Deschutes River Recreation Area (Oregon State Park)
Open: Open all year
Number of Sites: 34
Off Hwy 206, 17 miles E of The Dalles. Eastbound on I-84, take Exit 97. Westbound, use Exit 104 at Biggs Junction. Follow the signs on Hwy 206 to reach the park.
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.
A mountain bike trail begins at the park entrance and follows the Deschutes River for 17 miles. Trailhead parking is located right at the entrance. The trail, itself, is an old railroad bed; so it is very wide. The surface is dirt with some compacted gravel areas, and is not suited to street bicycles. Horses also travel on it from March 1 to June 30.
Spring comes early in the Deschutes canyon, painting the walls of the canyon green for a few months each year, before heat begins to build in June, turning the vegetation a golden shade of brown. The canyon is sheltered and warmer than you might think; the first wildflowers break from winter's grip in late February. What a great escape from the rainy weather!
The Atiyeh Deschutes River Trail at river level is a favorite jaunt for hikers on hot summer days. You just can't beat the cool river and the shade of white alder trees (and while you're resting, look for the hanging basket-type nests built by the orioles).
The Deschutes, which is both a national and state scenic waterway, drops about a quarter of a mile in its final 100 miles as it twists through canyons 700 to 2,200 feet deep - great for days of fun whitewater rafting, kayaking, and inner-tubing.
Heritage Landing is a popular jetboaters launch. It provides access to the Deschutes and Columbia Rivers. This is where river guides meet their clients, families gather to head out onto the Columbia River for salmon fishing or water skiing, and everyone collects to share the excitement of their big catch. Jetboating is allowed on the lower segment of the Deschutes River all year 'round except alternating weekends from June - September; boaters passes are required.
The lower two miles of the Deschutes River is a PASS THROUGH zone for boaters. This provides fishing access for the many hike-up anglers that depart from Heritage Landing and use the river trails.
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Camping Oregon, 2nd (Regional Camping Series)