Southern Oregon's Wild and Scenic Illinois River is considered by some to be the best wilderness rafting trip in the country. Few rivers can match its combination of extreme isolation, solitude (we can only take 24 people a year down this river!), beauty, and whitewater. The Illinois features crystal clear water, countless waterfalls tumbling into the river, a spectacular canyon with steep walls draped in moss and ferns, and world-class pool drop whitewater. This rafting trip is what wilderness river running is all about and we are honored to offer it.
The Illinois is a classic Momentum spring trip. Remote, very rarely run, with the kind of challenging logistics that we relish! We truly love showing people this place. Please call if you have any questions about this amazing adventure!
Our Illinois Rafting Trips were featured in Outside Magazine
The Illinois begins at the crest of the Siskiyou Mountains along the Oregon California border. The river then makes a very brief run through civilization before tumbling through the coastal mountains of the vast Kalmiopsis Wilderness (where we begin our trip). This section is one of the most inaccessible stretches of river in the country and the canyons and mountains are as rugged and steep as any in Oregon.
There is a ton of amazing whitewater with 11 class IV drops, one class V (the infamous "Green Wall") and countless others. The rapids are a perfect combination of giant boulders, big holes, steep drops, and crystal clear crashing waves.
There are no dams on the Illinois and it is fed by a relatively low elevation snow pack so the rafting season is April through early May before the water drops too low. Because of this, a journey down the Illinois can also be a test of rain gear – it's the Pacific Northwest in spring! However with the right gear (we will help you with that) and the right attitude the rainiest of trips will still be remembered as trip of a life time. And if everything comes together and the trip is enjoyed under blue skies this canyon is as close to paradise as you will find.
You by no means need to be an expert to raft the Illinois – adventurous first timers in good physical condition are more then welcome. However this trip is a true adventure and all guests need to be ready for inclement weather and most of all need to bring an adventurous spirit.
- The water levels on the Illinois fluctuate wildly and can rise to un-raftable levels in less then a day. Because of this it is possible that we may be forced to run an alternate stretch at the last minute.
- Trips are kept very small with a 2 or 3 to one guest to guide ratio.
- We can only take 24 people down a year so trips fill very quickly.
We had a fabulous time and will recommend Momentum enthusiastically!
We had a fabulous time on the Illinois. Thank you for being so knowledgeable, patient and supportive. We also really appreciated the great meals, especially for vegan, lactose intolerant folks.
Simon,it was an incredible trip and you guys did a fantastic job of keeping us amused, well fed and safe.