River Lodges

Places to stay on the rivers

By Lynette Sanchez and Ariel Bleicher June 26, 2009

YOU’VE READ OUR guide to the state’s best rivers; now you need to know the best lodges, cottages, and cabins to complement your river adventure.



Location Three hundred yards downriver from Lower Black Bar Falls, Black Bar Lodge is nine miles from Grave Creek Bridge, which is the start of Wild and Scenic Area. Black Bar Lodge is only accessible by the river and Rogue River Trail.
Rates $120 rafters; $130 hikers
Contact 541.479.6507;

Built in the early 1930’s by miners as a getaway for Tom Orderman, a Portland attorney and friend of Zane Grey, Black Bar Lodge is the first overnight stop for many hikers and paddlers making multi-day journeys down the Rogue. In fact, owners John and Vanessa James and their daughter Rheanna, host up to 4,500 visitors per year in the lodge’s two rooms and sixteen cabins. You’ll bump elbows with a few of them at the family-style dinners and country breakfasts each day. Just be sure to keep your flashlight nearby if you plan to spin yarns into the wee hours with your new friends because the lights go out at 10 p.m., when the generator is turned off for the night.


Location Twenty-three miles from Grave Creek Bridge, Marial Lodge is three miles upriver from Blossom Bar and Devil’s Staircase Rapids.
Rates $100
Contact 541.474.2057

Just one mile upriver from this 11-room lodge, sits the gold-mining community of Marial, for which the lodge’s founder, Marial Billings, was named. At the national historic site, you can tour the remains of the one hundred-member community, including the blacksmith shop and tabernacle. Head back to the lodge for a hearty family-style dinner prepared by owners Pat Cameron and his wife Lori before curling up for bed and rising early to mine the river’s real treasure: the fish.


Location Paradise Lodge is 26 miles from Grave Creek Bridge, just past Blossom Bar. It is accessible by the river, Rogue River Trail, or a helicopter.
Rates $145 (includes two meals, for rafters) $160 (three meals, jetboats and hikers)
Contact 1.888.667.6483; 541.842.2822;

With no phones or televisions anywhere on the lodge’s eighty-five riverside acres, you’ll enjoy the same feeling of remoteness as Charles Pettinger when he bought the land in 1903. Hike up to Deak’s Peak, named after Deak Miller who built the main lodge in 1959, for an aerial view of the lodge. Then restore weary muscles with a dip in the sauna and a few sips of a local wine on the deck overlooking the river.

Clay Hill Lodge

Location Clay Hill Lodge is located thirty miles downriver from Grave Creek. It is accessible by the Rogue River trail and the river.
Rates $125
Contact 503.859.3772;

The last public lodge on the Wild and Scenic portion of the Rogue, Clay Hill was once owned by Glen Wooldridge, a boatmaker and guide who was the first person to successfully run the river from Grants Pass to Gold Beach in 1915 (and thirty-two years later he was the first person to run the river upstream in a motorized boat). In his 19-year tenure as owner (from 1942 to 1961), Wooldridge hosted such guests as Herbert Hoover, Clark Gable, and Ginger Rogers. The building was completely remodeled by new owners in 2002, who hope to eventually restore the original homestead, and still attracts visitors from as far as the Netherlands and Germany to spend the night.


Location 94966 North Bank Rogue River Road, Gold Beach
Rates from $125
Contact 541.247.7100;

A stunning example of DIY and green lodging, the Rogue River Lodge’s 2005 remodel was done using reclaimed Port Orford Cedar from the ocean and Biscuit Fire of 2004. What’s more owner Mark Stewart milled the wood himself. Renovations were completed in 2007, and today almost all of the lodge’s suites have private gardens and sweeping views of the river—and most also have their own hot tub.


