Illinois River Rafting

One of the great wilderness trips in the country - some say the best


4 days


April - early May


Class IV+ (V):
For the experienced and adventurous beginner in good physical condition.
Minimum age 14


Rafting, Hiking


Medford OR (MFR)


Ashland/Medford, OR

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.

Momentum Illinois Trips
Oregon's Illinois River with Klondike Peak in the background - Photo: Pete WallstromThe 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 eleven 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.

Please Note:
– 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.

Recent Testimonials

  • "I just wanted to thank you again for the great Illinois trip a few weeks ago, it was definitely one of the best multi-day trips I have ever been on and, as usual, the attention to detail that you and your guides adhere to is astounding and very much appreciated"
  • "Pete, Yesterday I completed a trip on the Illinois with Arden and Simon as my guides. It was a great four days and they are both extremely competent professionals. I would recommend Momentum without hesitation to my friends. I look forward to my next trip with your company. With best regards, Sam Miller"
  • "Pete, If I had to pick one word to describe our trip down the Illinois River last week (with Mike and Mara), the subject line of this email would be it. I knew going in that it was likely to be a good trip, and that we would have fun. I didn't realize that it would be one of (if not THE) best trip/vacation/experience we've ever had. Mike and Mara were nothing short of phenomenal. They were friendly, great guides (Mara's safety instructions would later come in handy to me when I became a member of the Illinois Swim Team), good cooks and now - counted amongst our friends. Mara went above and beyond to make sure our anniversary was celebrated (seriously - a private romantic dinner for two at the Klondike Creek camp? how awesome is that?!), Mike kept all of our gear dry and intact and both kept us safe and wholly entertained. I can say for certain that Ann and I *WILL* be back to run more rivers with your company - and we really hope to cross paths with Mike and Mara again in the future. Ann actually cried as they drove off after dropping us off. We miss them. (Feel free to share this with them, even if it will inflate Mike's ego ;-) ) On a scale of 1-10 we're rating this a perfect 10. We've never done that before. Thanks again for an amazing run down the gorgeous Illinois - it was one experience I know I won't forget. Oh - and Tell Mike and Mara we miss them! John (and Ann) Whelan"
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