Motors Allowed?
Easy / Class A
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Rogue River Estuary is located on the Oregon coast at Gold Beach, emptying a watershed of approximately 5,100 square miles through its mouth into the Pacific Ocean. The estuary is the vital interface between ocean and freshwater that is critical to the health and survival of numerous threatened anadromous species, such as Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast coho salmon and chinook salmon, green and white sturgeon, steelhead trout, and Pacific lamprey. Sand and pebble covered shores, mud and sand flats, algal beds, and a low fringing salt marsh all provide shallow habitat for fish rearing and habitat for a variety of birds and wildlife. By kayak or canoe, the Rogue River Estuary offers a wonderful tour of the estuary and its wildlife.

Starting at the boat launch in Gold Beach, you may spot seals and sea lions on the docks, beaches, and in the water. In spring between February and April, harbor seals will often be accompainied by their young pups. Paddle upstream on the Rogue River and toward a slough between Jerry Flat Road and a peninsula. Even in lower tides, you can paddle a ways up the arm of the slough and enjoy seclusion and wildlife viewing. The slough is home to bald eagle, osprey, elk, beaver, otter, great blue heron, egret, and many other types of birdlife. As always, keep a respectful distance from the wildlife, and do your best to not not disturb them and their habitat. Remember: You are a visitor and this is their home. Binoculars or a camera’s zoom lens are good tools to help you see wildlife without needing to approach and disturb them.

If you wish to continue paddling upstream, Elephant Rock has interesting scenery, pebble beaches, and another slough that can be explored. The mouth of the Rogue is a popular fishing area throughout the year. While paddling in the open parts of the river, do not be surprised to see drift boats, jet boats, and other motorized boat traffic until you reach the more secluded and shallower sloughs and wetland areas.

Tides and winds can vary, so paddlers at the Rogue River Estuary should always be aware of the tide tables and wind forecasts and plan accordingly. Planning to ride the ebbing and flowing tides can make this paddle a little easier. If you wish to camp in the area of the Rogue River Estuary, note that free and dispersed camping options are extremely limited on the Oregon Coast. State park and county camp areas are the most available camping options, and sites can fill up quickly in the warmer spring and summer months. Make a reservation in advance.



Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Wildlife viewing. Secluded areas. Easy access.


Wind and tides vary.

Pets allowed


Put-in location (lat, long coordinates)

42.420208, -124.422946

Take-out location (lat, long coordinates)

42.420208, -124.422946

Water Temperature

60.00 °F (15.56 °C)


Vault toilet
Boat ramp(s)
Bird watching

Trail type




Typically multi-day


Shuttle required


Site characteristics: Water


Portage required



Nearby Adventures

Southern Oregon Coast + Rogue River, Oregon
Southern Oregon Coast + Rogue River, Oregon
Southern Oregon Coast + Rogue River, Oregon

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Southern Oregon Coast + Rogue River, Oregon
Southern Oregon Coast + Rogue River, Oregon
Southern Oregon Coast + Rogue River, Oregon


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A profound concept originally envisioned by governor Oswald West, in 1967 the Oregon legislature ultimately realized his vision of making the entire Oregon Coast forever open to the public in a piece of landmark legislation titled the Oregon Beach Bill, officially making all 363 miles public land. "The People's Coast" is truly a one-of-a-kind coastline, a unique blend of mountains and rocky stacks, towering old growth forests, marine sanctuaries, tide pools and kelp forests, charming towns, historic fishing communities, world-class golfing, breweries, and simply jaw-dropping scenic beaches. We encourage you to plan your next trip at or by calling (541) 574-2679.

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