DESCHUTES RIVER TRAIL

Slough Meadow to Meadow Picnic Area

 

Deschutes River Whitewater
                

The stretch of river between Dillon Falls and Lava Island gave us several photo ops of rafters navigating whitewater. The interesting thing about this portion of the river trail is the variety - from sloughs with open meadows and mountain views, to forested paths along canyon walls.

We learned the hard way that there are dozens of rabbit trails branching off every which way ... you'll want to take the fork that keeps you closest to the river.

 

 

 

Because we wanted to hike a longer stretch of the river without backtracking, we parked one vehicle at the Meadow Day Use Area, and then drove up to Slough Meadow to begin the hike downriver.

 

    
Slough Meadow

 

 

Mt. Bachelor
     

Mt. Bachelor can be seen across one of the open meadows along the trail.

 

 

DESCHUTES RIVER TRAIL
 

Equally impressive across one of the meadows was a herd of elk -- this photo taken on a cold April day.

 

 

Dillon Falls
 

Dillon Falls consists of a series of small waterfalls, churning over rocks and fallen trees.

 

 

 

Below Dillon Falls, the river is flanked by a lava ridge on one side and canyon walls on the other.

 

    
Lava Ridge

 

 

 

Even though the trail never strays far from the river, the terrain changes dramatically in this 7-mile stretch. Here, the path is lined by canyon walls and tall evergreens.

 

    
Dillon Falls Trail

 

 

Deschutes River Rapids
     

 

This photo was taken on a September day where rafters were still enjoying sun-splashed rapids and warm temperatures.

 

 

Deschutes River Whitewater
             

The stretch of the Deschutes between Dillon Falls and Lava Island is 2.5 miles long and has been rated a class III section by American Whitewater (you can see a capsized kayak across the river).

 

 

 

Gary spotted this osprey across the river on a cold April day -- an interesting study in gray upon gray upon gray.

 

    
DESCHUTES RIVER TRAIL

 

 

Elevation: Approximately 400 feet elevation change

Trail distance: 6.8 miles one way

Rated: Easy

Latitude: 43.93083

Longitude: 121.41278

Shuttle Directions: From Bend, travel 6.2 miles west of the Cascade Lakes Hwy. Just before Widgi Creek Golf Course, turn left onto Forest Service Road 100 at the Meadow Picnic Area sign. Follow the gravel road approximately 1.4 miles to the end of the parking area. Leave one vehicle here.

Get back on Cascade Lakes Hwy and head west. Turn left just past Inn of the 7th Mountain onto Forest Service Road 41 at the Deschutes River Recreation sign. Travel 3.8 miles on paved road, and then turn left onto gravel road at the Benham Falls sign. After a mile or so, turn left into parking area at the Slough Meadow sign. 

Fees: $5 fee or NW Forest Pass in both locations