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Which jet boat trip option if wildlife is my main objective?

Denver, Colorado
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110 posts
29 reviews
Which jet boat trip option if wildlife is my main objective?

Will be in the Gold Beach area next August and am interested in a jet boat tour on the Rogue River. We will have our two teenage boys with us. I am leaning toward Jerry's Jet Boats, but am not married to using that company if anyone has other ideas. I think we would sort of prefer not being on the boat all day long just in case it turns out that our kids think it's boring, but I don't want to miss out on the chance to see wildlife if the 104-mile trip is much better in that regard. I don't mind the idea of having the boat do spins and spraying water on us, but I don't really get excited about that any more than I would not doing the spins and getting wet. If the spinning around would scare off wildlife and prevent viewing it, however, I'd rather be on a boat that doesn't do that. If the main objective is that we really want to maximize the wildlife viewing experience, which tour company and which trip length would you suggest? Does it need to be the 104-mile trip to see wildlife, especially wildlife beyond fish or birds?

12 replies to this topic
Eugene, Oregon
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for Eugene, Springfield
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9,978 posts
200 reviews
1. Re: Which jet boat trip option if wildlife is my main objective?

We did the half day trip and saw lots of wildlife, including bears, but there's never any guarantees. Animals can be unreliable. The boat captains and kids tend to be the best spotters.

Eugene, Oregon
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for Eugene, Springfield
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2. Re: Which jet boat trip option if wildlife is my main objective?

I think it was the 64 mile trip, including lunch stop.

Renton, Washington
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5,172 posts
3. Re: Which jet boat trip option if wildlife is my main objective?

If the spins scared off wildlife the boat operators would not do them.....because their customers come to see wildlife, not to do spins.

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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44,550 posts
1,111 reviews
4. Re: Which jet boat trip option if wildlife is my main objective?

>> I am leaning toward Jerry's Jet Boats, but am not married to using that company if anyone has other ideas.<<

That is the only company operating out of Gold Beach :-)

Take the 64 mile jet boat ride if you don't want to be out all day. As mentioned above, there is never any guarantee about seeing critters. There also is a shorter, two hour jet boat ride going up the Klamath, out of Klamath, CA, about 1+ hour south of Gold Beach.

You can see wildlife -- sometimes -- just driving around. There is a good paved road going upriver to Agness, and beyond.

Crescent City is about an hour south and you can get up close to huge sea lions there, if that is of interest. Being from Denver, elk may not be a priority?

Portland, Oregon
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1,541 posts
3 reviews
5. Re: Which jet boat trip option if wildlife is my main objective?

We’ve done the 64 and 80 mile trips. No noticeable difference in wildlife sightings between the two; we didn’t see hardly any on either (which had us looking forward to the spins). I see Jerry’s web site promotes wildlife sights on the longer trip, but IIRC they were talking more rapids up in the canyon when we went years ago. So frankly, if seeing wildlife is your objective, I think you have just as good a chance of seeing it on a hike as you do from a jet boat.

Level Contributor
39,300 posts
1,019 reviews
6. Re: Which jet boat trip option if wildlife is my main objective?

If you don't want to be out too long, do the shorter trip. We loved the ride with Jerry's which included a yummy lunch. Have fun! 😎

Eugene, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Eugene, Springfield
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9,978 posts
200 reviews
7. Re: Which jet boat trip option if wildlife is my main objective?

A hike from Gold Beach into the Rogue River Wilderness would be one hell of a hike. Driving to Agness would also make for a very long likely less productive wildlife spotting day.

Spotting bears on hikes is a rare occurence. At the right time of year, while they're gorging on berries, we saw several from the jetboat.

As a matter of fact, encountering a bear while on a hike isn't something high on my to do list...or the bear's either.

Portland, Oregon
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1,541 posts
3 reviews
8. Re: Which jet boat trip option if wildlife is my main objective?

I wasn’t recommending a hike into the Rogue River Wilderness, o’poppa. My point is simply that if John’s “main objective” in taking a jet boat ride is to see wildlife, whether it’s the 64 or 104 mile trip, he’s likely to be disappointed. I have seen a few bears on hikes over the years though, so maybe he’ll get lucky. Even came across a porcupine a few years ago.

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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1,111 reviews
9. Re: Which jet boat trip option if wildlife is my main objective?

>>Driving to Agness would also make for a very long likely less productive wildlife spotting day.<<

It's about an hour's drive from Gold Beach to Agness, 30 miles. They could drive up just for the "yummy" lunch ;-)

We probably all agree that there's never any guarantee one will see interesting wildlife. I've seen many bears over the years when I was driving dirt/gravel logging roads but would not suggest that for a visitor.

Edited: 23 February 2018, 17:12
Eugene, Oregon
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for Eugene, Springfield
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9,978 posts
200 reviews
10. Re: Which jet boat trip option if wildlife is my main objective?

I don't remember the lunch at Agness as being "yummy." Perhaps, that's because everyone on the jetboat(s)

hit the place at the same time, making for a hectic situation. I don't know if they still do things the same way, but I seem to remember you had a choice of places for lunch, but had to decide on which one to go to before boarding the jetboat. Unless you've been there before that makes for a difficult choice. Maybe driving up and having a more relaxed lunch would be yummier.

I've seen lots of bears in the national parks...especially Yosemite and Sequoia (where they rumbled right by our campsite while I had bacon and eggs in the skillet and our 5 month old son in his little seat waving at his cute furry friends). I didn't know what to grab first or where to run. My wife was in the tent, oblivious to what was happening. Smoky just kept on going and didn't bother us at all.

On many hikes with the Obsidians, the car ahead of us or behind us on the way to the trailheads, said they saw bears, but our carpool group never did.

Occasionally, hikers on Mt. Pisgah right here in town come face to face with bears...and even cougars...but so far, animals and humans have avoided conflict.

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