Riding the rapids on the Deschutes

Spring runoff makes rivers flows strong. For some early season boating, check out the rivers in sunny Central Oregon and Eastern Oregon, where warmer temperatures make it easier to take the plunge.

The Deschutes River runs from the Cascade Mountains into the Columbia River near The Dalles. It’s a popular rafting destination known for its beautiful desert canyons, exciting but moderate rapids and consistent flow. Trips leave out of Maupin, Bend and Madras.

The mellow flowing John Day River is a great bet for those seeking low key relaxation instead of high drama. Cast a fishhook, get out for a desert hike or just float along and take in the stunning scenery of the longest free-flowing river in Oregon. Trips leave from Service Creek and Clarno.

High adrenaline kayakers will enjoy the Metolius River outside Bend, which offers class III-IV, white-knuckle white water. It’s a challenging and thrilling run on a Central Cascade River best attempted only by seasoned white-water experts.

about author Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

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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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