- Technical Level: Class II with some IIIs and a couple III rapids (depending on who you ask). [the main route at Rainie Falls can apparently be turned into a V by not running the fish ladder). All serious rapids can be portaged in a packraft.
Technical Complexity: Low. Most of the rapids on the Rogue were dynamited, blowing straight lines through them. Hell or highwater, if you stick to the big line / wave train, you're probably good. The two memorable exceptions for me are Rainie Falls(where the non-C-V run is a fish ladder which even big rafts use) and Blossom Bar which is a C-III big rapid with strong bones.
Predominant Hazards: A few packraft-portageable rapids that are best to run without swimming (Blossom, Mule Creek, the entrance to Rainie Falls). You could in particular have an unfortunate encounter with some Volkswagen-sized rocks. The Rogue is an extensively run river. That said, there are fatalities on it, as on many well-run rivers. Mule Creek (really a defile, not an rapid) is a long, fun chasm of pushy water with one very noteworthy eddy that can pull a swimmer under.
Permit Needed? Yes
Length: 4 Easy days. Aggressive paddlers could easily do it in 2.
Do-Able with Just Packrafts? Yes.
Do-Able as Big Expedition? Yes. In our case, we had 3 oarboats, 6 kayaks, 4 packrafts, 2 IKs, and 20 people, including 3 babies and 1 toddler.
Rapids are Baby-Hikeable? YES! Kid-carrying parents took the hiking trail which crosses the side of the river gorge, thus bypassing all the III rapids.
Volume: Variable. We did at (I believe) 5,000 to 7,000 CFS. The week before it was 17,000 CFS.
"Quality": The Rogue is a proper river, with large volumes of water, substantial mid-river obstacles in places, and big "push." Eddylines can be substantial, but I know of only one place on the river (Mule Creek's "coffeemaker", in a canyon narrows) where the Eddyline really looks like it would suck you down (and it did suck down a friend's father, once. He came back up). In its steep canyon, the Rogue has a remote feel.
Climate: Southern-Temperate. The Rogue is close to the Northern border of California. Ran in Mid-June; never wore more than a fleece coat and wool pants, even at night. That said, it can rain, rain, rain.
Good Stuff Nearby: The Oregon Coast, Oregon Sand Dunes.
Bailout Options: Several. Although the river has a remote feel, on 2 of our 3 days we camped in close proximity to riverside lodges.
Coming to the "keep your head about you": the water looks deep in a lot of places. As with ANY body of water, I personaly suggest sounding it thoroughly. A gentlemen in our group elected to do an unsounded cliff-jump. Broken femur. Hauled out on a 50 foot line under a helicopter (which is a very dangerous operation, and unreliable). He got to experience an 10 on the 1-10 pain scale. Other than that, it was an safe, chill, no-drama trip with little kids in which no experienced person ever felt anxious to my knowledge.
Note: Intermittent Poison Oak grows on the shores. After over-exposure in my last career, I consider any path with poison oak be C-V to VI, and generally take my chances with the alligator-infested waterfall leading into the power turbine surfaced with flaming BP oil and mousetraps.