Deschutes National Wild and Scenic River

The Lower Deschutes River stretches 100 miles, from the Warm Springs Indian Reservation to the Columbia River.  Winding its way through Oregon’s high desert, the Deschutes River is known for its whitewater rafting, world-class fishing, unique geology and wildlife viewing. On any given day you can find a golden eagle circling high above the basalt cliffs, or a river otter enjoying a swim. The popularity of this river is due in large part to its consistent water flows and good weather, allowing folks to enjoy their favorite river activities almost year-round.  Signs of Oregon history are everywhere, including the Oregon Trail and the railroads.  Amazingly, too, along the river you can find ancient Native American pictographs, and still see traditional fishing practiced by local tribe members.

While thousands of people visit the Lower Deschutes River each summer, the popular activities on the river are environmentally low-impact, such as whitewater rafting, catch and release fishing, bicycling and hiking.  The agencies that oversee the management of the Deschutes River, as well as many of the businesses, offer informational materials for visitors about the “Leave No Trace” principles, Native American traditions, river safety, river stewardship, fish life cycles and invasive species. Few people can visit the Deschutes River without being impressed, and many show their love by volunteering in one of many organizations that work to preserve this river.  This is also an opportunity to experience rural Oregon. The Deschutes River is the economic lifeblood of the communities it runs through.

  • Guided tours available
  • Fees required for some activities
  • Interpretive signage
  • Visitor center

Get more information on this area from

National Geographic