The following Frequently Asked Questions will help you prepare for the best rafting experience possible.
The standard day trip is the best way to get your “feet wet” in rafting terms, for a beginner. Experienced rafters also enjoy this trip as well. If you have the time, a multi-day trip is a great way to really get a feel for what the Deschutes has to offer!
The Deschutes River is rated Class 3+ (two class 4 rapids)
For full rapid classifications and descriptions, see our Rapid Classes page.
You do not need to know how to swim to go rafting with us.
You’ll be wearing a top-of-the-line life jacket when you are on the water. Everyone on our trips wears a coast-guard approved buoyancy vest. This will keep you afloat in the event that you find yourself in the river. We take many non-swimmers on trips, and they have a great time. It is more important that you are not afraid of the water. If you should happen to fall in the river, you will float like a cork (a little wet and exhilarated but safe). 90% of accidents happen on shore.
Rafting is a relativly safe sport. You have a better chance of injury walking down the street in Portland.
We have an excellent safety record during the many years we have been in business.
Wear something you don’t mind getting wet. In warm weather it’s usually better to wear swimwear or nylon shorts and t-shirts.
Your footwear should be river sandals or old tennis shoes. Hats, sunglasses (with straps), and sunscreen are other items to consider bringing.
On cool weather days, it’s best to wear fleece, pyle, or wool tops (we provide splash tops).
Nylon pants and wool socks will make your day more comfortable. Wet suit rental is available.
You don’t need to be physically fit to go rafting. Paddling a raft is a team effort that uses more technique than muscles. You can decide to take paddle boats, or oar boats. This means that you can either sit back and relax or have a paddle in your hands, and be paddling. To do so, you should be reasonably healthy, and must be able to fit into our life vests. Paddling can be tiring, but our guides will instruct you on efficient paddling technique.
Since you will be getting wet while you are on the river, we run our trip rain or shine. Because the Maupin area typically has 300+ days of sun a year, chances are it won’t be raining.
(We may alter the start time to get the best conditions for the trip if possible).
We require a minimum of four rafters to run a trip.
Four people are needed to be able to send a raft out on a trip.
Our minimum age limit is 6 years, and hopefully they are not afraid of water.
We provide lunch for all day trips.
For multi-day trips we provide lunch and dinner the first day and breakfast and lunch the last day.
Our typical buffet lunch consists of four types of meat, two types of cheese, several choices of bread, and all the trimmings for a deli sandwich.
We also have two salads, a veggie tray, fruit tray, chips and salsa, and a dessert.
Some type of drink is also provided.
Rafting is thrilling, exciting, wet, wild and unbelievably fun. However, as in all adventure sports, there is an inherent risk involved. That risk contributes to the excitement, and is one of the reasons people enjoy it so much. Our guides are trained to minimize risks, and, statistically, you’re safer on a raft than in your car. One state government found in an investigation that the injury rate for whitewater rafting is similar to that for bowling! But still, there is a risk, and you must accept that risk when you go on the river. By the way, the most common injury is sunburn, and most other injuries occur on land, especially getting into and out of the boats.
This depends on the time of year, water temperature, and weather. As a rule of thumb we recommend you dress for the water temperature, rather than the air temperature, since you’ll be getting wet. Hotter days, we recommend wearing shorts or an ordinary swim suit. Cooler days, with cold water, we rent wet suits, or a wet suit/paddle jacket combination. You might also bring some synthetic fleece, polypro, capilene, or wool garments. Don’t wear cotton. It will just make you colder. An old pair of tennis shoes, running shoes, or even converse hi-tops are the best on the river. Wet suit booties are good if it is cold. Sandals don’t offer as much protection, and tend to come off easily in a swim. Sunglasses, especially prescription glasses, should have a croakie or other retainer that cinches tight. Consider a hat cord to tie your hat to your life jacket as well. In warmer weather, and late season warmer water, shorts and a T-shirt are good. Use sunscreen, but don’t put it on your forehead, or the backs of your legs. It may run into your eyes, or cause you to be slipping all over the boat. For more details have a look at our what to bring page.
Take a look at our trip offerings and decide which is best for you!.
We always have special family trips available on the Deschutes. You can bring children as young as six.
For fit, active seniors over 65 we recommend, as a first step, One-Day Trip. Then, depending on how this feels, you might want to try something more challenging. Healthy people of all ages, including spry folks in their 70’s and 80’s enjoy rafting with HDRO
You’ll meet the trip leader at your designated rendezvous place and time. He or she will collect your release forms, distribute wet suits if you rent them from us, then get everyone on the bus. You’ll go to the put-in, from where the trip will start, and the trip leader will give you a safety talk. This information is about how to be safe on the water. Then you’ll head to your boat. The boats typically seat six to eight people and a guide, though we also offer alternatives such as Inflatable Kayaks. The guide will give you further instruction on how to paddle, and how to follow his or her commands. Then you’ll head on down the river, and have the time of your life!
Believe it or not, many people love falling out of the boat. It’s exciting. But it can be disorienting and a little overwhelming at first. Many people have taken multiple trips and never fallen in. Some people swim on their first trip. It’s a part of rafting. Before you go on any trip, you’ll be given extensive instructions on what to do if you fall in, and how to stay safe. Follow you’re guide’s instructions, and your “swim” could be the most exciting part of your trip!
All of our trips go, rain or shine. Occasionally, due to circumstances beyond our control, such as high or low water, etc, we must cancel or postpone a trip. For our policies regarding this, please see our river trips page.
Our policies are discussed in detail on our rates page. If we are forced to cancel a trip, you will receive a full refund, or a credit for a future trip.
Occasionally we offer discounts. Please contact us to inquire about special offers.
We don’t recommend bringing video cameras, or even expensive still cameras, on trips. Many people bring disposable waterproof cameras, which work just fine. The quality of the pictures is pretty good, and if you lose it, it’s not the end of the world. They are well suited to rafting. Some of our river trips have professional photographers, whose photos you can view and order after the trip.