MEETING PLACE: ROW Deschutes outpost located at 99 3rd Street, Maupin, Oregon
MEETING TIME: 3 to 5-Day Trips: 8:00 AM morning of departure
RIVER RATING: Class II-III+ (read more on understanding white water classifications)
TRIP MILES: 51-97
RETURN TIME: 3- to 5-Day Trips 3:00-4:00. Guests will be returned to Maupin, Oregon
TRIP LENGTH: 3, 4 or 5 days.
AGE LIMIT: Minimum age is 7
BOAT TYPE: Paddle Raft, Oar Raft, Inflatable Kayaks
TRIP INCLUDES: Services of our talented adventure consultants and professional guides, all meals/beverages as indicated in the itinerary, all rafting/camping gear, transportation to/from river.
DOES NOT INCLUDE: 6% Land and water access fee, Airfare/transportation to/from beginning and ending points, gratuities, travel protection plan, pre-& post-trip hotel, items of a personal nature
Day 1: ARRIVE IN MAUPIN, ORIENTATION, LAUNCH & RAFT
Arrive in Maupin, Oregon at 8:00 AM for an orientation meeting and to get your dry bags to pack with your personal items.
We depart Maupin to drive about one hour to the river put-in point. Once at the river we have a safety talk. Some main points will be the proper way to paddle and ride, how to swim safely in rapids and several other tips. After this, we load your personal gear into the rafts and start downstream. Based on your reservation requests you will have a choice of paddle rafts or inflatable kayaks.
Summer days are typically hot and dry with highs in the daytime that reach 90-95 degrees and nights down to the 60's.
The Lower Deschutes River is a “pool and drop” style trip, which means that there will be a long stretch of calm river punctuated by periodic rapids. The river starts out with plenty of flowing but smooth water where you learn how to maneuver.
At lunchtime, we stop on the river’s banks and while some of our crew prepare lunch, another guide gives a quick orientation on how to lessen our impact on nature. ROW follows the ethical standards of “Leave No Trace,” and you learn the proper place to dispose of trash, how to use the bathroom and where and how to wash up. This is followed by build-your-own deli sandwiches enjoyed in the beautiful open air. Around 4:00-5:00 pm we arrive at camp with time to hike, swim, fish, read or just relax.
At 6:00 we serve our legendary ROW d'oeuvres followed by dinner around 7:30 pm. After dinner we share stories, learn about the night sky and soak in the darkness beyond city lights.
- ACCOMMODATIONS: Riverside Camping
- MEALS INCLUDED: L, D
Day 2: CONTINUING DOWNSTREAM
Tea and coffee is available by 7:00 am followed by a hearty breakfast around 7:30 am. While the guides clean up and pack the kitchen, you take down your ROW-provided tent and pack your personal gear. By 9:00 to 9:30 we set out for today's adventure. We are surrounded by gorgeous scenery, sunlight and exciting rapids on this day of your rafting trip. We learn about the native peoples of the area who lived here on millions of acres and built settlements along the Deschutes and other rivers. These rivers fed them with fish and provided spiritual inspiration. We may stop for a short walk to a point of interest, a swim through a mild rapid, or simply a stretch on the banks. At lunch, we stop at a place where you can swim and play some games. Then we climb aboard the rafts again for an afternoon of adventure. With luck, we may see eagles soaring overhead and other wildlife along the banks. Once we arrive at camp, we repeat our evening routine. Or, if you are on a 2-day trip, we end by about 4:00 PM in Maupin.
- ACCOMMODATIONS: Riverside Camping
- MEALS INCLUDED: B, L, D
Day 3: MORE FUN RAPIDS AND EXPLORATION
On Day 3 of our 3-day trip, we enter the Maupin rafting day trip section which is a fun-filled day of rapids and discovery. This is the day with Wapinita and Boxcar before lunch. We have lunch in the small town of Maupin, then continue downriver to run Oak Springs, Roller Coaster, Surf City, and the Elevators! We reach out take-out at Sandy Beach around 3:30 PM and have a short 20-minute drive back to Maupin where your car awaits.