Location 8500 Galice Road, Merlin
Rates $160
Contact 800.826.1963;

This historic fishing lodge, built in 1945 by river guide Lloyd Morrison, has expanded to a full-service resort coupling rustic river activities with modern amenities. Take a dip in the heated pool or bask in the glow of your room’s cable tv after a day spent fishing or hiking along the river. The Hanten family has owned and operated the lodge since 1964 and were one of the first to run rafting trips down the river in the ’70s. Their gourmet four-course dinners, featured in Bon Appétit twice, are served nightly on the deck, accompanied by unbeatable river views.


Location 5560 Rogue River Hwy, Grants Pass
Rates $199
Contact 541.471.8000;

Five miles outside Grants Pass, the inn is your retreat along the Rogue. Built in 1924, Weasku has seen its fair share of celebrity guests: Request lodge room four to stay where Clark Gable and Carol Lombard once did, or ask to sleep where Walt Disney once dreamed (in colorful animation, no doubt). But if you want truly luxurious celebrity treatment, reserve a Jacuzzi suite with a river rock fireplace and private deck.

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Location 54455 McKenzie River Dr, Rainbow
Rates from $195
Contact 541.822.3725;

Built in 1910, Holiday Farm once hosted President Herbert Hoover; today it hosts Big Brother reunions (current owner Kail Harbick was evicted from the show on season eight). The odd mix of history and reality TV is echoed in the recent renovations, which restored the farmhouse’s parlor to its Hoover-esque décor while moving the modern lounge downstairs. The lodge’s twelve cottages, though remain somewhere in the middle—quaint, comfy, and nestled within earshot of the gurgling McKenzie.


Location 49198 McKenzie Highway, Vida
Rates from $130
Contact 541.822.3630;

The Eagle Rock Lodge is all about McKenzie River drift boats. John West, a charter member of the McKenzie River Guides Association and drift boat designer, built the original home in 1947. And its current owners, Debbie and Randy Dersham host the annual Wooden Boat Festival, opening weekend of Oregon’s fishing season, which attracts boat owners from across the country. But boaters aren’t the only ones who descend on Eagle Rock and its expansive lawn facing the Willamette National Forest; the eight-room lodge hosts weddings every weekend in the summer, so make sure you plan your stay well in advance.


Location 56687 McKenzie Highway, McKenzie Bridge
Rates from $175
Contact 541.822.6231;

Constructed by the same Swedish hands that worked on Timberline Lodge, the original Loloma homestead was built in 1932. Four more cabins were added in 1964 and the property was fully refurbished in 2005. Stay in one of the four riverfront cabins where you’ll be just feet from the McKenzie. Each is decorated with its own theme from Hawaii to Hard Rock, providing equal parts comfort and kitsch.


Location 49164 McKenzie Highway, Vida
Rates from $98
Contact 541.822.6260;

The oldest bed and breakfast on the McKenzie, the inn celebrated its thirtieth anniversary last year. The original homestead, now the Osprey Cottage, was built in 1929 by the Stout family, who came from Boston to settle in Oregon. The inn’s current owner, Bert de Klerk, made a similar trek West from Holland to be with his wife, Hubertina. Settled on the West Bar and inside corner of the river, the inn has year-round sunshine and the best fishing spot on the river. The organic orchards, planted by the Reynolds, the second owners, now boast five varieties of apples and four types of plums along with pears, currants, and berries. Don’t be surprised to see the fruits make an appearance in your morning breakfast.

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Location 23049 North Umpqua Highway, Glide
Rates from $90
Contact 541.496.0563;

Let the river be your muse at Steelhead Run, where you can take an oil painting lesson from owner and artist Nancy Acosta. Her works portray life in the West during the 1800s and are on display in the property’s gallery. Steelhead Run has direct access to the river with a beach, large lawn, and picnic area. All of the three themed apartments can open up to create one lodge, so you can bring the whole family. However, the entire property was sold and will be converted to an adult foster home in January.



Location 304 Bakeoven Road, Maupin
Rates from $89
Contact 800.395.3903;

Rafting. Fishing. Pheasant hunting. Volleyball. Poker. Imperial offers every activity imaginable and twenty-five rooms to relax in once you’re done. Sixteen have river views and five boast jet tubs. Named after the Imperial Stock Ranch, a national historic site that has been in operation since 1871, Imperial River Company serves the ranch’s beef and lamb in their restaurant above the Deschutes and offers tours to see the ranch’s activities throughout the year.



