Riding the rapids on the Deschutes

Late spring runoff is still with us, and that means rivers are flowing 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 is the editor of Travel Oregon’s Seasonal Features, enewsletters and annual visitor guide. When she’s not cooking up trip ideas, Oregon Dreamer profiles and outdoor adventures to write about, she’s out exploring Oregon.

Flag as Incorrect

Is any of the information on this page incorrect?

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.

Share your thoughts Comments

Have something to say? Your Comment

  1. Your comment will be the first one for this story. Some might think of this as a lot of pressure, but as a trail blazer you recognize that someone has to be first. Your fellow travelers appreciate your opinion, so thanks in advance!


Sign up for the

Travel Oregon


Stay in touch and get the inside scoop for your next Oregon adventure. We'll deliver Oregon stories, itineraries, contests and ideas of where to eat + drink and get outdoors and explore - right to your inbox, every month.

Success! You're all signed up to receive Oregon trip ideas delivered right to your inbox.

Hmm, something went wrong, please try later.

can't wait to hear from us?

Follow us Online