Donner und Blitzen River Blitzen Crossing to Page Springs

Burns, Oregon

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The Donner und Blitzen is a National Wild and Scenic River, a superb fly fishing stream, a mountain river in a parched southeast Oregon desert setting with no outlet beyond Malheur Lake, and it is located in a region of exceptional wildlife and biological diversity. It drains the magnificent Steens Mountain, an uplift fault block in the Basin and Range Province. The river flows 17.3 miles and drops more than 800 feet from Blitzen Crossing to Page Springs through a deep, remote basalt canyon. Major tributaries are Indian Creek, Little Blitzen, and Fish Creek, all flowing out of high glacially carved gorges on the west side of Steens Mountain. It is one of the finest whitewater runs in Oregon. The river is demanding, the action is continuous, the scenery and setting are spectacular, and the river is remote, yet it can be run as a (long) day-trip. The river has three distinct sections: from the South Fork at Blitzen Crossing to Little Blitzen, from Little Blitzen to Fish Creek, and from Fish Creek to Page Springs. Because of the limited access, you paddle all three. The Little Blitzen increases the flow of the South Fork by about 60 percent; Fish Creek adds about the same amount. Character: remote high desert canyon.

Donner und Blitzen River: Blitzen Crossing to Page Springs Professional Review and Guide

"The Donner und Blitzen is a National Wild and Scenic River, a superb fly fishing stream, a mountain river in a parched southeast Oregon desert setting with no outlet beyond Malheur Lake, and it is located in a region of exceptional wildlife and biological diversity. It drains the magnificent Steens Mountain, an uplift fault block in the Basin and Range Province. The river flows 17.3 miles and drops more than 800 feet from Blitzen Crossing to Page Springs through a deep, remote basalt canyon.

Major tributaries are Indian Creek, Little Blitzen, and Fish Creek, all flowing out of high glacially carved gorges on the west side of Steens Mountain. It is one of the finest whitewater runs in Oregon. The river is demanding, the action is continuous, the scenery and setting are spectacular, and the river is remote, yet it can be run as a (long) day-trip. The river has three distinct sections: from the South Fork at Blitzen Crossing to Little Blitzen, from Little Blitzen to Fish Creek, and from Fish Creek to Page Springs. Because of the limited access, you paddle all three. The Little Blitzen increases the flow of the South Fork by about 60 percent; Fish Creek adds about the same amount. Character: remote high desert canyon."

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Burns
Distance: 17.3
Class: Class III
Season: Best during snowmelt season; Flow: 500–800 cfs
Driving Directions: Directions to Donner und Blitzen River: Blitzen Crossing to Page Springs

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May 2018