Lower Deschutes River

Quick Facts

Lower Deschutes River


(541) 416-6700

Map Directions

Things To Do


The Lower Deschutes River is Central Oregon's playground. From white water rafting and swimming to hiking and biking, you'll find an ideal location for outdoor sports. The Lower Deschutes River was designated an Oregon Scenic Waterway in 1970 and a Federal Wild and Scenic River in 1988. The river runs through a deep rimrock-lined canyon that ranges from 900 feet to 2,600 feet in depth. Within this canyon you will experience an incredible geologic and cultural history and a diverse community of fish, wildlife and vegetation.

Follow the Lower Deschutes River Back Country Byway along the river to campgrounds at Beavertail and Macks Canyon, or the accessible fishing ramp at Blue Hole. Then visit Sherars Falls, where Native Americans still fish the traditional way, leaning from tall platforms over the river to dipnet steelhead salmon. The Lower Deschutes River is an increasingly popular river for all kinds of recreationists, and is now very busy and crowded during summer weekends, so arrive early to get a campsite. The river offers a variety of opportunities for both day and overnight trips. Recreational activities include boating, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, and hiking.

Map of Lower Deschutes River

Latitude, Longitude: 43.770653, -121.571146



  • Boating

    Boating on the river is possible from the boat ramp in the BLM area, and is a fun and exciting way to experience the river. A pass is required and can be obtained online.

  • Bicycling

    Biking is a great way to see the area around the river. Many trails and back country roads are accessible to bikers, check with BLM office for updates.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Deschutes River Back Country Byway skirts the river and provides beautiful scenic views of the area.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is a popular activity on the river, and plenty of shoreline spots offer convenient and relaxing places to do so.

  • Hiking

    Hiking on the numerous trails in the area allows visitors to immerse themselves in the dense and beautiful forest around the river.

  • Historic Sites

    At Sherars Falls the locals still catch steelhead salmon the traditional way from tall platforms over the river. This activity can be observed in season each year. In addition, nearby Macks Canyon archaeological site has yielded many artifacts from over the course of its several thousand year occupancy.

  • Hunting

    Hunting is seasonally allowed in some of the lands surrounding the river, but never near public recreation facilities.

  • Water Sports

    Various water sports can be seasonally enjoyed on the Lower Deschutes River.



The Lower Deschutes River runs north through Central Oregon and meets the Columbia River east of The Dalles. The river can be accessed via U.S. 97, U.S. 197, and U.S. 26.

Phone Numbers


(541) 416-6700