Just about every tour company operating in central Oregon runs raft trips down the 13-mile “splash and giggle” stretch of the Deschutes, from Harpham Flat Campground to Sandy Beach, just above Sherar’s Falls. Wapinita, Box Car, Oak Springs, White River, and Elevator Rapids are the highlights of this trip; look also for the resident ospreys as you pass the Maupin Bridge.
Sun Country Tours (531 SW 13th St., Bend, 541/382-6277 or 800/770-2161, www.suncountrytours.com) runs a full-day trip ($108 adults, $98 children) along the Harpham Flat–Sandy Beach stretch of the river. A hearty grilled chicken lunch is included. Transportation from Bend or Sunriver to Maupin is also part of the day-trip packages.
Rapid River Rafters (500 SW Bond St., Bend, 541/382-1514 or 800/962-3327, www.rapidriverrafters.com) offers a series of full-day and multiday packages on the Deschutes River. The one-day trip ($85 adults, $75 children) takes in 17 miles of the river from Harpham Flat to Lone Pine. A hearty lunch is included. The two-day trip ($275 adults, $220 children) floats 44 miles of exciting white water from Trout Creek to Sandy Beach. The three-day trip ($400) runs 55 miles from Warm Springs to Sandy Beach.
On all of the multiday trips, the camping and meal preparations at pleasant riverside locations are taken care of by your veteran guides. The season is late April–early October, and camping equipment is available for rent if you don’t have your own.
Experienced rafters can rent a boat from All Star Rafting (405 Deschutes Ave., 541/395-2201 or 800/909-7238, raft from $80 per day, inflatable kayak from $30 per day) or River Trails Deschutes (301 Bakeoven Rd., 541/395-2545 or 888/324-8837). Both of these Maupin outfitters also offer guided trips. Currently no permits are needed to run the river, but there is a $2 per day per person fee collected by the Oregon State Parks at the Harpham Flat put-in site.
Call Affordable Deschutes Shuttle (541/395-2809) if you need someone to take your car from put-in to takeout ($35 for Harpham Flat to Sandy Beach).
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel