Trip – Deschutes – Harpham Flats to Sandy Beach
Difficulty: Class II , Class III , Class IV
Run Length: 11 miles
Good Level: 2,000 – 8,000 cfs
Shuttle Logistics: Put In: From the town of Maupin take Deschutes River Road southwest for about 4 miles and put in on the right bank at Harpham Flats.
Take-out: Sandy Beach is located on Oregon Highway 216 between US 197 and US 97 about 1.5 miles above Sherars Falls. There are several other access points on this section for shorter trips.
After buying permits for the river put in at Harpham Flats and get ready to enjoy the warm weather and scenic canyon. The first .75 miles is class II with lots of fun stern squirt eddy lines.
Mile .75(Wapinitia Rapid): Wapinitia is the first big class III of the run. During the summer time don’t forget to wave at the photographers on river right. Scout this rapid on the shuttle drive from the road on your first time down. When running this rapid, start center of the right channel and paddle straight down. Stay away from the rocks in the center because at all flows they create strong hydraulics. The big waves of this rapid are a great start to a fun run.
Mile 1.5(Boxcar Rapid): After some fun class II wave trains Boxcar is the next rapid. Scout this drop from the road during shuttle. This drop is obvious when the river takes a sharp left hand turn and the river left wall becomes a sheer cliff. The entrance and end of this drop present very turbulent water capable of flipping beginner paddlers. Run this drop down the middle to avoid the large hole on river left. Don’t forget to smile for the photographers as you paddle through, you can see them high on river right.
Mile 4.5(Town of Maupin): In the 3 miles following Boxcar paddlers will find a few fun class II wave trains. In these wave trains there are a few hidden on the fly surf waves. Once you reach the town of Maupin look to river right to find a nice grassy field that is a great spot to pullover and eat lunch.
Mile 8.5(Surf City): Below Maupin are some of the best rapids on the run. Just around the corner after the first wave train, the river offers the best on the fly waves of the run. Any given day you can expect to find rafters and kayakers alike surfing one of the number of waves in this short section. The rapid called Surf City begins after a long stretch of flatwater. This rapid is a large wave train and can be run straight down the middle. At some levels the Surf City wave is developed and offers a very bouncy surfing experience with marginal eddy service.
Mile 8.75(Oak Springs Rapid): Just below Surf City the river takes a hard right turn, this is how you know you have arrived at Oak Springs. This drop should be scouted from the road during the shuttle drive. Oak Springs consists of a large drop and difficult class III+ run out. Run this drop on the far left side of the right channel. Once again don’t forget to smile at the photographers on river right.
Mile 10(Upper Elevator): For play boaters this rapid can be the best of the run. At most flows a surf wave is created in the middle of this wave train. The best part about this wave is that it has excellent eddy service for all day park and play. Remember to keep an eye up river for rafts and swimmers because this rapid is often swam for fun.
Mile 11(Take out): In the last mile there is one more wave train and lots of fun stern squirt eddies. Take out is very obvious, there is signs on the river telling you to pull out. Make sure to take out here at Sandy Beach because just below river is the unrunnable water fall Sherar Falls.
We recommend the Tomcat Solo or Tandem on this run.