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.


• This is the kind of trip we are known for – remote and off the beaten path. It is a 'backyard' river for us and we know it extremely well.
• Small trips, unparalleled personal service, and a greater experience.
• A small company committed to amazing trips & our wild places.
• Safety: All our guides have a minimum 5 years of experience leading trips around the world.
• Excellent meals featuring local and organic produce & products
• All inclusive: all camping gear included if needed (ultra-comfortable 3” sleeping pads).
• Most importantly - we are friendly, we love what we do, and it shows!

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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"
  • "I can't say enough about my recent trip with Momentum on the Illinois, it was an adventure in the truest sense of the word. We caught heavy rain at our first campsite (Pine Creek) which spiked the river flow; we basically waited 2 days for the flow to normalize before proceeding into the class IV section. Cooper and Andy were fabulous, hard-working guides with big hearts and a strong commitment to maximizing the experience for the guests. Early in the trip, I had commented that my wife collects stones from various places we've been. Andy remembered that and gave me a cool one to bring back home to my wife at the end of the trip. I was shocked - who does that sort of thing these days? The Klondike Creek campground was like paradise; I did not want to leave! This was not my first trip with Momentum, so I know how good the food is. But this was my first multi-day, and I was astonished how good and varied the food was over the 4 days. I have traveled a ton and have had a multitude of outdoor experiences. In my experience, Momentum provides exceptional service. I would highly recommend Momentum to family and friends, and am eager for my next multi-day with you, perhaps the Cal Salmon."
  • "Anthony - Thank you for such an amazing trip! I still can't believe this was my first white water rafting was ridiculously beautiful and SO MUCH FUN! And you all are such great guides/hosts. I hope the rest of your season goes well and I hope to see you on another trip soon! "
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