Deschutes River Whitewater Rafting

1-day Rafting on the Deschutes River in Oregon
Overview
  • Dates: Daily July 10 - September 19, 2021
  • Rates: 
    • 1-day Classic Rates Weekdays: $94 (adult) |  $86 (youth)
    • 1-day Classic Rates Weekends: $104 (adult) | $94 (youth)
    • 1-day Classic Rates High Season Saturdays (July 10 - Aug 21): $105 (adult) | $95 (youth) 
    • 1-day Super Rates Weekdays: $105 (adult) | $95 (youth)
    • 1-day Super Rates Weekends: $120 (adult) | $110 (youth)
    • 1-day Super Rates High Season Saturdays (July 10 - Aug 21): $125 (adult) | $115 (youth)
  • Recommended Minimum Age: 7 years
  • Whitewater: Class II-III+ Rapids
  • Meet: Maupin, Oregon
  • Meeting Time: 9:00 am (Daily) or 10:15 am (Friday-Monday)
  • Ending Time: 3-4:00 pm
  • Total Rafting Miles: 12
  • Lunch Included: Yes

1-day Rafting on the Deschutes River in Oregon

Offering magnificent desert scenery, rich history and plenty of whitewater fun, our day trips on the Lower Deschutes River pass through the small town of Maupin, Oregon. Maupin serves as the headquarters for ROW Adventures’ Deschutes River operations and is easily accessible from Portland or Bend, and is just under 5 hours from Spokane and Seattle. 

Our one-day rafting trips on the Lower Deschutes River:

  • The Classic - Covering around 12 miles from Harpham Flat to Sandy Beach, this fun-filled whitewater adventure is all about enjoying a day on the river.
  • The Super Day – Adding in another four miles (plus a vehicle portage around Shears Falls), this longer day trip takes in some of the most spectacular canyon scenery on the Lower Deschutes River. 

Both of these Deschutes rafting trips include Class II-III+ rapids, most of which are named after famous events or moments in history. We classify them as “pool and drop,” meaning there’s a short rapid, followed by a drop into a section of calm water. This means that while there are plenty of thrills to be had, there is also lots of recovery time if someone does fall out of the raft. On most of our trips, the pools are also an opportunity to go swimming and just soak up the spectacular surroundings. 

Recognizing Native Peoples and Indigenous Lands

On our Deschutes River trips, we pass through the traditional homeland of the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute tribes, who have been the custodians of these lands for centuries prior to the arrival of Europeans. The section of river that extends from the Pelton Dam to the Dixon camp area hugs the border of the Warm Springs Reservation. We want to take the opportunity to honor, respect, and recognize these Indigenous peoples through our Territory Acknowledgement and invite you to learn more via our blog about the Indigenous People of the Deschutes River
 

If you're looking for a longer trip on the Deschutes river, please visit our Deschutes River multi-day rafting trip page. 

Images & Videos
Itinerary
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1-day Classic

The Deschutes Classic begins at either 9:00 am or 10:15 am (depending on the date and time selected*) and ends in Maupin between 3:00 and 4:00 pm. This makes it an easy trip from either Portland or Bend and an opportunity to escape the city for a day immersed in nature. 

With a friendly and knowledgeable ROW Adventures’ guide at the helm, your trip begins with a paddle through some relatively calm water, which gives you the opportunity to build confidence and coordination as a team. After a short time, we’ll arrive at our first rapid, “Wapinita," which is followed shortly after by “Boxcar.”

In the middle of the day, we’ll pull over in Maupin for a riverside lunch, featuring a delicious spread of meats, cheeses, and locally sourced fare to fuel your energy reserves. As we continue down the river, we’ll encounter another series of fun rapids, such as the “Roller Coaster,” “Surf City,” and“Oak Springs.” 

If the sun is beating down, there will be plenty of opportunities to cool off with a refreshing swim and discover the geometrically-shaped basalt formations that frame the river. Your guide will share their knowledge about the region’s native plant and animal life and explain how they survive in this desert environment. The Deschutes River is not without a human history, however, and we’ll chat about the area’s Native People and how the railroads shaped modern-day America as we watch a train chug by. 

Towards the end of the day, we’ll run the “Elevator” rapids before taking out at Sandy Beach, tired but invigorated by the knowledge gained. We’ll return to Maupin by vehicle around 4:00 pm, hopefully leaving you with a strong desire to run the Deschutes River again someday. 

* We offer two launches on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, departing at either 9:00 am or 10:15 am. On Tuesdays through Thursdays, we only offer one launch departing at 9:00 am.

 

Rates
Daily

Dates

Daily departures from July 10 - September 19, 2021

Rates

July 10 – Sept 19, 2021 (except high-season Saturdays)

  • Weekdays - $94 per Adult / $86 Youth
  • Weekends - $104 per adult / $94 Youth

High-Season Saturdays (July 10 - Aug 21 inclusive)

  • $105 per Adult / $95 Youth

*Youth pricing for age 16 and younger. Ask about our group rates for groups of 10 or more.

