Whitewater rafting on the Deschutes River is particularly nice because the water level stays at a consistent level throughout the year. It comes from the melting snowpack in the Cascade Mountains where the river begins at Lava Lake.
It flows 250 miles past Sunriver Resort, the city of Bend, and the cities of Redmond and Madras. At Round Butte Dam it forms Lake Billy Chinook. By the time it passes Warm Springs Indian Reservation it is forming a gorge. From here begins the most used section. Most whitewater rafting operators start at the small town of Maupin. You can travel the river all the way to the Columbia River on the longer trips.
Most whitewater rafting on the Deschutes River tour operators offer half-day, one-day, two-day, and even three-day trips where you can experience class II, III, and IV difficulty rapids. I have never taken the longer trips. The one-day trip is a of a lot of fun.
This is a video of Sherer's Falls. I have never been over it but I stood up on the road and watched a friend go through it. I don't think the water was quite as high as in the video but it was still scary. This video is about 40 seconds long and is courtesy of YouTube.
When you first start out, you dip your hand into the water to cool yourself off a little bit and then you hit your first rapids and the splash of cold water takes your breath away. The warm sunshine warms you up again just in time for another giant splash. There are calm spots also where you can just float along and enjoy the scenery.
If your trip goes through the Deschutes River State Recreation Area, you will be able to see the ruts former pioneer wagons made on the Oregon Trail. This was a rough crossing for these pioneers.
The rafting personnel will meet you in Maupin, a small town just two miles from Portland on Highway 197. You will be taken to the river, given some instruction and away you will go in a raft. Day-long trips include lunch. After your trip you will be taken back to your car. The whitewater rafting guides will send you a list of what to bring and wear. Don't forget your sunscreen.
From Portand take Highway 26 to Mt. Hood. Continue on past Government Camp and continue on to the junction of Highway 216. Follow Highway 216 to the junction of Highway 197. Highway 197 will take you right into Maupin.
Here are some guides for whitewater rafting on the Deschutes River:
Allstar Rafting & Kayaking
405 Deschutes Ave.
Maupin OR 97037
Oregon River Experiences
phone & fax: 503-632-6836
Deschutes River Adventures
602 Deschutes Ave
P.O. Box 371
Maupin, OR 97037