Originally Posted by Hooter
I'm all for extending trips when possible. Also curious about non permit dailies and camping in the area.
There is a park known as "Q-Creek" (actually Quosatana Creek) about halfway between Agness and Gold Beach. It has a decent concrete boat ramp and plenty of rock beach space for de-rigging rafts. The park has RV dump, campsites and flush toilets. All of the shuttle services in Galice know of Q-Creek.
I would not recommend going beyond Q-Creek, because the river really flattens out and the channels start to braid. The actual drift time from Foster Bar to Q-Creek in a raft is about six hours, but you probably will want to allow extra time because of the high probability of afternoon head winds.
Our float plan involved camping at Watson Creek, 5 miles above Foster Bar. We stopped at Foster and off-loaded all of our trash. Lunch was just below the Illinois River confluence. We encountered a pretty strong headwind after that. There is a fairly long, beautiful stretch of wooded canyon with no roads visible. We found a decent sized beach for camping in this section, probably about five miles from Q-Creek.
Like you, we wanted to make our Rogue trip as long as possible. We launched in Grants Pass at Schroeder Park--campsite and concrete boat ramp. On other trips, we've launched at Chinook Park further upstream, just for the fun of floating through the heart of Grants Pass. But there's no camping there. Now that the Savage Rapids Dam is gone, you could launch anywhere upstream, but I have never floated that section.
Whether you launch at Chinook or Schroeder, your first nights camp is on the left at or just above the mouth of the Applegate River. Camping opportunities are very limited in this area, so don't miss it. Your first opportunity is on a gravel bar or island before you actually see the mouth of the Applegate. It's a decent camp, but tie your boats well, because the jet boats will shake them loose otherwise--they need to maintain speed through there to have control.
The much larger camp is right at the confluence of the Applegate. No problems with jet boats, but the camp is accessible by motor vehicle. Probably not a good place to camp on a weekend night.
The second day's float is for the fishermen in your party. I should say that there is no whitewater between Chinook Park and Hog Creek. Just a few riffles. But the current is good and you won't have any trouble moving downstream. Do some sight-seeing, jump in and swim, throw buckets of water at your friends, and hose the jetboats with your dipsticks.
Hellgate Canyon is a scenic surprise just below Hog Creek. Depending on the water level, there are good campsites on both sides of the river at the downstream end of the short canyon, just above Dunn Riffle.
Our third day involved our first actual rapids--three or four Class III read-and-run rapids--and took us past Galice. You can replenish your ice and supplies at the Galice Store (who has always handled my shuttles). There is a very good camping beach on the right, just around the right-hand bend below Galice. It is on a bench about ten feet above river level, so it isn't really visible from the river. Stop when you see the landing spot. The path up to the bench should be well-worn and visible. There are other camping possibilities before you get to Rand.
Know what the landing looks like for Rand, so that you can get your permit. If you get to Almeda Bar, you went too far and will have to walk back--and the rangers will grouse about not being able to see your required gear. But if you schmooze them they'll take your word that you have what you need.
The best bet is to make a stop at Rand before the trip, when you go to Galice to arrange your shuttle. We have always done that after launching all of the rafts. Drivers take the rigs to Galice, and we get a van ride back with the shuttle service.
From Almeda Bar to Foster Bar is the "normal" trip that private boaters usually do in three to five days.
Hope all of that helps.