1-Day Super Pricing - Call to Book!

July 10 – Sept 19, 2021 (except high-season Saturdays)

  • Weekdays - $105 per Adult / $95 Youth
  • Weekends - $120 per adult / $110 Youth

High-Season Saturdays (July 10 - Aug 21 inclusive)

  • $125 per Adult / $115 Youth

*Youth pricing for age 16 and younger.  Ask about our group rates for groups of 10 or more.

 

If you're looking for a longer trip on the Deschutes river, please visit our Deschutes River multi-day rafting trip page. 

Meeting Location

Our Deschutes River rafting trips meet in Maupin, Oregon. 

FAQ's

How long are Deschutes River rafting trips?

We offer full day, two-day, three-day, four-day and five-day whitewater rafting adventures on the Deschutes River.  We generally float about 14-20 miles per day.

Is the Deschutes River a good choice for me?

The Deschutes is considered a fun class II-III+ white water river and one of the most popular rivers in Oregon.  Located in the central Oregon desert, it promises a warm-weather escape for the often cloudy and cool weather found west of the Cascade Range. It’s a good river for both beginner and intermediate rafters.

What is the minimum age recommended to raft the Deschutes?

On our trips our recommended minimum age is seven years old.

What are the characteristics of the Deschutes River?

The Deschutes is a classic “pool and drop” river.  This means that each rapid is like a porous dam, slowing up the river above it and creating a “pool.”  The rapid is the “drop” and on the Deschutes there are fairly long stretches of calmer water (the pool) between the rapids.  However, the pools are not without current and during most flows will carry our rafts along at reasonable speeds.  Because the Deschutes River is dam-controlled, flows stay fairly consistent and during the summer this means flows around 4000-5000 cfs (cubic feet per second).  This is a great level for fun rapids.

When is the best time to raft the Deschutes?

This depends on what you’re looking for. In late April and May flows are higher because snow in the high mountains is melting and filling the reservoirs upstream.  On years with a big snowpack this means more water is released from the dams and flows might range from 8000-15000 cfs.  Once early June arrives the dam releases become fairly consistent through the summer and fall, ranging from 4000-5000 cfs most of the time.  

Weather is likely more important to you than water flows. The Deschutes River area gets about 13” of rain a year and most of this falls from November to February. Thus, starting in May, sunny days and very little rain are the norm until mid-October. By July and August daytime temperatures are typically in the 80’s and low 90’s.

How long is the Deschutes season?

You can float the Deschutes River year round. But most of the rafting takes place during the warm summer months from June through September.  Fishing trips start earlier in the spring and go later into the fall.

What is the water temperature?

During the prime rafting season, from July through later August the range is 65-70 and from late August through September it’s about 58-64 degrees. During May the average is 55-65 degrees and in June the average is about 60-65.  Local weather will impact these ranges.  A hot summer, for example, will raise the water temperatures.

What should I wear on the river?

We provide a full packing list for both our Maupin day rafting trips and our longer overnight trips.  Generally speaking, you wear a swimsuit or quick-dry pants and a top.  It’s always wise to bring a layer of warmth and a basic raincoat in case of a cloudy day. 

What raft options do you have?

We maintain a fleet of 14-15’ self-bailing rafts that we run as paddle rafts. We also offer the option of inflatable kayaks for those seeking more excitement and these are usually shared among interested trip participants. By request we can also provide trips in oar-powered rafts where the guide does the rowing and you simply hold on and enjoy the scenery. On our overnight trips we have a larger cargo raft that a guide rows using 10-11’ oars. This carries all the camp gear, food and trip supplies. 

Where does the trip begin?

Meet us in Maupin, Oregon for your rafting trip.

Are ROW guides qualified and trained?

As a company we provide a high level of training for our guides. We run several guide training trips each year including our annual All Guide Staff trip in early May that is a 7-day event that covers risk management, natural and cultural history interpretation, company philosophy, guest service and much more.  In early June we run a skills-based training trip for guides that are just starting out in their guiding profession. This is a 6-day course in the technical aspects of raft guiding including how to read water, how to be a paddle raft guide, river rescue, risk management, public speaking, how to provide good guest service and much more. Then in late June we conduct our 5-day multiday guide raft training that is focused on the nuts and bolts of how to run an overnight camping trip on the river. This includes learning how to rig rafts, tie knots, set up camp, cook meals, and more.  

What do your guides know about the Deschutes River and surrounding area?

