There has been only one other time in my life that I’ve been on a jet boat, and that was on the famous Shotover Jet Boat Ride in Queenstown. Now it’s hard to beat that one. It’s a raucous 20 minute ride that is reminiscent of an amusement park ride where there are death-defying spins and close calls with cliff sides. In other words, it was an adrenaline rush in the best ways.
The recent jet boat ride I did with Jerry’s Rogue Jets in Gold Beach, Oregon was very different in a lot of ways. There were still spins here and there, but the main purpose of the tour wasn’t for the giddy-inducing stomach flips. It was for the scenery, and let me tell you, the Rogue River knows how to set a beautiful scene.
Another major difference was the length of the ride. The jet boat ride in southern Oregon was a half day affair that gave you a good idea of the Rogue River and the many unique parts of it. We came across the Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge that was built in 1930, small waterfalls, a teepee, and many gorgeous reflections on the smooth river.
Jerry’s Rogue Jets offer other trips that are even longer and little more wild if the thrills are more your thing. We stayed in the scenic length of the Rogue River, along the 60-mile historic mail route. You see, Jerry’s is the oldest commercial jet boating operation in the US, using hydro-jet pumps since 1958. The company has also been delivering mail since 1895, before jet boating was a thing. The mail boats started at a time when there weren’t roads or much infrastructure to get letters to all of the residences along the river.
At the halfway point of the 60-mile trip, about a hour and a half in, we stopped in at the Cougar Lane Lodge for lunch. They specialize in good ol’ American BBQ, and although the pulled pork was a bit on the dry side, it was a lovely spot on the river to have lunch. My companions on the trip commented on how great their veggie burgers were, and the pink cocktails at the restaurant were the perfect remedy after a chilly morning on the Rogue River.
Jerry’s also offer 80 and 104-mile jet boat trips if you’d like to see more rugged beauty and rapids along the Rogue River. The 80-mile journey is just under 5 hours and takes you through a handful of exhilarating rapids. I’ve never been jet boating through rapids before, so I can only imagine on fun it would be after my own recent whitewater rafting experience in Canada.
The 104-mile trip goes further into the “wild” section of the Rogue River. Jerry’s is the only commercial jet boat company that’s allowed to operate in this remote 12-mile wild section of the river, so you are at least guaranteed to have a unique experience. The only other ways to get to this section are through rafting and hiking.
This longer trip is just under 7 hours and gives you one of the fuller experiences you can have along the river. Although I’d imagine it’s not as crazy as white water rafting through the same rapids, when you’re more at the will of the water, it’s still an attractive option for those who don’t want to get quite as soaked but still want some of the same thrills.
The jet boats only run from May to mid-October when the river is at its best and safest for jet boats. We managed to see a couple of bald eagles, a river otter, and a few other marine and wildlife animals during out time on the river, so there is plenty of wildlife viewing to be had as well.
And if you were wondering, yes, they still deliver mail to this day. They carry mail out with them everyday on any given jet boat ride to deliver to locals along the river.
Have you been jet boating before? What’s your favorite river activity?
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