Riding the rapids on the Deschutes

Late spring runoff is still with us, and that means rivers are flowing strong. For some early season boating, check out the rivers in sunny Central Oregon and Eastern Oregon, where warmer temperatures make it easier to take the plunge.

The Deschutes River runs from the Cascade Mountains into the Columbia River near The Dalles. It’s a popular rafting destination known for its beautiful desert canyons, exciting but moderate rapids and consistent flow. Trips leave out of Maupin, Bend and Madras.

The mellow flowing John Day River is a great bet for those seeking low key relaxation instead of high drama. Cast a fishhook, get out for a desert hike or just float along and take in the stunning scenery of the longest free-flowing river in Oregon. Trips leave from Service Creek and Clarno.

High adrenaline kayakers will enjoy the Metolius River outside Bend, which offers class III-IV, white-knuckle white water. It’s a challenging and thrilling run on a Central Cascade River best attempted only by seasoned white-water experts.

About the Author: Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin is the editor of Travel Oregon’s Seasonal Features, enewsletters and annual visitor guide. When she’s not cooking up trip ideas, Oregon Dreamer profiles and outdoor adventures to write about, she’s out exploring Oregon.

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