The Lower Deschutes was designated an Oregon Wild and Scenic Waterway in 1970 and a Federal Wild and Scenic River in 1988. The river is characterized by a deep and rugged rim rock-lined canyon that has canyon walls rising from 900 feet to 2,600 feet. This canyon carves its way through the eastern Oregon desert leaving behind one of the most impressive gorges in the west. From the placid calm floats to the raging whitewater, the lower Deschutes has something for everyone to enjoy. Within this canyon you will be encountered with a vast geological and cultural history as well as a large variety of wildlife.
On the river one may see osprey, deer, bighorn sheep, salmon, steelhead and variety of other species. The basalt rock formations are breathtaking. On the upper portion of the lower Deschutes (from Warm Springs to Locked Gate) the river carves a deep canyon through the Mutton Mountains. As it winds through this gorge many impressive rapids are left behind in the rivers path. Such rapids like Trout Creek, Whitehorse, Buckskin Mary and Four Chutes are just a few that will be conquered. The river then charges through a small town called Maupin, which is where River Drifters and other companies operate their day trips. This stretch has the highest concentration of rapids per mile than any other section of the lower Deschutes. Rapids like Wapinita, Boxcar, Powerline, Surf City, Oak Springs, White River and the elevators, have all made this a popular stretch. From Sherars Falls to the mouth the river once again, travels through some very impressive landscape. Miles of canyons will greet the adventurer. The last eight miles of the Deschutes River are back-to-back rapids. Famous rapids on this section include Train Hole, Trestle, Wreck, Washout, Colorado, Gordon Ridge, Moody and many others.
River Drifters offers a large variety of multi-day trips on the lower Deschutes, from just one night to four nights, there is a trip that is just perfect for your family or group. A typical two-day trip will cover more than 40 miles of water. A three-day trip will cover that same 40 miles, but at a much more relaxed pace. This will allow one to relax more at camp, with more time to fish, read, swim, explore a side canyon, or simply soak in their time with nature. A four or five-day trip will cover anywhere from 80 to 100 miles of river. These trips are ideal for those who want to make a true vacation of their experience.
An overnight journey is a magical experience that brings together a true wilderness setting with friendly, professional guides that make each and every trip very special. River Drifters takes you down the Deschutes River in style. We serve some of the best possible meals on the river. A typical full day on the river will include waking up to the coffee brewing at 7:30-8:00am (or later if you desire, remember you are on vacation!) as the guides are busy making your breakfast. Breakfasts often include flapjacks, sausage, eggs, fresh fruit, bagels, juice and coffee. You need lots of energy for a full day on the river!
After breakfast there will be a little time to relax in the warm desert sun, then you will pack your personal items into your drybag (each guest is provided with one) and the guides will pack up the gear boats and assist you in packing up your tents and other gear. Then its back to more whitewater rafting! Lunch is usually served at or near 1:00pm, this depends on the pace and timing of the trip. Lunches will consist of deli or barbeque style with fresh fruits, veggies, cookies and lemonade. The afternoon will consist of three hours or more of time on the water. You will arrive at camp around 4:30 to 5:30pm. Hors d’ oeuvres and beverages will be provided at or shortly after arrival to camp. At this time you will generally have an hour or more to indulge with some fishing, relaxation or a hike. Dinner will be excellent river cuisine, consisting of healthy & filling meals and of course accompanied with a scrumptious dessert!
Please note that these meals vary daily and we do cater towards vegetarians and special dietary requests (we must know this at the time of the reservation). Our goal is to serve you with healthy, generously proportioned meals that will keep you fueled for your adventure. After dinner there is plenty of time for storytelling and reliving the days events.