Raft the Upper Klamath

Take to the water in style, with your own riverside compound.

By Rachel Ritchie February 23, 2016 Published in the March 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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You know our rivers by now. You’ve sunbathed on the Sandy, dipped in the Washougal, fished the Wilson, or kayaked the Deschutes. This year, level up your game with a full-on river safari. Yes—that’s a real thing. Over the past few years, the devoted river rats at Ashland’s Momentum River Expeditions have honed and expanded their lavish “Bush Camp” on the Upper Klamath River. Tucked amid a grove of ponderosa pines deep in the river’s canyon and accessible only by raft, the safari-style camp consists of a smattering of platform tents, a shaded dining room and bar, and a riverside yoga deck. It is glamping at its best. And you must earn it.

The Upper Klamath, a stretch of river Momentum owner Pete Wallstrom calls “the best summer rapids on the West Coast,” carves a steep canyon through the high desert of the Southern Cascades. A two- or three-day trip delivers everything from mellow stretches of quick whitewater to rollicking rapids longer than a football field. And once you pull into the Bush Camp at the end of your invigorating first day on the river, a whole new set of opportunities emerges: hiking, fly-fishing, and mountain biking—or maybe just napping in your little luxury tent and sampling signature libations at the “UK Bar.” Evening brings hors d’oeuvres, a three-course candlelit dinner, a chance to marvel at the profound quiet that settles in as darkness swallows the canyon. For the next two days, the Bush Camp is your home base as you explore the river on kayak, bike, and foot.

Since every group has its quirks (we’re looking at you, foodies), Momentum offers customizable trips. Interested in serious gourmet food? They’ll line up a personal chef. Wanna work in some wine tasting? They’ll gather the best bottles from Southern Oregon to pair with a selection of local cheeses. How about an inflatable, propane-fueled hot tub? Simple. Dream up your wildest river fantasy and watch it come to life.

Momentum River Expeditions


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