- MEALS INCLUDED: B, L
*4-5 DAY TRIPS: Our 4 and 5-day itineraries follow a similar pattern as above.
Some folks leave Maupin immediately after the end of the rafting trip, while others stick around the area. There are limited accommodations in Maupin, so be sure to plan ahead. There are several camping areas. See our Accommodation Guide for more information.
- 2 to 5-Day Trips: 8:00 AM
On the morning of your trip, we meet you for a short orientation meeting. On overnight trips we also give you your waterproof bags to pack. We have some of our specialty outdoor items for sale such as ROW hats and eyeglass retainers. Please have breakfast on your own before we leave.
DRIVING TO MAUPIN, OREGON:
Maupin is located on Highway 197 just two hours from Portland and one and half hours from Bend. Both cities have airports and car rental agencies.
FLYING TO MAUPIN, OREGON:
The Portland airport is served by many airlines. The Redmond/Bend, Oregon airport is served by five airlines including Allegiant Airlines, American Airlines, Alaska Air, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines. From either airport you can rent a car and drive to the town of Maupin.
DESCHUTES RIVER ACCOMMODATIONS AND CAMPING
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages more public lands than any other agency in the United States. BLM lands surround the Lower Deschutes River corridor and there are quite a few riverside campgrounds not far from Maupin. It’s important to note that these public campgrounds are available only on a first-come, first-served basis, so on busy weekends space can sometimes be hard to come by. Facilities include a pit toilet, but no running water other than the river itself. campfires are prohibited so you need to bring a cookstove of some sort. A list of nearby camps can be found through the BLM.
If you want to reserve something ahead of time, there are a couple of camping options.
One is the Maupin City Park located on the banks of the Deschutes on the edge of Maupin. There are grassy areas for tents as well as full RV sites. Restrooms and running water are also part of the facilities. For reservations, call (541)395-2252 or visit the City of Maupin Website.
Another private campground is operated by the Oasis Café. Located on a grassy slope on the north side of the river, it offers lovely views and nice facilities. They also offer simple cabin accommodations. The ten cabins were once used by railroad workers and offer a glimpse into that time in history.
Lodging options are very limited in Maupin and include:
- The 6-room Deschutes Motel
- The River Run Lodge which is a particularly good choice for families or groups of up to 13.
- 20 minutes to the north is the small town of Dufur and the 20-room historic Balch Hotel.
- 45 minutes north of Maupin is the city of The Dalles with a number of accommodation options.
- About 45 minutes to the south is the city of Madras with several motels.
Located in the high desert of central Oregon, the lower Deschutes River has hot summer days and cool nights with very comfortable camping conditions. It rarely rains, there are no mosquitoes and air temperatures are typically between 80-90 degrees during the day and 55-60 at night. Water temperatures on the Deschutes range from around 60-70 degrees from mid-June to late August, with the higher end of this range happening from mid-July to mid-August.
WHEN TO GO: We focus on the hot summer days that start in latter June and go to late August, as well as the beautiful late summer days of September. There is practically no rain during this time and the days are hot and sunny.
Here at ROW Adventures, our first and foremost goal is for you to have an enjoyable and safe experience. While most of our trips are suitable for beginners, some of our trips are more active than others and it’s important that you understand the physical requirement of the trip you choose.
All of our multi-day rafting trips are active adventures that involve some level of physical exertion and possible exposure to the elements including but not limited to wind, rain, heat, sun, cold temperatures and cold water conditions. ROW Adventures is able to accommodate people with physical limitations, disabilities, and medical conditions; please speak with your Adventure Consultant if you think you will require any additional assistance while on the trip. We ask that you consult your Doctor if you have health or medical conditions that could impact your ability to participate in an active and outdoor adventure. In general, all trip participants must be able to do the following:
- Wear all protective and safety equipment that is required by ROW Adventures and recommended/required by industry-wide standards.
- Load and unload, on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion, the bus and/or van providing transportation for ROW Adventures activities.
