As we all know, Central Oregon is an outdoor adventure paradise. In addition to the myriad of hiking, biking, and skiing opportunities, rafting is yet another form of outdoor recreation that Sunriver residents and visitors can and do enjoy. With several Wild and Scenic rivers rafting trips are proving to be one of the most popular activities for visitors.
Here is a short list of the best whitewater rivers in the Central Oregon area. Keep in mind that rivers are rated from class I (flat water) to class VI (an unrunnable waterfall). Class II to moderate class IV rapids are generally ideal for first time and veteran river runners alike.
Regarded by many as the best one and two-day river trip in Oregon, the North Fork Umpqua spills clean and fast from headwaters near Crater Lake. The Umpqua features more beginning and intermediate rapids per mile than any other day trip in the Sunriver area. Class III and IV rapids such as Pinball, Boulder Hole, Wierd Weir, and Bathtub are fun, challenging, and invigorating rapids, perfect for first time rafters and experienced whitewater enthusiasts. Add to Umpqua's classic and numerous rapids the dramatic alpine scenery, towering volcanic spires, quiet isolation, and aqua velva blue water and you are left with a river famous for satisfying rafters and nature lovers alike.
Another exceptional central Oregon river is the high Cascade's McKenzie river, which is located just west of towering McKenzie Pass. The McKenzie has two unique stretches of river, each well suited to anyone seeking a fun and scenery filled river trip. The Upper McKenzie runs through a verdant alpine forest and features nonstop rapid after rapid as the river cascades west. Beginning level Class II and III rapids are found throughout this stretch of river. The Middle McKenzie offers a slightly slower and less secluded rafting trip, as calms are interspersed with fun, big wave class II and III rapids. Both trips are ideal for first-timers and families.
Next is the popular Big Eddy run of the Deschutes. This short tour is a favorite of those looking for a quick, one hour river trip near Bend. The highlight is Big Eddy rapid, a long, curvy and powerful class III-IV rapid that thrills even the most hardy of whitewater souls. First timers and veteran river enthusiasts enjoy this trip, as it flows through a high desert pine forest, replete with tall trees, swaying shoreline grasses, and interesting volcanic formations.
Finally, the Lower Deschutes, near Maupin, Oregon, is yet another great river for anyone seeking fun class III and III+ rapids. Several different sections of the river allow for varying degrees of seclusion and camaraderie among other rafters. In addition, each stretch features fun rapids and classic desert river scenery. Boxcar, Oak Springs, Whitehorse and other rapids are found in this bigger volume river.
As you can see, a variety of exceptionally fun and beautiful rivers and river trips are found in Central Oregon.
PO Box 1965
Sisters, OR 97759