About the Deschutes River
The Deschutes River is designated a National Wild and Scenic River and Oregon Scenic Waterway. In total it runs approximately 250 miles from its headwaters in the Cascade Mountains near Bend, Oregon to its confluence with the Columbia River.
The Deschutes River Scenic Waterway winds through a picturesque desert canyon on the east side of the Cascade Mountain Range. The river offers spectacular basalt cliffs and scenery, diverse wildlife, exciting history, and of course, spectacular whitewater. The Lower Deschutes section also offers plenty of sunshine and fun for beginners, families, and experienced boaters alike, making it one of the most frequently rafted rivers in Oregon. Throughout the rafting trip there are numerous opportunities to float in the river, ride the bull through rapids, and surf the raft in waves.
The river winds through a deep and picturesque canyon with spectacular basalt cliffs and fascinating geology. An abundance of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, black-tailed deer, osprey, eagles, bobcats, coyotes, trout, steelhead, river otter, and beaver all call the Deschutes River home. In the evening the sun drops over the canyon rim creating stunning sunsets, and on clear nights the star gazing is extraordinary. The Deschutes River also has a rich cultural history and remains a vitally important and cherished river to many.
Our guides are experienced and accomplished in outdoor skills and trained in first aid, CPR, and river rescue. They are environmental stewards of the outdoor areas where we work and play and are knowledgeable about the natural & cultural history of the river. They are fun, interesting people who have a passion for rivers and guiding. If you have questions about rafting, camping, cooking in the outdoors, or anything else, ask and they will be happy to share what they know.
The Deschutes River is well known among anglers for its wild trout and steelhead. Regulations allow fishing only from riverbanks or while wading in the water. For trout, the season is year-round on the Lower Deschutes. If you’d like to bring your fishing rod and equipment and give it a go, please purchase a fishing license prior to arriving at the River Drifters outfitter. Additionally, check the Oregon Fisheries and Wildlife rules and regulations for fishing on the Deschutes River. *Be sure to purchase an Oregon fishing license.
The Deschutes River canyon is a diverse ecosystem and home to many different animal and plant species. The Deschutes River is particularly exceptional for birding with a vast assortment of bird species including birds of prey, ducks, geese, kingfishers, blackbirds, wrens, orioles, dippers, magpies, and many more. Oftentimes, we are fortunate enough to see a variety of wildlife on our rafting trips. Guests are welcome to bring along field guide books and small binoculars or spotting scope to enhance your wildlife viewing.