The Deschutes River is the heart, soul and life-blood of Central Oregon, drawing recreationalists of all interests from all over the world. It also draws development, lodging, dining, shopping, golf courses and more. This week we’re focused on the pursuits of floating, spinning and urban exploring. After running south from its headwaters at Little Lava Lake in the Cascades, the Deschutes River turns abruptly north, and heads through LaPine, Sunriver, Bend, and beyond.
LaPine and Sunriver – Floating the River
In the LaPine and Sunriver, we always float the Deschutes with friends and family in the hot summer months. You’ll find several put-in and take-out spots, from LaPine State Park to the Sunriver Resort Marina. From the marina, the river takes you north on lazy waters with a shuttle pick-up at Benham Butte (approximately two hours/six miles). You can go at your own pace on a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddle, or throw yourself, the family and the family dog in a raft. Use your own watercraft and life preservers, or rent what you need from Sunriver. Get hot? Stop along the way for a picnic, and jump in for a cooling dip.
Bend – Mountain Biking
One of the most popular activities in Bend, Oregon is mountain biking. You can cycle upstream from Lava Island, for example, 11 miles all the way to Sunriver. The trail takes you on rugged single-track through a magnificent old-growth ponderosa pine forest. You’ll also pass three spectacular waterfalls: Dillon, Lava Island and Benham Falls. Benham – a dramatic and un-navigable Class 6, is purported to be the largest falls on the Deschutes, tumbling 95 vertical feet in half of a linear mile.
Deschutes River Trail between Lava Island Falls and Dillon Falls (6 miles).
Benham Falls to Sunriver (4.3 miles).
Bend’s Urban Trails
The Bend Metro Park and Recreation District maintains 56 miles of urban hiking trails in this Central Oregon city – which are perfect for jogging, biking, hiking, walking the dog, and taking romantic strolls. You can also canoe and kayak through the Old Mill District, where there are also lots of fantastic dining options.
Link to Park & Rec website.
Download Bend urban trail map below.
Upcoming stories about the Deschutes River
May 16: Lake Billy Chinook
May 23: Maupin – Whitewater Rafting
May 30: Shearers Falls to Biggs
Photo courtesy of Sunriver Resort.