About Blossom Bar Rapid
Blossom Bar is the only Class IV rapid on the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River. The technical boulder garden is named after the native azalea flowers that paint the hillside white during their springtime bloom.
Once a portage, this rapid was dynamited out by Glen Wooldridge in the early 1900s to make it passable. Though runnable, the rapid still provides plenty of opportunities to wrap, flip, or swim. The left line is most common, but at water levels higher than 3500 a right line also emerges.
How to run Blossom Bar
Start by pulling over to the river right side to scout this rapid. The most accessible vantage point will have you looking downriver at the rapid’s entrance. At this angle, the main move of the rapid cannot be completely seen, but there is a good view of the guard rocks and boulder garden. Take note of Purgatory Eddy (a large eddy on river left upstream of the rapid’s entrance), the “C” rock (rock #1), and the guard rocks at the top of the rapid’s entrance.
The entrance: As you leave the scout, make your way river left towards Purgatory Eddy. If you have multiple crafts in your party, this eddy serves as an ideal set up. As you pull out of or float past Purgatory Eddy, maintain an upstream ferry angle to river right. At the rapid’s entrance there will be two or three guard rocks (depending on water level) that you want to pass just to the left of. Take careful strokes to get as close to these guard rocks as possible without bumping them. If you happen to bump, recover your angle as soon as possible. Once you clear the last guard rock, pull hard out of the main current to place your stern in the slack water above the “C” rock (rock #1). The goal is to have enough momentum going towards the right to pull yourself into slack water and position yourself to pass between the “C” rock (rock #1) and the picket fence, but not so much that you bump the “C” rock (rock #1). Continue to take strokes and adjust your angle in order to pass through the slot or “beaver slide” between the “C” rock (rock #1) and the picket fence. Depending on the size of the craft, some boaters pass through this slot while maintaining an upstream river right ferry angle, while others straighten out just as they enter the slot. If straightening out, be careful not to do so too soon, or the current will carry you into the picket fence. As you go down the beaver slide there will be a large conglomerate rock (rock #2) on the right. This rock is okay to bump. In fact, some boaters bump this rock on purpose to pull into the picture eddy positioned just below the picket fence.
Once through the beaver slide, take a sigh of relief because you’ve made the hardest move! What remains is navigating through the boulder garden. As you continue downstream, there will be several large boulders and submerged rocks to maneuver around. At low water be aware of “the parking lot”, a group of submerged rocks located immediately downstream from the beaver slide. To avoid these, work hard towards river left after passing down the beaver slide, and then pick your way through the rest of the rapid.
Good luck and have fun. Be sure to watch the videos towards the bottom of this page too, they will help you visualize the move quite a bit.