Location 19380 East Summertime Drive, Sandy
Rates from $130
Contact 503.622.5754;

With its quirky decor, Hidden Woods feels a little like Grandma’s house. That is, if Grandma owned a private cabin along the Sandy. There’s a pond with two-foot trout (for looking, not touching) and painted mice figurines stealthily planted around the cabin, which you’ll have all to yourself. Built in 1929, the current owners completely restored the cabin adding a hot tub, air conditioning, and lush gardens. Fish or swim along the cabin’s private banks after enjoying a beautifully prepared breakfast at the main lodge.


Location 61661 East Highway 26, Sandy
Rates from $195
Contact 503.622.6699;

On a bluff overlooking the point where the Sandy and Salmon rivers meet sits a rustic castle with over-the-top décor. It starts with the indoor koi pond and waterfall at the entrance and extends throughout the house with beds made of twisted juniper trees and deer and elk antler chandeliers. The Sandy Salmon was meant to be Jerry and Maggie Emmert’s retirement home, but they couldn’t resist the opportunity to share it with others. You can thank Jerry’s hunting expeditions for the mounted heads of sheep, elk, and bison found around the lodge, and Maggie’s chef skills for your gourmet breakfast—in fact, you can thank her in person, since she’ll be the one serving your morning meal when you come to visit this majestic cabin in the woods.

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Location 25551 Southwest Forest Service Road 1419, Camp Sherman
Rates $235
Contact 541.595.6281; 800.818.7688;

Mere steps from the banks of the Metolius, the eleven fully-equipped cabins invite you to leave your cell phones at home (they won’t work anyway) and do nothing more than listen to the soothing rush of the river and watch the woodpeckers and mule deer forage outside your window. But should you get antsy for activity, your stay won’t be without modern amenities—including free wifi, satellite TV, and gourmet dining—and plenty of opportunity for adventure. Fly-fish the world-class Metolius River, hike, bike, or ski the trails in Deschutes National Forest, golf at Aspen Lakes or Black Butte Ranch, or experience dramatic panoramas of the snowcapped High Cascades along the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway—it’s all within an hour’s drive from your front porch.


Location 12390 Forest Road 1419, Camp Sherman
Rates from $99
Contact 541.595.6290;

These family-sized rooms and free-standing lodges are nestled beneath sweet-smelling ponderosa pines along the banks of the Metolius River. The units are comfortable and modern—most come with a full kitchen, fireplace, and barbeque—but without a single television on the grounds, you’ll have no choice but to get out and enjoy the cool, crisp Oregon air. Whether you venture to Mount Bachelor for a day on the slopes, to the historic Western-style town of Sisters to browse the shops, or just as far as your fireplace with a good book, you’ll appreciate the reprieve from city life. And should you need anything from fishing advice to a bottle of local pinot grigio, the Camp Sherman Store & Fly Shop is right next door.


Location 13375 Southwest Forest Service Road 1419, Camp Sherman
Rates from $145, off season $95
Contact 800.797.6331;

A night in one of eighteen guest cabins on the 40-acre resort has gotten pricier since Martin and Lena Hansen charged guests $1.75 a day (boarding a horse cost an additional $.75) back in 1929. But current owners Jeff and Gordon Jones have scaled up the amenities along with the price. While Hansen equipped his cabins with little more than a mattress and a wood-burning stove, Lake Creek Lodge now offers beautifully-furnished, pet-friendly cabins and an almost overwhelming abundance of recreation and relaxation. Without leaving the grounds, you can take a dip in the heated pool, shoot hoops on the basketball court, play a game of tetherball, tennis, Foosball, pool, or ping pong, sit down to a family dinner at the Lake Creek Lodge Restaurant, or doze off in a hammock beneath the pines. The world-renowned fly waters of the wild and scenic Metolius are only a 20-minute walk away, and Lake Creek is right outside your doorstep.

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