Wallowa Resources Whitewater Retreat:
The confluence of history, restoration and adventure
June 2-4 2023: Experience the beauty, history, and union of natural resources and rural communities on this unique 3-day guided river trip through the Wild & Scenic section of the beautiful Grande Ronde River in Northeastern Oregon. Float the river and run the rapids by day, then sit by the campfire and listen to live music and inspiring speakers by night while eating locally sourced food and sipping a cold Terminal Gravity pilsner.
Learn about a rural community’s connection to the land on this unique educational adventure. Featured speakers will cover a wide range of topics related to their history, sense of place, and the promise of a sustainable future through exciting new land management practices and an innovative new stewardship economy.
- Welcome gathering at the Winding Water’s boathouse in Joseph
- Inspiring Campfire Storytellers
- Live acoustic music each day
- Local sourced meals and & Terminal Gravity beer
- Volunteer opportunities available for those interested
Seventy Five percent of your trip cost will go towards 501(c)3 non-profit Wallowa Resources Stewardship Programs that are strengthening our rural communities, investing in people and the land, and fostering the next generation of rural leaders.
Musical Entertainment: provided by the talented Darrell Brann and his daughter Meredith owners/operators of the almost 100 year old OK Theater in Enterprise, OR.
Locally Sourced Food and Beer: Winding Waters’ gourmet menu is capstoned with locally raised, grown and sourced ingredients, including beef from Liza Jane’s 6 Ranch. We are happy to accommodate most dietary needs upon request. Let our guides take care of every last detail while you build memories to last a lifetime.
For more information about Wallowa Resources and their work, please visit these websites:
- Wallowa Resources – A nationally recognized community based non-profit.
- Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition – a coalition of community-based groups, small businesses, county governments, and regional and national partners promoting balanced conservation-based approaches to the ecological and economic problems facing the rural West and the nation.
- My Blue Mountains Woodland – a public-private partnership advancing forest restoration and stewardship across 900,000 acres of family forest lands in Northeast Oregon.
- Wallowa Whitman Forest Collaborative – a diverse group of stakeholders working to improve the social, economic, and ecological resiliency of the Wallowa Whitman National Forest and local communities through collaboration.
Nils Christoffersen, Wallowa Resources Executive Director, has diverse experience in place-based natural resource management from working around the world, including ranching in Australia, farming in Israel, fishing and forestry in Norway, and forestry and wildlife in southern Africa. He is passionate about working landscapes and the role of rural communities in their stewardship. He is a graduate of both Williams College (B.A. Economics) and Oxford University (M.S. Forestry), and has served on many local and national boards – including the National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry. He currently serves on the Oregon Board of Forestry, World Forest Center’s Board of Directors, and Enterprise School District Board. He previously served on the National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry (2003-2008), and Chaired the Governor of Oregon’s Eastside Forest Advisory Panel from 2003-2005.
We expect to have 1 or 2 additional speakers along to share their stories with us. These are yet to be scheduled.
2022 Grande Ronde River Rates & Dates
|Youth (18 & under)||$716|
Custom Dates and Trip Lengths Available Upon Request
2023 Grande Ronde River Rates & Dates
|Youth (18 & under)||$796|
Cancellation Policy: Your reservation will be confirmed after we receive a deposit of 50% of your total trip cost. Your trip balance will be due 30 days prior to your launch date. If you find it necessary to cancel your trip, you should notify Winding Waters River Expeditions in writing or by e-mail immediately. If written cancellation is received (call to verify) before the final balance is due, you will be given a refund less the amount of the deposit. Again, deposits are non-refundable. If cancellations are made on or after the final due date, no money will be refunded. If you are unable to go on the trip, you are welcome to find a replacement for yourself. Please understand that once you’ve signed up, we lose the right to sell your reserved space to other individuals or groups. Therefore, we regret that we cannot make exceptions for personal emergencies. For this reason, we highly recommend buying Travelex Travel Insurance to protect your investment.
Winding Waters River Expeditions reserves the right, either prior to or after departure, in its good-faith discretion and in circumstances that warrant it, to change any trip itinerary. This includes the possibility of moving to a different river or river segment due to extreme water conditions, forest fires, road closures and/or acts of God.
