Deschutes Rafting

The Deschutes and McKenzie Rivers Will Spring To Life Despite Low Snowpack Levels.

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A less than average snowpack can put a heavy strain on Oregon’s most popular rafting rivers.

As a whitewater rafting company in Central Oregon we depend on annual snowfalls in the Cascade Range to the west and the Ochocos to the east  to pile up, melt, and replenish the reservoirs that feed the Deschutes and McKenzie rivers. The National Weather Service is reporting that Oregon is experiencing a drier and warmer winter season than normal and snowpack monitors around the state are reporting less than half of average levels at western and central stations.

The snowpack season typically peaks around April then the snow begins to melt and the water runs off of the peaks into the lakes and streams below. If the snowpack at the end of the season is less than average it puts a greater strain on the river and streams that support natural habitats, irrigation farming, and local businesses like ours.

Fortunately, the Deschutes and McKenzie rivers literally have an ace in the hole which makes them a little less vulnerable during a drier winter season. Large underground aquifers that are the result of tens of thousands of years of snowmelt that has seeped through the porous volcanic layers provide a bit of a buffer during less than average snow years. The Deschutes and McKenzie rivers are born out of these huge underground reservoirs and the countless freshwater springs that bubble up from deep below the surface.

We consider ourselves pretty lucky to be able to live, work, and play on some of Oregon’s most consistent flowing and scenic rivers. And, although we may have gotten off to a slow start on this year’s snowpack levels, we have been doing a rain dance here at the office and we’re confident that Mother Nature will bless us with another great summer season. The National Weather Service is predicting that the drier than normal weather pattern that has dominated the Pacific Northwest will give way to a more soggy spring season ensuring that our local reservoirs will have plenty of fresh water to keep us floating, splashing, and having fun this spring and summer.

You can always count on the Deschutes River for big water action and fun.

You can always count on the Deschutes River for big water action and fun.

So, go ahead and plant the seeds now with your family and friends and start planning your Deschutes Rafting or McKenzie Rafting trip with us. Last season was one of our busiest and folks are already calling and booking another trip for this season and taking advantage of one of our Web Specials. You can use our Online Reservation system to check availability and book the perfect day or date. You can also call our office and speak to one of our HDRO team members for some extra help planning that perfect summer vacation!

Whitewater Rafting Can Help Keep Your Business From Sinking

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seals teamAs your business grows and competition in the marketplace heats up, so do the stresses and demands put upon your employees. To help improve team dynamics, build trust, and facilitate communication within the workforce more and more companies are discovering unique team building activities to help achieve these goals.

Whitewater rafting takes everyone in the raft working together as a single unit following the directions from their guide to safely navigate hazards on the river and to respond quickly and safely to possible swift water rescue situations. Your success as a business is also dependent on your employees’ ability to work together as a cohesive team and follow specific directions to achieve your desired business goals.  And, just like a good manager who can lead and motivate their staff in the right direction, an experienced raft guide can quickly assess the skills, strengths, and weaknesses of their team and make decisions about how to best convey critical information in their safety talk, placement of paddlers within the raft, and how to best approach each rapid to ensure that everyone is having a fun ride and most importantly staying safe.

Whether you’re a small business with just a handful of employees or a Fortune 500 company, it’s important to regularly check the pulse of your staff and offer team building opportunities to raise moral, build camaraderie, or learn new skills to boost productivity. A good group activity for your business should be an experience that is challenging, relevant, and accomplishes a definable goal.  “A team-building activity is any positive, shared experience that reinforces positive, team skills,” says David Jacobson, founder of the New York City-based corporate entertainment and team-building company TrivWorks.  