- Reach the river access points (put-in and take-out) on their own, or with the aid of a qualified companion.
- Enter and exit the raft, or inflatable kayak on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion.
- Remain seated and balanced in a floating raft, or inflatable kayak w/ the aid of adaptive equipment, if necessary.
- Perform all on water activities, including following instructions that like paddling commands from the guide in class I and higher whitewater on their own or with the assistance of a qualified companion.
- Float on their back when entering moving and still water. The participant must be capable of turning from face-down to face-up in the water with the aid of a Personal Floatation Device and must be able to hold their breath while underwater.
- Remain calm and keep breathing under control in the event of a whitewater swim.
- Get out from under a raft, whether the raft is up-right or capsized, in moving water.
- Climb into the raft, with the help of another person, should an involuntary swim happen at any point on the river.
- Make progress toward the shoreline or a raft by swimming in moving water and must be able to exit the river and ascend the shoreline once reached.
- Participate as an active paddler when instructed by the guide for the duration of the trip.
- Move about the campsite on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion on all trips that include overnight camping and/or lunch.
Packing properly for a river trip is CRITICAL to your enjoyment while on the river. We recommend that you prepare yourself for three basic scenarios:
- A cool day on the river.
- A warm day on the river.
- Time spent lounging in camp.
Take care of these, and you are free to let the river and the canyon work their magic. Weather in the northwest is unpredictable.
You must come prepared for the cold/wet weather and hot/sunny weather – sometimes even on the same day! The following information will help you be prepared for the expected as well as the unexpected events of your trip. You may not use all of the gear listed below, but we recommend bringing it all!
DRYBAGS THAT ROW PROVIDES
- One large waterproof bag (16” in diameter x 33” tall) per person. This will contain your ROW-supplied sleeping bag as well as your personal clothing and items. This bag is generally NOT accessible during the day as it goes ahead of the group with our cargo raft.
- *Note: This bag will also contain additional gear provided by ROW: Sleeping bag, flannel liner & pillow
- A small daypack (9” in diameter x 20” tall) for items you want to access during the day such as rain gear, sunscreen, camera, medications, etc.
WHAT YOU SHOULD PACK:
All of your personal items should be packed into a soft-sided duffle bag approximately 12” x 13” x 24” in size. Due to weight allowances and raft space, please limit your gear to 20-25 pounds. This bag will then go inside of your large waterproof bag provided by ROW.
ITEMS FOR ON THE RIVER
- Two T-Shirts (1 quick dry and 1 cotton for a hot day)
- One light long-sleeved shirt for sun protection and cool evenings. Popular options are a rash guard or sunscreen shirts.
- Two pairs of shorts (nylon quick drying always better than cotton).
- Light pants are great for sun protection or on a windy day. Lightweight zip off pants works great.
- Swimsuit – two-piece suits are easier for women - tankinis with river shorts are a great option.
- One pair of river sandals (must have an ankle strap, no flipflops!) Velcro is okay if in good condition. Popular name brands include Chaco, Teva, Keen, or Merrells. Tennis shoes with wool or polypropylene socks are a good option if your feet tend to get cold.
- One Cap, Sun Hat or Visor (ROW hats are available when you arrive.)
ITEMS FOR YOUR DRY BAG ON THE RIVER
- One rain suit, jacket & pants (windbreaker without cotton liner works well, but no cheap ponchos)
- Mid-weight to light-weight long underwear tops and bottoms made of polypropylene, silk or merino wool. This is an optional suggestion in case of a cool weather situation.
- One synthetic or wool mid-weight sweaters for layering on the river on cool days.
- Sunglasses with retaining cord/device
- Bee Sting kit for those allergic to bees
- Sun Screen
- Water bottle with carabiner
- Extra Sun Hat, Cap or Visor
ITEMS FOR TIME AT CAMP
- Two Short sleeve shirts (Cotton is fine for on shore camping)
- One pair of pants (lightweight nylon, cotton or fleece)
- Pair of shorts
- One synthetic mid-weight sweaters for cool evenings (same one you have for the day)
- Underwear and socks, beanie hat for cool mornings
- Flashlight or headlamp with extra bulb and batteries
- Skin lotion, lip balm, waterproof sunscreen, etc.