Day 0 -: Arrive in Joseph, Oregon in time to meet at 6pm at the Winding Waters’ Boathouse for our pre-trip orientation. At this meeting we’ll have introductions, discuss trip logistics, receive personal dry-bags, and answer remaining questions. Visit our Boathouse Shop for any last minute items for your trip, including sunscreen, river shirts, river hats, and more. You will be able to park your vehicle at our Boathouse during the trip as well as store valuable items that you do not want to take on the river.
Day 1 – Launch/River Day: Winding Waters provides transportation to the river launch in Minam, Oregon (45 minute drive). Meet at the Boathouse for Breakfast at 8:00AM with departure for the river planned after breakfast. Meet your guide crew at the launch and leave the boat ramp by 10:30am. The first half of the day will be on the Wallowa River. Lunch will be riverside near the confluence of the Wallowa and Grande Ronde Rivers. Arrive in camp by 4:00pm. Expect an evening beginning with a delicious meal, followed by good conversation, campfire, games and music. Feel free to bring a musical instrument.
Day 2 – River Day: The morning routine: hot drinks and fruit juice served by 7am and breakfast served by 8am. The guide crew will break camp and after a brief discussion of the day’s plan, begin the day’s float by 10am. As we float, we will make stops to explore, swim, take a short hike and relax in the shade. Be sure to ask your guide for a turn at the oars, as we love giving interested people this unique opportunity to learn. Lunch is served riverside. Plan to arrive in camp by about 4pm. Expect another wonderful evening beginning with a delicious meal followed up with good conversation, campfire, games and music.
Day 3 – River/Take Out Day: Morning routine. Today will be spent floating, scanning the slopes for wildlife, spotting the birds responsible for those beautiful songs, exploring an old homestead site, taking a short hike in the wildflowers, laughing and playing in the river. Lunch will be served riverside. Our journey will end in Troy, Oregon at the take out around 2pm where the Winding Waters van will meet us for the drive back to our Boathouse in Joseph. Return by 5pm with plenty of time to shower and dine at a local restaurant.
Included in your Trip Cost:
- Round-trip transportation to and from the river
- Outstanding, fully catered guide service, along with all necessary equipment
- All camping equipment, including spacious tents, cots, and thick sleeping pads
- All meals from departure to return
Put-In/Launch (Minam, OR):
Take-Out (Wildcat Bridge near Troy, OR):
Q: Do you need experience to go on this whitewater rafting trip, or can you take beginners?
A: The wonderful thing about rafting with an outfitter is that you do not need any experience. When joining a whitewater rafting trip with Winding Waters, guests are at ease knowing we have trained, professional guides who know the river. The level of difficulty of a river is based on the character of its whitewater rapids. The Grande Ronde River is class II-III and we consider it a mellow scenic float with rapids interspersed. We have taken many novices down this river and they have felt very safe in our hands.
Q: What’s the youngest age you can take on this trip?
A: We can take children ages 12 and up. We have child-sized US Coast Guard-approved personal floatation devices (PFD’s). The Grande Ronde is a great river for young children as it’s a mellow river. We’re happy to consult with parents about any specific questions.
Q: Can we charter a private trip? How many people do we need?
A: We are glad to offer private charter trips to groups of 15 or more (or smaller groups who wish to purchase the entire trip). A charter trip means that your group consists of all of the trip’s participants. We do not sell that trip departure to any outside guests.
Q: What time and where do I meet for my trip?
A. We meet the night before your launch for our Pre-Trip Meeting at our Winding Waters Boathouse in Joseph, OR @ 6PM.
Q: Where is the nearest airport?
- Nearest Airports: Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport, Lewiston, ID, Boise Airport, ID, and Walla Walla Regional Airport, WA
- Shuttle Service: Rent a car from one of these airports or contact us for potential pick-up. We provide round-trip transportation to and from the river for most of our trips once you arrive in Joseph.
Q: What kind of boats do you use on this trip?
A: We may use 4 different types of boats on this trip: oar boat, paddle raft, inflatable kayak, and stand-up paddle boards. On an oar boat, a guide rows the boat while you enjoy the scenery. In a paddle raft you are an active participant in paddling with others and guide. An inflatable kayak is a single boat where you guide yourself with instruction if needed. A stand-up paddle board is basically a large surf board with a paddle.
Q: What equipment and services do you provide?
A: We provide the following equipment and services beyond guiding boats on every trip:
- Paddle (if you’re on a paddle boat), PFD (life jacket), and helmet (for those riding in inflatable kayaks or stand-up paddle boards).