Whitewater rafting is a positive shared experience that brings people together as a team. There can be many challenges to overcome in a single raft with up to 8 different people each with their own unique physical and emotional limits. Rising to the occasion and facing these challenges together as a team is important because learning happens when you’re outside of your comfort zone. Whitewater rafting is an extreme sport, but because of advancements in technology and training making it safer, it has become an activity that has been attracting the attention of more and more companies each year as a great team building experience. We have dozens of businesses big and small that have now made whitewater rafting with High Desert River Outfitters an annual team building event for their company. “If the exercise is good, your team will take what they did or learned back to the workplace,” says Jacobson. “They’re going to collaborate and communicate better.”

We’re not only experts at having a fun time on the river we are also very passionate about logistics and planning. Facilitating a team building activity can be a daunting task, but let us take the worry and hassle out of it. We can help you plan the kind of team building experience that will reinvigorate your staff and have your employees working and communicating more productively as a team.

To learn more about corporate team building opportunities with High Desert River Outfitters please call our office 1-800-461-5823 or shoot us an email at






More Is Better…Multi Day Deschutes River Rafting Trips

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    River Camp

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The Lower Descutes River offers one of the most popular multi day rafting and fishing experiences in Oregon. The Lower Deschutes River is a popular choice for rafters because it is close to the city of Portland and it’s a great river for those who are new to whitewater who want to learn the basics, but challenging enough for experienced rafters to keep them on their toes. The Lower Deschutes is likely Oregon’s most well known and most sought after spot to fly fish for both wild trout and steelhead. With trout populations running over 3500 trout per mile, the first 50 miles below Pelton Dam offers some of the finest trout opportunities in the state.


Whether this is your first time planning a multi day adventure with High Desert River Outfitters, or you’re a self proclaimed ‘river rat’, there are many things to consider. Logistics and planning are our passion and there is a lot that goes into preparing for each and every trip to ensure that our guests are safe, comfortable, well fed, and of course having lots of fun along the way. Determining the length of your trip is a good place to start. For the novice who would like a great introduction to multi day rafting or those who are on a tight schedule our two and three day Deschutes Rafting trips are the most popular.


On our Deschutes Two Day Rafting trip there are two put-in and takeout options. Trout Creek to Sandy Beach or Buckhollow to the mouth of the Deschutes where it enters into the Columbia River. Trout Creek to Sandy Beach is the most popular of the two options for those who are looking for a little more whitewater action provided by locally famous rapids like White Horse class iv,  Wapinita and Box Car class iii, and Oak Springs class iv. There is still enough tranquil stretches of quiet river to provide a little something for everyone on this trip. Buckhollow to the mouth takes you deep into the river canyon as the river meanders from bend to bend providing unparalleled views of steep basalt cliff faces where if you look carefully you just might spy the allusive Big Horn Sheep. This stretch of river offers spectacular fishing and swimming holes, picturesque camping sites, and enough whitewater action to keep you on the look out.

The most popular multi day trip that we offer is our Deschutes Three Day rafting trip. This popular trip starts at Warm Springs and continues 55 miles to Sandy Beach. With an extra day of rafting we spend fewer miles on the river each day which allows for more free time in camp to relax, hike, fish, or just enjoy the sun and scenery of this beautiful high desert river canyon. You’ll experience all the best that the Deschutes has to offer for both scenery and exciting whitewater action. This trip also includes the white knuckle ride through White Horse, Buckskin Mary, Box Car, and Oak Springs.


No matter which trip you choose deliciously prepared meals are provided for you from breakfast on the first day to lunch on the last. We can tailor the menu to cater to guests with special food needs or wants. Of course you’re always welcomed to bring any of your own favorite snacks and drinks. We’ll provide plenty of fresh water and lemonade, but you have to provide for your own adult beverages. While we do allow alcohol on these trips in camp our priority is your safety and no consumption of alcohol is allowed while on the river. These trips are set in remote locations with limited to zero outside access and response times for medical emergencies can take a long time.



We are a complete outfitter which means we can provide you with everything you’ll need to be comfortable on any of our multi day trips. We have tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads available for rent. We’ll provide you with your own personal dry bag to put your personal belongings in and splash gear and wet suits to help keep you warm and comfortable free of charge. Check out our Gear List for recommended items you may want to bring along with you on your trip.


