Where to paddle when winter won’t melt.
With the date of the Cascade Lakes highway opening still unannounced, many folks have been calling the shop wondering where else they can go to get their paddling fix.
The most obvious and easy paddle is right out our back door through the Old Mill and up to Healy Bridge. The route is about a three mile round trip and a perfect way to spend an early summer evening. Likewise, folks can also float the short stretch of river from the Colorado Bridge down to Mirror Pond by putting in at McKay Park.
Next stop, Slough Camp. This is where we take visitors on our half-day tours. To access the put-in, drive west on the Cascade Lakes highway for about seven miles and turn left on Highway 41. The turn for Slough Camp will be your fourth left approximately a few miles in. Paddle up stream towards Benham Falls and make sure to explore the winding river trails on river right.
If you are feeling a little more ambitious, take the trip out to Lake Billy Chinook, which is a good hour and 15 minute drive from Bend. Once there you can explore the lake around the Cove Palisades State Park or paddle up the arms of the Crooked and Deschutes River that flow into the lake.
The third recommended journey is the Upper Deschutes below Wickiup Reservoir. This paddle is a good full-day adventure, and also one of the tours we offer through Tumalo Creek. Put in at Tenino Boat Launch and take a leisurely paddle nine miles down to Wyeth Campground. You’ll definitely have a few wildlife sightings while you are on the water including elk, cougar, black bear, bald eagles and great blue herons.