- Camping Equipment: tents and sleeping pads. Sleeping bags can be provided for a minimal fee.
- Tents: We provide roomy 3 person tents (for 2 people) and have tents sizes for up to 5 people. We set up all tents, unless you request otherwise. But the real joy is sleeping under the stars…
- Meals are prepared in our complete “camp kitchen” and you will dine at tables with tablecloths, chairs, plates, silverware, and napkins. We take care of all aspects of food prep, from cooking to dish clean-up.
Q: What kind of clothing should I wear/bring?
A: During the day, quick drying shorts and tops work best. For your feet, synthetic sandals like Chacos work great that have straps to hold them to your feet. We do not recommend flip-flops. In the evenings and mornings, we recommend warmer layers, including a fleece jacket, pants, socks, and closed-toed shoes (like tennis shoes). Additionally, shoes for hikes are recommended. You can purchase river shirts, river hats, sunblock, sunglasses, and other items in our Boathouse Shop prior to your trip.
Q: Can you advise us on tipping/gratuities?
A: We treat our tipping discussion with great care. Our guide crew will work very hard to make your vacation the best it can be. If you feel a tip was earned (and it’s certainly not expected), we recommend treating it like a restaurant. Anywhere from 10-20% of your trip cost for the crew is standard. You can either give your lead guide cash at the end of the trip or put it on your credit card. The gratuities will then be distributed among the guide crew. Give us a call if you wish to discuss further.
Q: Can we fish on this trip?
A: Yes, the Grande Ronde is an excellent fishery for Rainbow Trout. In the spring and fall, the Grande Ronde becomes a world-class Steelhead river. We can throw in fishing gear for while we’re floating, as long as it does not interfere with the group traveling in a timely manner down the river. You can purchase a fishing license from our Boathouse Shop the night before your launch.
Q: What about bathrooms while we’re on the river?
A: We have you covered. We follow “”Leave No Trace”” minimum impact camping and traveling etiquette on all river trips. The bathroom facility we use is called the River Bank Toilet System. When in camp, we set up the toilet in a separate, private area, complete with toilet paper and hand sanitizer. The guides will explain all of the details of how to use it.
Q: What advice do you have regarding batteries for camera equipment and keeping camera equipment dry?
A: A: If you want to bring your portable video camera and/or digital camera, but are concerned about batteries running out, you have 2 options. One, bring extra batteries (at least 2 more than you think you’ll need). Two, bring a portable solar-powered battery recharger. They do exist and we’re pleased to report- they do work! As for keeping your electronic equipment dry, we provide small dry bags that stay with you on the boat during the day. We also sell small hard-shell, water-tight, and padded Pelican cases in our Boathouse Shop.
Q: What kind of weather and water temperatures are typical on this trip?
A: Visit our Weather & Water Page for information on air temperature and water flows for different times in the year. Water temps generally range from mid 60’s to mid 70’s.
Q: Do I need to be a strong swimmer to come on your trips? What if one or more in my group doesn’t know how to swim?
A: You do not need to be a strong swimmer, or even know how to swim to enjoy a river trip with Winding Waters River Expeditions. All participants are required to wear a US Coast Guard-approved PFD, or personal floatation device (back in the old days, we called ’em Life Jackets). These high buoyancy jackets are designed to keep your head above water should you find yourself having an out of boat experience. Now, that said, if you do not know how to swim and you are afraid of water – river rafting is probably not going to be your cup of tea. Small children (ages 5-10) typically aren’t good developed swimmers, yet they love our trips. We have child-sized PFD’s and look after our smallest guests with great zest and joy.
“Spent 5 nights and 6 days on the Grand Ronde river with Winding Waters. I cannot say enough about the wisdom/experience/humor/good nature of the guides and their staff. The service was impeccable and their conscientiousness about safety is appreciated. Food was fabulous. I will be back on the river next summer with Winding Waters.” ~Lisa, New Orleans, LA
“The 3 day Grand Ronde trip 6/14-16 was excellent. great weather, great Food, non stop scenery, fun in the kayak, and great fishing. The guides and gear boat crew were, fun, friendly and cooked great food. Real glamour camping. We did the 5 day hells canyon trip in 2010, and had a fantastic time also. Love doing trips with this company. Will come back again in the future for more fun.” ~Rachel, Auburn, WA
Need more convincing? Check our reviews on Trip Advisor. And check out more Winding Waters Testimonial Videos like the one below on our Youtube page.