Trip – Deschutes – Warm Springs to Harpham Flats
Difficulty: Class II , Class III , Class IV (only 2)
Gradient: 11 ft/mi
Run Length: 41 miles
Good Level: 2,000 – 8,000 cfs
Put In: From the town of Madras take US Highway 26 northwest for about 12 miles to the US 26 bridge and put in on the right bank. If driving from Portland take US 26 southeast to the bridge.
Take Out: From the town of Maupin take Bakeoven Road southwest for about 4 miles use the access point on the right bank at Harpham Flats.
The Lower Deschutes run from Rainbow Launch in Warm Springs to Harpham Flats is 41 miles of beautiful canyon and fun class II & IV whitewater. Summer is the best time for this trip because of the nice weather and good fishing. Three days and two nights is the perfect amount of time for this trip. Days begin with late mornings and end with early afternoons, and allow plenty of time for river games at camp. Most of the run consists of class II-III but does contain two class IV- rapids.
Mile 20(Whitehorse Rapid): Whitehorse rapid is the most challenging rapid on this section of river. When the canyon walls begin to steepen, you can expect this rapid to be only a short distance away. Look for a sharp right turn in the river to mark the top of the rapid. Always scout this rapid whenever you paddle this section because this rapid is always changing. Scout or portage on river right, but watch out for poison ivy in this area. The rapid is very long and difficult in a raft.
Mile 32(Buckskin Mary Rapid): This is the biggest rapid on the run. Although Buckskin Mary is not the most difficult rapid, it is big enough to potentially flip rafts. Flipping a raft here would mean missing one of the nicest campsites on the river. Run this rapid down the middle and paddle hard. At some levels there is a great play wave at the bottom. When you pass the Ferry Crossing, look for Buckskin Mary around the next few corners.
As you float down the river keep your eyes open for sunny lunch spots and good places to jump into the river. At camp remember to watch out for rattle snakes, being bitten by a rattle snake on this section of river is very life threatening. Poison Ivy is always an issue in this area, so remember what it looks like and stay away from it.
Mile 41: Take out is on river right at Harpham Flats.
We recommend the Tomcat Solo or Tandem on this run.