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Deschutes River State Recreation Area is an excellent place for family outing activities like hiking, biking, swimming, camping, rafting, world-class steelhead and trout fishing and equestrian trail riding.

Spring comes early in the Deschutes canyon, painting the walls of the canyon green for a few months each year before heat begins to build in June, turning the vegetation a golden shade of brown. The canyon is sheltered and warmer than you might think; the first wildflowers break from winter’s grip in late February. The early season brings a full fantasia of blooms on the canyon walls through June. What a great escape from the rainy weather!

The Atiyeh Deschutes River Trail at river level is a favorite jaunt for hikers on hot summer days. You just can’t beat the cool river and the shade of white alder and birch trees (and while you’re resting, look for the hanging basket-type nests built by the orioles).

The Deschutes, which is both a national and state scenic waterway, drops about a quarter of a mile in its final 100 miles as it twists through canyons 700 to 2,200 feet deep. Great for days of fun whitewater rafting, kayaking, and inner-tubing.

Heritage Landing is a popular jetboaters launch. It provides access to the Deschutes and Columbia Rivers. This is where river guides meet their clients, families gather to head out onto the Columbia River for salmon fishing or water skiing, and everyone collects to share the excitement of their big catch. Jetboating is allowed on the lower segment of the Deschutes River all year around except alternating weekends from June – September; boaters passes are required.

The lower two miles of the Deschutes River is a PASS THROUGH zone for boaters. This provides fishing access for the many hike-up anglers that depart from Heritage Landing and use the river trails.

Vital stats: The campground offers nine premium electric sites, 26 regular electric sites, 35 primitive sites (maximum site 30 feet) and group RV/tent areas (4 reservation areas). There is also a covered camper wagon that can be rented. One extra vehicle allowed per site (all others must be parked in overnight lot). Call 1-800-551-6949 for information. Campsites are reservable. To make reservations, call 1-800-452-5687.

: Climate in central and eastern Oregon varies greatly depending on elevation. The high elevations receive much more precipitation and colder temperatures. These regions are much more arid and see greater temperature extremes than western Oregon. Much of the precipitation comes from October to April, mostly in the form of snow in the higher elevations. Winter temperatures can drop well below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Snow remains in the high mountains into early summer. Late spring, summer and early autumn tend to bring clear, sunny days, with warm to hot temperatures at the low elevations and moderate temperatures at the higher elevations. Summer afternoon thunderstorms are not uncommon.

Location: Deschutes River State Recreation Area is located in north-central Oregon, off Highway 206, 17 miles east of The Dalles. If travelling eastbound on I-84, take exit 97. If travelling westbound on I-84, use exit 104 at Biggs Junction. Follow the signs on Highway 206 to reach the park.

Contact Info: Oregon Parks & Recreation Department1115 Commercial Street NESalemOR97301-1002800-551-6949

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 tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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A related Trip Idea

  1. The Dalles

    written by Lori Russell on December 1st, 2011

    Ascending the curves of the Historic Columbia River Highway west of The Dalles, we passed a massive boulder field and columns of native basalt.

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