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The Deschutes River slices through the center of Oregon, flowing from humble beginnings at Little Lava Lake in the Cascade Mountains to its terminus at the Columbia River. The Lower Deschutes—the 100 miles from Pelton Dam to the Columbia—is a powerful, even imposing, river. The rugged, 2,000-foot tall basalt canyons and high desert environs that envelop the Deschutes augment its stark beauty; a river of such fecundity seems misplaced amidst such stark, sagebrush surroundings, a veritable oasis.

The Lower Deschutes is revered by anglers and whitewater enthusiasts alike. The river’s native rainbow trout and runs of native and hatchery-bred steelhead make it one of the west’s most popular angling venues; drift boaters set forth from a variety of launches from Warm Springs in the south to Mack’s Canyon in the north for single-day or multi-day floats. Jet boaters head upstream from the mouth to ply famed fishing holes like Steelie Flats. Rafters and kayakers celebrate the Deschutes for its many famed rapids with colorful names like Buckskin Mary, Box Car and White Horse.

Courtesy of “Boating in Oregon” by Oregon State Marine Board

When to Go: May - September

Best Features: Always water May - September

Rafting Difficulty Level: III

Fish: Yes

Good For: Fishing, Rafting, Kayaking

Miles: 3.00

What’s around here? Location & Nearby Things to See & Do

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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