The Deschutes River State Recreation Area is a tree-shaded, overnight oasis for campers. The sparkle-laden, swift, green rush of the Deschutes converges with the Columbia here, and there's no better place for family outing activities like hiking, mountain biking, camping, rafting, world-class steelhead and trout fishing, and equestrian trail riding.

This will be a great trail to hike again in a season or two, but recent wildfires have made much of the hike ash covered and unattractive. Wait till spring 2019 at the earliest.

The good:
Bathrooms were clean, campground seemed very nice, parking was plentiful, river was beautiful, seems to be a popular spot for fishing.
The bad:
A wildfire came through here somewhat recently so a majority of the area is scorched. Much of the vegetation along the river survived, but everything else is gone.
Nearly all of the trail markers are also completely burned. The area is scattered with other crisscrossing trails (including game trails that look like human trails), so be aware of what trail you're actually on. I was able to follow the trail using my GPS.
At one point, there is a creek crossing near the top of a very high cliff. The crossing is completely overgrown and impassable. I had to walk up the creek a bit to get away from the cliff's edge and cross in a burned area. The mud was quite deep and I sank up to my knees.
I saw a deer, a few lizards, and a gopher snake.
I imagine this is a fantastic little hike under better conditions, but this area really needs a year or two to recover. For now, skip it.

I loved hiking this trail. it is scarred by the Substation fire, but it was very interesting and very do-able. My chihuahua and I went 8 miles total. The trail we chose was on an old rail bed which made the route out easy with not much elevation difference. The fire really changed the way this trail looks...but I found it very interesting. Take water and for rattlesnakes. There are composting toilets available along the trail. The river is beautiful and very inviting this time of year. We returned via the trail that follows right near the river. As for the trail, I recommend the Deschutes Canyon trail.

4 months ago

I did an out and back to mile 12 as a slow and easy backpacking trip. WATCH OUT FOR SNAKES!!! Came across a few rattlers and had some nerve racking experiences with em. Just keep and eye out and you will be fine. It’s just easy to get distracted by the beautiful rolling hills. One luxury is the amount of outhouses along the trail, and fully stocked. The ranch house at mile 12 has officially collapsed and is no longer standing. The rail car at around mile 5 or 6 is still in great condition (so let’s keep it that way!) Other than those few things the trail itself was a piece of cake, miles were easy with hardly any elevation. The heat is probably the only thing to slow you down, so start as early in the day as possible, and take breaks as needed, or go swimming!

mountain biking
5 months ago

Biked and my ass was sore for a week but great views the entire way. I'll hike along river trail next time and enjoy more shade.

Beautiful trail, today it was a quiet and peaceful day, almost no other people arround. We only met some fishermen, and a bunch of teenagers enjoying nature within their tents.

Nice winter hike


Great trail because 1. Bathrooms 2. Several crossing trails allow for flexibility in making a shorter or longer hike on-the-fly 3. Recycling 4. Riverfront camping. Bikes allowed on Old Railbed Trail. No fee for dayhikers.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Went up the river trail about 2 miles, then took a steep trail up to the Middle Trail, and followed that about another mile. Came back all the way on the Middle Trail. Saw several bikers up on the bike road above me. Views North and South of Deschutes River quite nice. Always windy. Flowers near gone, but blackberries abound!!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Decent trail. Not much wildlife

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Love this trail! One of my dogs favs! Following the river trail is the best in my opinion. When my husband comes along he always has his fishing pole to throw in a line while the dog and I mosey on down the trail. Also is never too crowed, and when you do pass people they are always the friendliest! I try and take the dog to this one at least once a week!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Started along the river and cut up to the higher trail to make a nice loop with some great views. I would have gone out even farther if I didn't get such a late start.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Trail is a mixture of runners, people with dogs, and mountain bikers. It's a dirt trail that is mostly flat. Walking along the river was really pretty but to/from was just okay. Keep track of which paths you've taken because it isn't marked at all. Overall pretty, close to Bend, and very dog friendly!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Great hike. Looking forward to biking this next time.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Nice central Oregon hike, great for your mountain bike ride.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

This is one of my favorite hikes simply because it includes some great fishing. And its just amazing scenery.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

If someone had told us last year that we would be attempting an overnight backpack adventure in January, I would have laughed hysterically. It usually pours rain in January, which makes for less than ideal camping conditions. But this has been a warm and dry winter so far so we decided to take advantage of that and do an early season overnight on the Lower Deschutes.

We had planned to camp at the same place we camped at last year with our friend David (about 3.5 miles in from the trailhead). But it was a gorgeous day and last year, we had visited an abandoned boxcar at around mile 6 and decided on the spur of the moment to camp near it instead.

Rivière des Chutes, the name given to the river by 19th-century fur traders, means 'River of the Falls.' It is perfectly named, as we saw many rapids along its length and its sound lulled us to sleep. The views of the Deschutes River Canyon, especially when the sky is covered with stars during a waxing moon phase, made every little ache, pain and worry worth the trip. The trains go by every couple of hours, which can sound rather loud, but we were miles from anyone and completely alone. It was very awe-inspiring.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Beautiful hike, and great fishing. Don't forget your tackle.

mountain biking
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This is a good beginner trail to get brand new mountain bikers used to riding on non-asphalt roads. The path itself is fairly flat with only a a couple of climbs that aren't very long. The road itself is a dirt road with sections that are occasionally gravel-filled or rock-filled. These areas are do not occur very often. I rode 11.2 miles along this trail going in and it ends up at the Harris Ranch, an abandoned ranch home that offers a lot of great picture-taking opportunities. You can turn around from the trailhead at any time, but I highly recommend you try to make the 11.2 miles and get to the ranch before turning around. A restroom exists at roughly Mile 6 or 7 if you need one. I used this trail to introduce my wife to mountain biking which she loved.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

This riverside hike offers some great views of both the river and the canyon it has carved. There is nothing to difficult about it, although you have a choice to either follow the nice and flat, well graveled, rail trail, or taking some of the side paths that are smaller and weave up and down, beside the river, etc. We saw many bikers on the trail, although they were restricted to the staightforward the graveled rail trail. In the springtime their are wild flowers, which adds some nice color to the desert landscape. If you are like me, you will also enjoy seeing trains weave down the canyon on the other side of the river.
My suggestion would be spend the day hiking as far as you would like, double back, and spend the night at the campground where you can listen to the sound of the river and trains throughout the night.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Camping at the park, did a day excursion with 2 year old 8 year old and dog. Took the "middle" trail with hopes of looping back for the river trail on the way back. Unfortunately there are no markings for when they join up ( many down trails to the river man made can be deceiving) reached the bike trail and had to double back. Worth it though. Off the river trail be Rattlesnake rapids there is a great sandy beach area to cool your feet! Recommend this trail but it is loose rocks and fall offs in certain areas so tiny hikers should be backpacked!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nice easy hike along the river. Also popular with mountain bikers. Can be a loop up the west hill to a natural spring. Lots of wildlife and beautiful spring flowers.

mountain biking
Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Easy ride with awesome picturesque views!

1 month ago

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