- Toilet kit - toothbrush and paste, soap ( biodegradable is best, no soaps can be used in the river), camp towel, washcloth, comb, handkerchief, a small pack of tissues, small mirror, moist towelettes, shaving stuff, feminine sanitary supplies, etc.
- Extra eyeglasses and/or contact lenses strongly suggested. ALL glasses need a head strap!
- One pair of tennis shoes or walking shoes for cooler weather and hiking. (We don’t recommend you bring large hiking boots as they take up too much space and aren’t necessary.) You can wear the same river sandals in camp too.
- Camera – waterproof digital with extra batteries & memory card recommended. Many guests use smartphones (there is NOT cell service on the river). A waterproof case and a flotation device is highly recommended for protection and ease of use.
- Paddling Gloves
- Sarong – many uses--a good item to help you cool off if you do not want to swim.
- Sundress for camp
- Female urinary device (allows women to urinate standing up without removing clothing). Silicon or hard plastic ones work great. Popular name brands include Gogirl and Shewee.
- 2-3 Carabiners for clipping items to the boat
- Binoculars if you’re a bird watcher
- Nylon bags (2-3 for separating dirty/wet clothes in your waterproof bag)
- Cards, games, books, musical instruments, journals
- Fishing gear and Oregon fishing license if you plan to fish. The rod should be in a protective case & disassembled.
LAYERING FOR OUTDOOR COMFORT
Clothing layers are the thermostat of the wilderness. As you get ready for your river trip, think about dressing in layers. By adding and subtracting layers you can keep yourself perfectly comfortable. If you were to look into the dry bags of a well-prepared river guide you would see packing for three weather scenarios -- cold, wet days; hot, summer days; and cool evenings and mornings in camp. All of your on-river clothing should be made from synthetic fabrics with names like fleece, pile, polypropylene, Capilene™ or polyester or natural fabrics like merino wool or silk. A cotton T-shirt or long-sleeved shirt is used occasionally on hot, sunny days, but cotton clothing is best saved for on-shore camp use.
- LAYER #1: The layer next to your skin should be close-fitting and thin. Start with a swimsuit and/or swim trunks and synthetic or merino wool shirt as a base layer. You do not want to wear cotton on the river. The evaporation of water from a wet cotton layer will actually make you colder! Synthetic and wool fibers maintain insulative properties when wet and "wick" moisture away from your skin.
- LAYER #2: The next layer should also be made of a synthetic fiber or wool, but should be a bit heavier in weight. If you get too warm you can always peel this layer off.
- LAYER #3: The outer layer is what is known as the "barrier" layer. This layer should be waterproof and loose-fitting enough to give you a good range of motion. The idea of this layer is to seal out water, and seal in the warmth generated by you and insulated by layers # 1 and # 2. A good rain suit can do the job, or a good paddling jacket and pants. Not only will this protect you from rainstorms, but chilly water temperatures when running rapids as well!
If you plan to fish, please bring your own fishing gear (with a protective case), as we do not have any to loan. An OREGON fishing license is required if you plan on fishing. Fishing from watercraft is not allowed on the Lower Deschutes, so you have to be on shore to fish. You can pre-purchase a license by going to the following website.
LIQUOR AND PREFERED BEVERAGES
ROW packs moderate quantity of soft drinks as well as wine and beer for legal age guests. If you bring liquor, please give it to your guide in a labeled plastic container. Beer should be in cans - No glass beer bottles please. Bottled wine is fine.
DESCHUTES RIVER READING LIST - Some of our favorite books on the Deschutes River
DESCHUTES RIVER BLM MAP
VISIT OREGON SITE:
Top 5 Family Vacations for 2023 - Learn about which trips we recommend for families and which adventure is right for you.
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