Deschutes River Rafting & Camping Trips
Designated as a National Wild and Scenic River, the Deschutes is one of our Nation’s most treasured rivers. ROW Adventures is proud to offer the best overnight rafting trips on the Deschutes that feature top-quality guides, gear, riverside meals, cultural and natural history interpretation and fun! With over four decades of experience operating mulitday rafting trips, you can trust ROW to deliver a superb trip. We love the Deschutes River for many reasons, including the fact it is a great family rafting trip and our most affordable family rafting adventure.
The Deschutes boasts 100 miles of spectacular desert scenery, great white water rafting, excellent fishing, comfortable riverside camping, and plenty of hiking. As an added bonus, summer days on a Deschutes River rafting trip are hot and sunny and the water is warm enough for comfortable dips and swims. Rafting the Deschutes River means getting wet! Where the right mix of gradient, constriction, and rock formation come together, we find rambunctious rapids to run. Our guides share their enthusiasm with you as we paddle through the rapids! Upstream of the small town of Maupin and your Maupin rafting trip, are frolicking rapids such as Trout Creek, Whitehorse, Buckskin Mary, Four Chutes, Wapinita and Boxcar. Downstream of Maupin are many more including Oak Springs, Surf City, Roller Coaster, the Elevators, and more! Working as a team, your guide gives instructions to paddle forward or back, and the exhilaration of paddling together as a cohesive unit is truly rewarding. Sharing this excitement with family, friends and newly-made friends is one of river life’s great pleasures.
Being in a wild river canyon brings a sense of wonder and calm. The Deschutes River is no exception and floating through the spectacular canyon is awe-inspiring. Towering walls rise up from the river 800 to 2600 feet, making this one of the most dramatic river canyons in the American West. The river basin is defined by the Ochoco Mountains to the east, the Klamath and Great Basin divide to the south, and the Cascade Range to the west. The river flows north through this basin formed of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks that tell a fascinating geologic story including that of the Columbia basalt flows. These flows left layer upon layer of basalt thousands of feet thick, stretching from the eastern edge of the Cascade Mountains to the foothills of the Rockies to the east. Only two other places on earth share a basalt plateau of this magnitude. On your rafting trip with ROW Adventures, our guides will tell you more about the river’s storybook geology.
Between the rapids, the calm sections of the river are the perfect space for observing nature. Eagles, ravens, and osprey soar above in the expansive Western sky. Various waterfowl such as mergansers and herons prowl the shoreline for food. Many mammals call this canyon their home including mule deer that roam these lands and are an impressive sight. We might see California ground squirrels, raccoons, and if you’re really lucky, a river otter. Other elusive animals include the bobcat and cougar.
On our Deschutes River multiday trips, seeing bighorn sheep can be a real highlight. Two species live in the canyon, the California desert bighorn sheep and the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. While it’s rare to see them, there are many living in the canyon and surrounding mountains.
We stop during the day to hike and discover the wonders of nature as well as sites of cultural interest. There are old homesteads, railroad history, and scenic viewpoints that lure us away from the river’s edge.
Family Rafting on the Deschutes
With trips as short as three and four days, the Deschutes is the perfect place for a family rafting vacation. It's a place where everyone can unplug from their devices and focus on each other. You share the excitement of the rapids, the quiet of nature, watching soaring eagles overhead and the fun of camping out under the stars. The Deschutes River is easy to access from Bend or Portland and easily combines with a tour through the Columbia River Gorge, or even a jaunt to the Oregon coast. Because logistics are fairly simple we offer these trips at a very affordable rate so you can bring the entire family. Multigenerational trips are one of our specialities, so gather up the grandparents and grandkids and everyone in between for a family river vacation you will always remember. On Deschutes River trips with 9 or more guests, we have a cargo boat go ahead and set up camp, on smaller trips guests and gear travel together and our guides are still happy to set up your tent if you like.
Group Rafting on the Deschutes
Since you only need 12 people to charter one of our Deschutes rafting trips as a private group tour, it's a great choice for a bachelor or bachelorette party, company team-building event or a reunion of old friends. Contact us to learn more.
We Make Logistics Easy for You!
