected, we may plan to take out at Troy (46 river miles) depending on participant preference.

Overview

Starting at Minam, we’ll run the lower 10 miles of the Wallowa River and then 56 miles of the Grande Ronde River, taking out at Boggan’s Oasis. Between Minam and Troy, the river winds through a basalt canyon with a dense coniferous forest and abundant, pleasant campsites. Between Troy and Boggan’s Oasis the canyon walls become steeper and drier, and a rural road and ranches flank the river. We may see wildlife including bighorn sheep, elk, and deer.

The drive from Seattle to the put-in in Minam and from the take-out at Boggan’s Oasis is about 7:30 h. At the currently projected flows, the river velocity would be moving at about 3 – 5 mph. If flows are lower than currently projected, we may plan to take out at Troy (46 river miles) rather than at Boggan's Oasis (65 river miles).

On the River

The Grande Ronde has several class III rapids which consist mainly of large wave trains that are easy to descend in packrafts.  At lower water flows, some of the rapids can become more technical, but for our trip dates flows are projected to be moderate.  Some of the class III rapids can be portaged. Participants should anticipate paddling most of the class III rapids. The American Whitewater description provides detail on the rapids.

Expenses

These estimated trip expenses will be shared:

  • We’ll use the shuttle service run by the Minam Store to take one or more of our cars to the take-out. This will save us more than 3 hours of driving on the first day. $195/vehicle will be a shared expense
  • There is no river permit fee for boating the Grande Ronde River.
  • We may decide to stop for a meal or treat at the Wenaha Cafe in Troy or at Boggan’s Oasis.

How to Join

Read through the river and trip description above.  If it is appealing, consider the river difficulty.  If you feel the trip is within your ability, then read the goals, expectations and style below to discuss the trip with the leader.

Goals

  • Welcome all members of the Mountaineers packraft community including those relatively new to packraft trips
  • Be safe: Make decisions with risk management in mind
  • Have fun and enjoy being on the trip regardless of conditions
  • Enjoy one another’s company and create a positive culture of mutual supportiveness, respect, and kindness

Expectations

  • Actively contribute to achieving the group’s goals
  • Participate in group decisions and abide by decisions made by the group or the leader
  • Be able to assess whether you can safely paddle versus portage a rapid
  • When river conditions are more difficult, maintain group awareness and positioning to help each other
  • Don’t take risks that other group members don’t support

Style

  • A relaxed breakfast, on the water by mid-morning, stop for camp by about 4pm, have time for some hiking and a relaxed evening
  • Decision-making collaborative and by consensus whenever possible
  • No fires
  • Planning some shared meals or meal items is encouraged but everyone is free to plan food as they wish
Route/Place

Grande Ronde River


Roster
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Minimum Equipment for each participant 

  • Packraft, with grab lines on bow and stern
  • Paddle, sized for a packraft
  • Life jacket, PFD Class III or better
  • Whitewater helmet
  • Drysuit or thick wetsuit
  • Closed-toe shoes, no sandals
  • Spare clothing
  • Boat repair kit
  • Waterproof Whistle
  • Minimum Equipment for the party

Minimum Equipment for the party 

  • Rescue rope and throw bag, one or more as needed for the trip 
  • Spare paddle, one or more
  • First Aid kit
Trip Reports