Our guides not only know the rapids, they also know the natural and cultural history of the area and will make your time with us more intriguing and educational through their stories and the sharing of their knowledge. The whitewater is fantastic, but so is the natural and cultural history of the area.  We provide specific training relative to natural and cultural history interpretation.  This means our guides are trained in techniques used to convey information about a resource to you in a way that is meaningful and personally relevant.  

Who will my guides be?

On any river trips, the guides are the most important factor for your safety, enjoyment and the success of the trips. ROW guides are exceptional people that we choose through a selective hiring process. We look for guides who are willing and eager to share, teach, listen, learn, laugh, play, discuss and, above all, work hard to provide a safe, relaxed and spontaneous adventure. We maintain a tobacco and drug-free workplace and encourage our guides and staff to make healthy life choices. Our guides are the main reason many of our guests return to ROW time and time again. (References gladly provided.)

What is your guide to guest ratio?

We staff our one-day trips with one guide for every six-seven guests and our overnight trips with one guide for every four-five guests, providing you the ultimate in personal attention.

Where do we stay on overnight trips?

We camp along the river’s banks at designated BLM camps on our multiday overnight camping trips.

What is the camping on overnight trips like?

You’ll be amazed how comfortable camping can be when done the ROW way. Our camping trips provide a full-service experience along with all the camping gear you need including a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and pillow.

We have a large cargo raft that carries the camp gear, personal gear and food. On trips with 8 or more guests, this raft travels ahead to set up camp including spacious tents, and a complete kitchen with tables and chairs. Few outfitters provide this level of service that allows you more time to do other things like fishing, hiking, or simply relaxing.  

On smaller trips with 7 or less guests, the camp boat stays with the group during the day and we set up camp as a team on arrival.

What about the meals you serve?

The quality of our food reflects the quality of the river canyons. Sustainably harvested wild Alaskan Salmon served with a fresh garden salad; rib-eye steaks combined with a tomato-cucumber salad and garlic mashed potatoes or, made-on-the-river Pacific Northwest Lasagna are a few possible entrees. Desserts are made each evening and range from authentic cobblers to other sweet delicacies. Along with cool drinking water, sodas and sparkling water, we also provide complimentary wine and beer at dinner. Our morning breakfasts fuel you for the day and along with the main course (eggs, pancakes, French toast, etc.) we serve sides of breakfast meats (including vegetarian options), yogurt, juice, coffee, tea and cocoa.  Lunches are riverside affairs that range from make-your-own deli sandwiches to creative salads and the famous ROW mustard bar.

ROW Adventures will happily accommodate food allergies or dietary needs with advance notice. Please indicate any special needs on your trip application. 

What is camp time like?

One of the reasons that the Deschutes River is such a fabulous rafting trip is the variety of things to do and see along the way. ROW takes pride in historical interpretation and takes advantage of as many side excursions as possible. We share stories of the early pioneers and the fascinating history of the railroad that goes along the river. Not only do we show you these places, but we also help you understand them.

If you're interested, we also share our knowledge about the geology, plants, and animals that inhabit the Deschutes River. We strongly believe that deepening understanding builds greater appreciation and we hope our love of this canyon is contagious.

Do you practice sustainable travel ethics?

We operate following the best in "sustainable" or "eco" travel ethics including Leave No Trace camping and many other best practices that are sometimes forgotten about in the world of travel.  Visit our Sustainable Business page for more information.

One of our core values is respecting the Earth and we practice this throughout our operation. At our office and in all our field operations, we work to minimize our footprint through wise energy use and practicing the four R's - recycling, reducing, re-purposing and re-using.

How do you support river conservation and, can I help too?

ROW Adventures is a strong advocate for wild rivers. We support many river conservation groups with both time and money. We also encourage our guests to help through our River Preservation Donation program . When you receive your invoice from us, you will find a $2 per person per day voluntary donation included. For our Deschutes River trips this money goes to local river conservation groups such as the Deschutes River Alliance; the Deschutes River Conservancy and The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council.  As well, we direct a small percentage to the national river conservation group, American Rivers. These are all effective non-profit conservation groups working to protect wild rivers, fish and clean water for the communities that depend on them. If you choose not to donate simply delete this item from your invoice when you remit payment. 

Do you support the communities in which you operate?

Our trips support many other local businesses including fuel companies, food purveyors, shuttle services, local retailers and more. We also employ local people. Our guides, some local and others who may live elsewhere in the winter, spend their rafting season in the local communities and part of their wages are spent with local businesses. This means our trips and the money you pay for them, has a significant impact to the communities around the Deschutes River. 

What permits and licenses do you hold?

ROW Oregon LLC, doing business as ROW Adventures, is proud to be an Equal Opportunity recreation service provider and employer under permit from the Bureau of Land Management, Prineville District.  ROW Oregon LLC. is bonded and licensed by the Oregon State Marine Board. All our operation and facilities are operated on a non-discriminatory basis.

Where can I stay in Maupin?

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-serve 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.

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