We meet you in Maupin, Oregon, the morning of your trip to drive to our put-in point at either Mecca Flat, Trout Creek Campground, or, if doing the lower Canyon, to Harpham Flat. At the end of your trip, we return you to Maupin, where you left your car! (Note: For people coming from Bend or points south, it’s possible to meet us at the put-in and pay a modest fee to have your car shuttled north to Maupin where it will be waiting for you at trip end.)
Honoring Native People and Lands - Deschutes River
The Deschutes River flows through the traditional homeland of the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute tribes who lived here for centuries prior to the arrival of Europeans. Today, the Warm Springs Reservation borders the west side of the Deschutes from the Pelton Dam downstream to just above the Dixon camp area. We honor, respect, and recognize these peoples through our Territory Acknowledgement and welcome you to learn more on our Territory Acknowledgement page or in our Blog about the Indigenous People of the Deschutes River.
Images & Videos
Deschutes Classic 3-Day Rafting Trip
- Trip Lenght: 3-day/2 nights,
- Distance Covered: 51 river miles
- Accommodations: Riverside Camping
The three-day trip features legendary rapids, and enough time to truly appreciate all the Deschutes has to offer. The pace gives time for on-shore exploration and fun. The rafting starts at our put-in near Warm Springs, Oregon, just to the northwest of Madras. This is close to the beginning of the 100-mile Lower Deschutes Wild and Scenic River that officially starts where Pelton Dam releases water back into the river. From here we float north through canyons surrounded by the Mutton Mountains. The first couple of days are highlighted with splashy rapids such as Trout Creek, Whitehorse, Buckskin Mary, Four Chutes, and others. The fun continues on the third day as we raft the exhilarating rapids of the Maupin one-day trip section, including Wapinita, Boxcar, Roller Coaster, Surf City, Upper, and Lower Elevator, and more! We take out at Sandy Beach on our last day and return you to Maupin where we met you on Day One. If you have time for a little longer trip, check out the four-day trip option too!
*On trips with 9-13 guests, our camp boat travels ahead of the group after lunch and sets up most of camp before your arrival. On trips smaller than this, the camp boat stays with the group, and camp set up is more of a team effort. Unless otherwise requested we take one camp boat and two paddle rafts on our overnight trips. BLM regulations limit total party size to 16 and we operate our trips with a maximum of 13 guests and 3 guides.
Deschutes 4-Day Rafting Trip
- Trip Length: 4-day/3 nights,
- Distance Covered: 51 river miles
- Accommodations: Riverside Camping
Our favorite choice for families, the four-day trip adds another 10 miles of river upstream from the put-in of the three-day trip. This section, from Warm Springs to Trout Creek, has some of the most outstanding scenery of the entire 100 miles of the Lower Deschutes National Wild and Scenic River! The first day doesn't have any difficult rapids, so it's a great day to relax into the river's rhythm and gaze up at towering cliffs of jaw-dropping beauty. As we continue downriver, we find plenty of whitewater action and places to explore. We camp at remote sites along the river, with shade from towering ponderosa pines. During hot summer days the river invites you to jump in and swim to cool off. At camp, relax with a book, chat with friends and soak in the scenery as your guides prepare delicious meals and do all the cleanup. After the sun sets, stars sparkle in the dark western sky and the peace of nature settles in.
*On trips with 8-13 guests, our camp boat travels ahead of the group after lunch and sets up most of camp before your arrival. On trips smaller than this, the camp boat stays with the group and camp set up is more of a team effort. Unless otherwise requested we take one camp boat and two paddle rafts on our overnight trips. BLM regulations limit total party size to 16 and we operate our trips with a maximum of 13 guests and 3 guides.
Dates & Rates
Private Charter Rates (Prices based on a trip exclusive for your group for up to 12 guests).
June 8 - September 11 $15,290
TRIP INCLUDES: Services of our talented adventure consultants and professional guides, all meals/beverages as indicated in the itinerary (including beer and wine), all rafting/camping gear, and transportation to/from river meeting points.
DOES NOT INCLUDE: 6% Land and water access fee, Airfare/transportation beginning and ending points, gratuities for guides, travel protection plan, pre-& post-trip hotel, items of a personal nature.