OWSR No. 29: Grande Ronde River

Grande Ronde River

Grande Ronde River | Photo: Nate Wilson

Quick Facts

  • Managing Agency: Umatilla National Forest (USFS), Wallowa-Whitman National Forest (USFS), and Baker Field Office (BLM)
  • Designated Stretch: From confluence with Wallowa River to the Washington Border
  • Designation Length: 43.8 miles (26.4 miles Wild and 17.4 miles Recreational)
  • Outstanding Remarkable Values: Scenery, recreation, fisheries, and wildlife
  • Wild and Scenic River Designation: October 28, 1988

More Information

Celebrated by Nate, Chrisy, and Marshall Wilson by boating the Wallowa and Grande Ronde Rivers from July 28-30, 2017.


Fishing on the Grande Ronde RiverNate Wilson: By late July, most of Northeastern Oregon's rivers and streams had neared what began to look like unnavigable flows. I had been watching the gauges for weeks in anticipation of my brother's arrival from South Carolina, and wondering if our planned float down the Grande Ronde was going to be a bust.

When we did finally arrive at the Minam store to set up a shuttle, no one that worked there made it seem like we wouldn't make it with the current levels and that was good enough for our crew. Along with my wife, brother, and dog, I pushed out into the current and immediately felt glad to be there.

No one does the Grande Ronde for the whitewater, so if we had to occasionally push our raft over a gravel bar it did not detract from the great scenery the river here is known for. My brother had good luck fishing on the cooler water near our put in, but found ample time to pester the fish through out our trip. None of us had a map or way to discern where we were, but managed to find plentiful camps in old growth Ponderosa Pine groves on elevated bars each night. Our days on the river were undoubtedly longer because of the low flows, but in the heat of the summer we wouldn't have strayed far from the water anyway.

Rafting the Grande Ronde RiverZach Collier: In the spring of 2006 the rivers of Oregon were running high. A group of use planned a 5 day trip on the Owyhee River but decided to do the Grade Ronde instead because it would be safer at high water.

We began at the Minam Store on the Wallowa River and made miles quickly. Of the 5 days we had alloted we only spent 3 floating on the river. The other days we spent hiking, playing frisbee golf and enjoying our campsites.

Learn about Oregon Wild and Scenic River No. 30: The Roaring River >>


Northwest Rafting Company Exploratory Division Wild River Life