A Sunriver summertime tradition is exploring the Deschutes River on an innertube, raft, canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard. The Deschutes River in the Sunriver area runs wide and gentle through gorgeous mountain scenery, with good wildlife viewing opportunities. This part of the river is rated Class 1 moving water with riffles, minor waves and few or no obstructions.
While the river looks inviting, it’s important not to be deceived. A few important things to know about the Deschutes River:
- The current is deceptively swift.
- It is spring fed and water temperatures rarely exceed 60 degrees. A quick dunk in the river feels good for a few moments on the hottest days, but hypothermia is a real concern for anyone unable to get out of the water.
- State law requires life vests for all watercraft occupants, whether you are in a float tube, kayak, canoe or boat.
- Wear appropriate clothing, bring food and water and follow safe boating practices to enjoy an afternoon on the river.
Popular floats between publicly accessible launch and takeout points in the Sunriver area include:
- Big River (River Mile 199.2) to Harper Bridge (RM 191.7). Distance 7.5 miles. Float time: 3-5 hours depending on wind direction and paddle effort. Note: access at Harper Bridge is on the south side of the bridge next to the golf course.
- Harper Bridge (RM 191.7) to Besson Day Use Area (RM 189.9). Distance: 1.8 miles. Float time: 45 minutes. Note: Access at Harper Bridge is on the south side of the bridge next to the golf course.
- Harper Bridge (RM 191.7) to Sunriver Resort’s Canoe Takeout (RM 183.1).Distance: 8.6 miles. Float time:4-6 hours depending on wind direction and paddle effort. Note: Access at Harper Bridge is on the south side of the bridge next to the golf course.
- Besson Day Use Area (RM 189.9) to Sunriver Resort’s Canoe Takeout (RM 188.2). Distance: 6.8 miles. Float time: 2-4 hours depending on wind direction and paddle effort.
- Besson Day Use Area (RM 189.9) to Benham Falls Day Use Area at River Mile 182.0. Distance: 7.9 miles. Float time: 3-4 hours depending on wind direction and paddle effort.
The Sunriver Resort operates a commercial marina at River Mile 188.2 off River Road. The public and guests of the Resort must rent boats from the marina to utilize this facility. Boat rental fees include a shuttle ride back from the Canoe Takeout at River Mile 182.0.
The Sunriver Owners Association operates a private launch and parking area at River Mile 188.2. Access to this facility is restricted to Sunriver homeowners and their guests. Only those with updated Member Preference and Recreation Plus access cards issued by the homeowner’s association will be able to utilize this facility. Information: 541-585-3147, www.sunriverstyle.com/fun-on-the-river.html
Several shops in The Village at Sunriver and the Sunriver Business Park rent watercraft, life vests and other necessary items. For a complete list of public boat launches on the upper Deschutes River between Sunriver and Wickiup Dam visit: www.deschutespaddletrail.com
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