Around Bend , you’re likely to see all manner of vehicle carrying kayaks and rafts (our favorite: a motorcycle with a kayak and a bike strapped onto the back).
The Deschutes River offers some of the finest white water in central Oregon . The numerous lava flows have diverted the river to create tumultuous rapids that attract raft, kayak, and canoe enthusiasts. From short rafting trips to multiday adventures, you’ll find many options available to enjoy the exciting Deschutes River. You will need swimwear, footwear, sunblock, and sunglasses for all rafting trips. It’s also advisable to have a set of dry clothes handy at the end of the voyage.
The prime spot for daylong trips is actually the Lower Deschutes, out of the town of Maupin , but there are a couple of spots close to Bend that’ll satisfy that urge to be in the river on a hot summer day.
Right in town, it’s an easy float from either McKay Park (166 SW Shevlin Hixon Dr., on the river’s west bank) or Farewell Bend Park (on the east bank along Reed Market Dr.) to Drake Park . This is a do-it-yourself trip, made easier during the summer by a shuttle bus that will take you and your raft or inner tube from the takeout to McKay Park.
Alder Creek Kayaks (250 SW Industrial Way, 541/317-9407) offers lessons and rentals (from $10 per hour) at their store in the Old Mill District, located right where NW Colorado Avenue crosses the Deschutes on SW Industrial Way, close to a put-in at McKay Park.
Upstream a few miles, the Big Eddy section of the river is a bit more thrilling. Several outfitters lead trips on this section of the Deschutes: The Seventh Mountain Resort (18575 SW Century Dr., 541/389-2722 or 800/452-6810, www.seventhmountainriver.com , $42 adults, $37 children) offers a short two-hour raft trip down a three-mile section of the Deschutes that takes in some Class I–IV rapids. With names like Pinball Alley and the Souse Hole, you can be assured of a good ride! Transfer between the inn and the river is included.
Sun Country Tours (531 SW 13th St., 541/382-6277 or 800/770-2161, www.suncountrytours.com , $44) runs a 1.25-hour 2-mile Big Eddy Thriller that takes in Class I–III rapids on the Deschutes River.