Paddling Season: Year Around. Can have ice floes in the winter.
Snaking through the west side of the heart of the town of Bend, Oregon, the Deschutes River is easily accessible from a variety of launch places -- Farewell Bend Park and Columbia street river access (Pole, Peddle, Paddle launch area).
This is a great stretch of river for a quick fitness paddle, or easy touring paddle. This is also a favorite section of the river to launch a floatie, so expect to see all kinds of craft. Overblown air mattresses, kayak classes, Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe practice teams and teenagers plopped in the middle of tire inner tubes share the water.
You''ll paddle past restaurant patios dotted with well dressed diners enjoying a meal near the shopping center and small islands of wetland filled with ducks and geese tending to their broods. If you're lucky you may even see a river otter.
Within a half mile paddle you'll pass under a few bridges -- high or low concrete and steel structures, and even an old wooden bridge built during Bend, Oregon's logging days. For most of the twentieth century timber mills dominated this stretch of river, stacks of fresh-cut logs floated in ponds carved from the rivers edge. Mill buildings now house trendy restaurants and shops, everything from chains like Gap and Victoria Secrets to more regional and local businesses like REI. West of the Healy Bridge (upriver) the river narrows and quickens. Fly fishers seek trout in view of runners and walkers enjoying the trail system looping between bridges.
Photos: Randall Barna, Group shot of L-R: Gerry Lopez, Isabella Barna, Mike McComb, Randall Barna, Dave Chun, Dennis Oliphant, Jeremy McKelry, Peter & Susie Miller.