Rafting the Deschutes River

by Molly Reagh

The Deschutes River flows through one of Oregon's most beautiful desert canyons. The upper section of the Lower Deschutes is a 52-mile run from Warm Springs to Maupin that offers Class II - IV rapids and provides a wonderful mix of relaxation and adventure for novice and seasoned boaters alike.

Rafts, Kayaks, and Stand Up Paddleboards on the Deschutes River

Rafts, Kayaks, and Stand Up Paddleboards on the Deschutes River

The first 8 miles of river are pretty flat, perfect for trying out Standup Paddleboarding or paddling a ducky. You'll approach the first stretch of current at Trout Creek. And from there on you'll spend a lot of time in Class II water. The trip ends with a bang - on your last day you'll experience most of the trip's Class III+ rapids such as Wapinita and Boxcar. Also plan on bringing your fishing equipment if you have it! The Deschutes is known for its trout fishing. And while you are not allowed to fish from the boat, you are more than welcome to spend all afternoon at camp relaxing on shore with your pole.

Rafting on the Deschutes River

Rafting on the Deschutes River

The put-in at Warm Springs is about an hour north of Bend, OR one of the best cities for outdoor enthusiasts in the West. There are a plethora of summer activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, golfing, rock climbing and much more.  We highly recommend combining a Deschutes rafting trip with a couple-nights' stay in Bend. After your relaxing 4-day vacation on the river you'll take-out at Maupin and from there it's just a couple hours drive to Portland.

Located in Central Oregon, the Lower Deschutes was designated an Oregon Scenic Waterway in 1970 and a Federal Wild and Scenic River in 1988 and has an impressive natural, geological, and cultural history. As you float through the desert canyon you'll see stunning basalt cliffs and an abundance of wildlife such as beaver, river otter, mule deer, and the occasional Roosevelt elk or black bear. Sightings of bald and golden eagles and osprey are common as well.

Originally Published: | Updated on



Molly Reagh

Molly moved to Hood River in 2013 to work for Northwest Rafting Co. Oregon's been treating her pretty well so far and she can't wait to see what awaits her downstream.

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