Featured Photo by Sun Country Tours

The Best Whitewater Rafting On The Deschutes River

The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the best whitewater rafting in the country, especially in Oregon. Have the ultimate summer water experience with these 4 whitewater rafting trips on the Deschutes River.

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Deschutes Whitewater Rafting: Big Eddy Thriller Bend & Sunriver, OR

Best For Family Rafting
One of Central Oregon’s most popular whitewater adventures, where much of the 1980s comedy Up the Creek was filmed, the Big Eddy Thriller is perfect for beginner whitewater rafters, including kids. Hosted by Sun Country Raft Tours, you’ll ride the current on this tour through swimming holes and up to class 3 rapids for a mostly mellow day of rafting. The tour is a short 3-miles, making it perfect for a quick morning or afternoon excursion. If you’re traveling with adults only, the Raft ‘N Brew tour might be a great option. Spend a couple of hours on the Deschutes splashing through the rapids, then tour the Cascade Lakes Brewing Company and sample some Oregon brews to cap off the day.

Big Eddy Thriller Bend + Sunriver Trip Tips
Season: May to September, Put-in Spot: Bend or Sunriver, Take-out Spot: Lava Island, Local Outfitter: suncountrytours.com

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Deschutes Whitewater Rafting: Full Day Maupin, OR

Best For Daylong Tours
Sun Country Raft Tours also offers a daylong tour out of Maupin for whitewater rafters who want to spend a whole day taking on the Deschutes and experiencing Oregon outdoors. Situated on the Lower Deschutes, this tour will take you down 13 miles of river in 4 and a half hours featuring class I to III rapids like Wapinitia, Boxcar, and Elevator rapids, swimming holes, and great views of native wildlife and the high basalt rock cliffs. You’ll stop for a riverside lunch and a short break from the river, so you can truly take in the natural beauty of these classic western canyons. Your guide will also point out landmarks and wildlife during the calmer sections of the float, so you can learn about the area and its history.

Full Day Maupin Trip Tips
Season: June to September, Put-in Spot: Maupin, Take-out Spot: Sandy Beach, Local Outfitter: suncountrytours.com

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Deschutes Whitewater Rafting: Wild and Scenic Deschutes Madras, OR

Best For Solitude and Desert Stargazing
If smaller group sizes, multiple camping days, and a lot of room for choosing excursions and activities sounds like the perfect itinerary for you, then you’ll want to check out Ouzel Outfitters’ three-day trip on the Wild and Scenic section of the Deschutes River. For this trip, all of the camping and rafting gear you will need is provided by Ouzel and your guides will prepare and serve each meal throughout the entirety of the three days. You can choose from a regular raft, an oar-assisted raft, or an inflatable kayak, but can switch throughout the trip. The rafting starts out mellow with great opportunities for wildlife viewing and then increases with excitement and challenging rapids as the trip goes on. There are also opportunities to fish, hike, swim, or relax and activities are chosen based on the interests of the group.

Wild and Scenic Deschutes Madras Trip Tips
Season: June to September, Put-in Spot: Warm Springs Boat Ramp, Take-out Spot: Maupin City Park, Local Outfitter: www.oregonrafting.com/

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Deschutes Whitewater Rafting: 5 Day Maupin, OR

Best For Longest Trips and Standup Paddle Boarding
A final trip option for whitewater rafting on the Deschutes is the 5 day trip out of Maupin with River Drifters. This trip includes 5 days and 4 nights of rafting, camping, and spending time in the Oregon outdoors on 100 miles of the Deschutes. You’ll be provided meals and equipment, so you can focus on taking on famous rapids and enjoying other fun outdoor recreation nearby your camp. Rafters can look forward to days packed with water, sunshine, and excitement. River Drifters is also a great outfitter for standup paddleboarders who want to take on the Deschutes River. They offer full day and three-day trips of taking on class I to III rapids, so the trips are recommended for ages 16 and up only.

5 Day Maupin Trip Tips
Season: May to October, Put-in Spot: Maupin, Take-out Spot: Sandy Beach, Local Outfitter: riverdrifters.net/

Content Writer and Social Media Coordinator. I paint, listen to music, and play with my dogs a lot. When I’m not doing all that, I love to read and try new things.

Maeve Miller

Writer, River Travel Magazine