OwSR No. 15: Illinois River

Kayaks on the Illinois River

Rafts on the wild section of the Illinois River | Photo: Zach Collier

Quick Facts

  • Managing Agency: Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest (USFS)
  • Designated Stretch: Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Boundary to confluence with Rogue River
  • Designation Length: 50.4 miles (28.7 miles Wild, 17.9 miles Scenic, and 3.8 miles Recreational)
  • Outstanding Remarkable Values: Scenery, recreation, fish, botany, and water quality
  • Wild and Scenic River Designation: October 19, 1984

More Information

Celebrated by Barry McKenzie, Tom Fliss, Matt Curry, Zander Davis, and Zach Collier by paddling from Miami Bar to Oak Flat on April 30 to May 2, 2017.


Darren Applegate: Back In the day I was guiding for Sundance kayak center doing a 4 day trip down the illy and on day two we picked a beach to set up camp for the nite it was early spring and while setting up the kitchen I looked around and saw 100s or 1000s of fresh morels that had just popped up all around the camp and into the Forrest it was like a dream come true except for the fact that we were soooo busy that we weren’t able to harvest any of them. It was an incredible trip none the less. I feel very blessed to have taken commercial trips down that section of whitewater it’s one of my favorites on this continent from Oregon to Panama!

Corey Stemmerman: Took IK’s down one summer in July and the flow was only 225. Done the spring run a few time at the normal flows but the lower water summer float is still a favorite among our group. Warm water and snorkeling one of the clearest rivers on Oregon was amazing. There is a stretch above Pine Flats that have some amazing white granite imbedded into the rocks beolw. It’s was incredible.

Kent Wickham: One trip, sub hole lived up to its low water nickname, over easy, by flipping five oar boats in a row. ( you get wedged in the slot , and ever so slowly, tumble!) Only the paddle raft made it upright. One rower, in his new $300 dry suit, managed to fall out on the left bank. To this day he gets kidded about being the only person ever to flip a raft and get road rash.

Wild Iris on the Illinois RiverZach Collier: My first Illinois trip was as a training guide for ARTA in 2004. I was certainly impressed by it's whitewater and scenery but what really caugh my attention were the flowers. There were many I had never seen and it was nice to once again find Darlingtonia (Pitcher Plants) after seeing them many times before on the North Fork of the Smith River. What really blew me away was finding wild iris. We were doing a short hike across from Collier Creek and found a bunch of iris along the river. I'd never seen an iris growing wildly and now every time I see one I think of that time at Collier Creek.

Learn about Oregon Wild and Scenic River No. 16: The Owyhee River >>


Northwest Rafting Company Exploratory Division