By Bonnie Glidewell

Have you hiked up one of the Table Rock monuments? Maybe.

Have you floated the Upper Rogue River via tube or raft? Maybe.

Have you cruised from TouVelle State Park in this same river past the Table Rocks? If your answer is no, you need to check out Rogue Jet Boat Adventures. They can take you. The “Discovery Tour” is a guided tour that operates out of TouVelle State Park in Central Point, offering intimate jet boat tours of the gorgeous Upper Rogue River. The boat itself was once property of the sheriff department, and is comparable to a Chevy 350 horse-powered engine. It can seat only 10, so the best way to do it is grab some friends and arrange a private tour.

During Memorial Weekend, my husband and I had the pleasure of joining a family on the “Discovery Tour” and, boy, did we do some discovering! The guests were locals and frequent flyers on the Hellgate Jetboat Excursions in Grants Pass. They brought their kids and grandkids from out of state, and the question of the day was “how is this different from the Hellgate trip?” Well, let me tell you how. Although these two jet boat trips are different, I will have to say they are both awesome and bring something different to the table.

First off, you are dealing with the dynamic duo of Emily and Taylor Grimes. This couple has been rooted in the Rogue Valley for a very long time. As a matter of fact, their family arrived here in the 1800s via covered wagon on the Oregon Trail. One day, around five years ago, they decided they wanted to share their knowledge and love of the river with other locals and tourists. This is when Rogue Jet Boat Adventures opened for business.

To start your day, Emily picks you up at Central Point's Artisan Corridor, where you have the option to fill your backpack with the best local cheese from the award-winning Rogue Creamery, the reputable wine at Ledger David Cellars (yes, you can bring beer wine and food on the boat) and mouthwatering chocolate at Lillie Belle Farms. What a perfect cluster considering they are within feet of each other and your jet boat check-in is at the same location.

After a short shuttle ride to the drop-off point, TouVelle State Park, you are introduced to your tour guide and driver, Taylor. He is what I like to call a true Oregonian. An avid fisherman and hunter, with an uncanny depth of local historical understanding one could only wish for. He gives you the rich insight of the Upper Rogue between Eagle Point and Gold Hill that many are unfamiliar with (such as the battles between the Native Americans and early settlers, as well as the hidden Hollywood retreats). You are not only ripping 360’s, you are putting along or stopped at certain points so you don’t miss the hidden caves on the side of Lower Table Rock (near Salmon Rock).  After a 28-mile round trip on the Upper Rogue River, you will be taken back to the Central Point Artisan Corridor, where you began the day.

So, to do a little review: arrowhead hunting at the halfway point, wildflowers, Blue Herrings, Sparrows, Ducklings, Ospreys, Rattlesnake Rapids, hidden caves, historical snippets throughout the trip, a small yet powerful jet boat, BYOB and picnic, top-notch river guide and more. What else could you want? Well, if you are thinking you would like something a little more…you are in luck. Word on the street is they purchased another boat, seating a few more with an even stronger engine. Still want more? They are under contract with the state to operate tours, and are allowed to run a riverside concession. Future plans involve the only Medford/Central Point riverside eatery, providing local Table Rock produce, meats, wine, and beer. In addition, the couple hopes to have a hands-on cultural interpretive center for kids to visit and learn.

This is a popular place. Clint Eastwood used to stay in a premier outfitter retreat home on this stretch for the easy access to hunting and fishing. Heck, actor Jim Belushi loves it so much you can find him hosting local fundraisers not far from his own Upper Rogue River home. Other famous Hollywood A-listers over the decades, such as Ginger Rodgers and Clark Gable, used to frequent this area knowing the secret beauty it holds. So, jump on the bandwagon and see what all the hype is about!

Do you have an idea or event you want to share with Bonnie for her Out & About column? Send her your thoughts.