Multi day rafting can be an amazing experience and great way to spend quality time with family, friends, or celebrate special occasions like birthdays, reunions, bachelor or bachelorette parties, and corporate team building. With a little careful planning and attention to the details we can help ensure that you’ll have a trip that exceeds your expectations and have you coming back year after year. It’s never too early to start planning and getting your group to agree on a date or time frame and to help you with that you can call our office 1-800-461-5823 and speak with one of our staff or checkout our online reservation system for availability.

We look forward to sharing this amazing and unique opportunity with you this coming season!



Deschutes River Rafting Video That Exposes The Truth..Rafting Is Too Much Fun!

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Last summer was one of our busiest seasons with endless sun, perfect water levels, and tons of fun! Check out this awesome You Tube video that captures all the best moments on one of our Full Day Lower Deschutes Rafting trips shot by Jason VanVuren with his GoPro 3+ last summer.

So, you wanna create your own awesome Deschutes River rafting video? No problem..Your waterproof cameras are always welcomed on any HDRO rafting trip, but you definitely want to be able to safely secure your camera to prevent it from becoming a sacrifice to the the River Gods..We also have our own staff of professional photographers positioned at the best rapids along the river to capture shots of you and your group getting soaked!

If you rafted with us last summer, but didn’t have the time to check out your photos in our photo lab after the trip we got you covered! You can check out your photos online now!

During peak season the most popular days and dates will sell out first, so don’t miss out on your perfect day or date and book early. It’s easy to check dates and availability with our online reservation system. Take a look for yourself!


If you like to talk on the phone as much as our office staff, call us right now! 1-800-461-5823 We’re in the office 9am-5pm Monday through Saturday ready to take your phone call and help you plan a trip that’s perfect for you.




The Deschutes River Is The People’s River! Rafting On Your Public Lands

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The Bureau Of Land Management (BLM) administers more of your public lands–over 245 million surface acres mostly in the west–than any other federal agency in the United States. The BLM is the primary caretaker of your tax sponsored public lands which includes the the Lower Deschutes Wild and Scenic River in Central Oregon, a river that we know very well with decades of experience honing our craft on and perfecting what we believe is the standard in quality and safety for whitewater rafting on the Lower Deschutes River..Your river.

Whitewater rafting has evolved over the years and it’s no longer just extreme sports enthusiasts, adrenaline junkies, or weekend warriors looking for the thrill and rush that whitewater rafting offers. People from all backgrounds and ability levels are answering the call of the wild and are discovering whitewater rafting for the first time with High Desert River Outfitters as their guide on a Deschutes Rafting experience. We know this river well and we take great care and pride in providing a trip thats perfect for everyone. Check out our recent blog 5 Ways to Have a Fun and Safe Whitewater Rafting Trip for great information you’ll need to prepare for a whitewater rafting experience with us on the the Deschutes River. And, check back here on our blog regularly as we will also spend some time showcasing each one of the rivers throughout Oregon and Washington that we provide professional guide services for in order to give you the information and background that will give you a deeper appreciation and understanding of your public lands and the rivers that flow through them.

With the growing popularity of whitewater rafting as a fun and safe way to experience your public lands and because the BLM does regulate and limit the number of users, it’s never too early to start planning your Deschutes Rafting trip. The most desirable days and dates during peak summer season will sell out first, so don’t miss out on that perfect day or date and visit our website where you can check availability and book online or call our office 1-800-461-5823 to speak with one of our awesome staff members who will help guide you in planning the perfect Deschutes Rafting trip.

High Desert River Outfitters is proud to be your full service river outfitter combining our decades of experience on the Lower Deschutes River, top of the line equipment, and our team of professionally trained river guides to create a fun, safe, and memorable whitewater rafting experience for the whole family. High Desert River Outfitters has been granted a special use permit by the office of the BLM to offer professionally guided whitewater rafting experiences along this stretch of protected river corridor for the last 20+ years.

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