Rogue River

Teaming with wildlife, the Rogue River is popular for its scenic views and trout fishing. The Rogue flows through the picturesque town of Rockford before joining the Grand River. This river has been designated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources as a Natural River.

Reach R1. Grange Ave to Rockford ~ Distance: 8.2 miles

  • Difficulty Rating: Moderately difficult
  • Dam Portages: None
  • Opt-outs: Three (2.9 miles, 4.2 miles and 5.8 miles)
  • Travel Distance from Grand Rapids: 15 miles
  • Facilities: At the destination only (public restrooms)
  • Reach R1 Rate: $150 for 1 to 3 paddlers ~ Additional paddlers $25 each ~ 8 paddlers maximum
  • Approximate Paddling Duration: 2½ to 3½ hours

Please enjoy a short video tour of this experience: Reach R1 Trip

The Rogue River is a shallow, slow moving river surrounded by thicker forest than the Grand River. This forest forms a canopy over the river in several areas, offering beautiful scenery but making birds more difficult to see. The variety of plant life along the shores offers clues to the ecosystems supported by this river. Cardinal flowers and the invasive but pretty purple loosestrife are common. Ducks and turtles are abundant, and as we quietly drifted around a bend, we were able to approach a great blue heron quite closely before he flew a short distance down the river. Closer to Rockford, we were treated to the aerial acrobatics of a half dozen cedar waxwings zipping back and forth across the river catching insects in mid-flight. Just before we reached the Rockford Dam, we spotted an American bittern in a cluster of branches at the water’s edge. Due to its popularity on weekend afternoons, this reach is best experienced early in the morning, especially on the weekends.

Reach R2. Rockford to the Grand River ~ Distance: 6.9 miles

  • Difficulty Rating: Difficult
  • Dam Portages: None
  • Opt-outs:  Four (1.1 miles, 2.2 miles, 4.4 miles and 5.7 miles)
  • Travel Distance from Grand Rapids: 16 miles
  • Facilities: At the launch (public restrooms) and at the destination (porta-jon)
  • Reach R2 Rate: $140 for 1 to 3 paddlers ~ Additional paddlers $25 each ~ 8 paddlers maximum
  • Approximate Paddling Duration: 2 to 3 hours

Please enjoy a short video tour of this experience: Reach R2 Trip

This is an exciting and challenging reach. Recommended for experienced paddlers only. At low water levels, there are many exposed and partially submerged rocks, creating patches of rapids that challenge a paddler’s skills. The Rogue River winds back and forth along this reach, with beautiful lush vistas at each turn. But paddlers must pay attention and be ready for quick action to navigate this reach. Occasionally houses are spotted, but there are long stretches of untouched shoreline and there is very little human traffic on a weekday. Wildlife spotted on this reach include many kingfishers and turtles, green herons and an occasional great blue heron. Deer have also been spotted crossing the river right in front of paddlers. This reach ends where the Rogue empties into the Grand River. The confluence of the two rivers provides for some interesting ecology. Due to its popularity on weekend afternoons, this reach is best experienced early in the morning, especially on the weekends.

Combine R1 & R2 for Paddle & Dine Experience: Grange Ave to the Grand River w/ lunch in Rockford