Deschutes River Trail

Deschutes National Forest, Oregon 97707

Elevation Gain412ft
Trailhead Elevation4,173ft
Elevation Min/Max4094/4208ft
Elevation Start/End4173/4173ft

Deschutes River Trail

Deschutes River Trail is a hiking and biking trail in Deschutes County, Oregon. It is within Newberry National Volcanic Monument and Deschutes National Forest. It is 5.4 miles long and begins at 4,173 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 7.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 412 feet. The Benham Falls waterfall is near the trailhead. There is also a viewpoint. Along the trail there are a wetland, restrooms, and a wetland. This trail connects with the following: National Forest Development Road 9790.

Deschutes River Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Along the Deschutes River between Bend and Sunriver. Beautiful scenery, including three class 5 falls on the Deschutes river and lava flows; rolling singletrack."

"If I could choose only one river to fish, the Deschutes would be it. It has it all: beauty, variety of fish, challenging water, and a true test of fly fishing skills. Yet it’s possible to take a real neophyte to the river and, with some assistance, get him or her into fish. For these and other reasons, the Deschutes is probably the finest overall fly fishing river in western America. Its complement of big redside trout, salmon, steelhead, and whitefish offers a wide range of high-quality fly fishing.

The river lies east of the Cascade Mountains and runs mostly north from Little Lava Lake into the Columbia River east of the town of The Dalles. From Crane Prairie Reservoir, the Deschutes is a relatively small, meandering stream. From Wickiup Reservoir on it becomes a full-flowing big river. The majority of the quality fishing is on this part. Types of Fish: Predominantly redside rainbow trout, some bull trout, and browns. Whitefish can supply some exciting fishing. Many hatchery-reared steelhead, which have one or more fins clipped for identification. This eTrail covers the "where, when, and how" to fish in this region. You'll get a full-page map and information on the known hatches, suggested equipment to bring, and the best flies to use."

"In earlier times everyone, from runners and equestrians to bikers appreciated the trail's great scenery, easy terrain, and its high fun factor. Unfortunately, it became too crowded and the Bend Ranger District developed an alternate route for bicyclists. The bike route takes riders away from some good and scenic single-track, but all is not lost.

The route is an 11 mile out-and-back and a 1.6 mile loop near Dillon Falls (roughly midway on the out-and-back). Craggy lava rocks line the river and provide perches for viewing Dillon and Benham Falls. The trails and roads are in good condition with some short, fun, technical sections that wiggle through basalt outcroppings. The ride begins at the Lava Island Falls parking area, approximately 8 miles southwest of Bend."

"A local Oregon favorite, this trail swerves in and out of a Douglas fir forest paralleling the mesmerizing waters of the Deschutes River.

A river with many faces, the Deschutes has sections that are slow and meandering and others where it crashes and tumbles through deep lava shoots and over rocky falls. Trail surface: Singletrack and doubletrack."

"A beautiful river trail just outside Bend’s city limits. Views. The Deschutes River Trail is one of the premier running trails around Bend.

It twists and turns along the lava-strewn Deschutes River past waterfalls, boiling rapids, and everything else in between. You’ll see tons of wildlife as well as hikers, mountain bikers, and other runners on this very popular trail. Rest rooms are available at the trailhead (no water)."

"At low water, Upper Benham Falls is a series of class 4 drops to an eddy just above Lower Benham Falls, which is a class 5+ cascade. At high water, Upper Benham Falls is a series of class 5 drops to an elusive eddy just above Lower Benham Falls.

Scout the entire run before getting on the water. It is a lot bigger and pushier than it looks. Boaters can portage from the Deschutes River: Big River Campground to Benham Falls run. The put-in is in the calm water 0.5 mile above the parking lot at Benham Falls Campground. The first drop is over a small tongue into a large hole on river left. The current moves to the right, to the second drop, a sharp lava pour over. Stay right, then center, and move right through the next few drops; in the last series of drops, it is crucial to stay on line. Boaters must be to the extreme left side of the river to eddy out above Lower Benham Falls. Character: forested canyon."

Deschutes River Trail Reviews

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I have entered this trail into my all-time favorite mountain bike trails. Here they are, in no particular order: #1 is Porcupine Rim in Moab, Utah #2 is the Flume Trail in Lake Tahoe #3 is the Deschutes River trail. I went out on June 2nd, starting at the Lava Island trailhead and rode all the way down to Sunriver. There I stopped and had a burger and a beer, took a little nap in a shady spot on the golf course, and rode back. It was about 30 miles out and back, and with the high water of spring runoff, it was beyond spectacular.

Deschutes River Trail Photos

Trail Information

Deschutes National Forest
Nearby City
Newberry National Volcanic Monument
412 feet
Elevation Loss
Deschutes National Forest, Bend Ranger District 541-388-5664
Local Contacts
Bend Ranger District "Mountain Biking Route Guide", the district map of the Bend Ranger District, and a map by Fat Tire Publications, "Mountain Biking Central Oregon", USGS Bend
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018