Kids Whitewater Kayaking Camp

Kids Whitewater Kayaking Camp


Who: Kids ages 10-15

When: July 2-5, July 30 – August 2 / 9am-4pm

Cost: $395, 4 day camp

Where: Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe 805 SW Industrial Way, Suite 6, Bend OR 97702, the Deschutes River and the Cascade Lakes.


This all-levels camp is designed to introduce kids to the exciting world of whitewater kayaking!

We’ll emphasize both safety and fun as we introduce campers to moving water. Paddlers will gain confidence and awareness as they get ready for a lifetime of paddling the rivers of the great Northwest.

Sessions start off slow in our warm outdoor pool. Our instructors will fit kayakers to their boats and introduce them to wet exits, where they will learn to become comfortable upside down in the water and safely exit their boats. After everyone is fitted and at ease in their kayaks, we’ll head up to Elk Lake and play in the crystal clear waters of one of Central Oregon’s most picturesque alpine lakes.

Next we’ll take to the river and practice our strokes and learn about currents in the gentle moving stretch of the Deschutes by the Old Mill. Then it’s time for a field trip! If the group feels ready, we’ll spend the last day of camp out on a river with some real whitewater while we get comfortable in Class II rapids.

This camp is a great foundation for future Tumalo Creek Whitewater Program offerings

Note: Camper’s skill level and comfort will be assessed on day one. Campers will be grouped based on this assessment to accommodate for all skill levels.

All Tumalo Creek lead instructors are certified by the American Canoe Association (ACA). We have a low student-to-instructor ratio to provide lots of individual attention and our goal is to give paddlers a sense of personal accomplishment in an exciting, safe and fun atmosphere.

Note: Please call the shop directly for reservations occurring 24 hours or less from class start date, 541.317.9407.  Minimum enrollment needs can periodically result in course rescheduling.

Equipment List

  • Lunch
  • Lots of healthy, high-energy snacks
  • Quick-drying clothes like board shorts and a rash guard
  • Change of clothes
  • Towel
  • Fleece

Notes on what to bring:

Kids should bring their own lunch and lots of healthy, high-energy snacks. Please dress your child in quick-drying clothes and sturdy river shoes or sandals. Surf-type clothing is ideal, ie. board shorts and a rash guard. They will be getting a little wet and exposed to the sun and wind throughout the day.

Please make sure your child brings a backpack with at least one change of clothes, a towel and insulating fleece. A bathing suit and synthetic t-shirt also works. Please check the weather frequently and come prepared.

Gear required for this trip is available for purchase at Tumalo Creek and other local retailers.

About the Deschutes River:

The Deschutes River is historically one of the most stable terrestrial water systems in the nation. Because of it’s steady flow, the Deschutes has served as a thoroughfare and consistent resource source for flora, fauna and humans a like. Chinook, Northern Piute, fur trappers, early pioneers and many other peoples first called the river flowing north at the base of the East Cascades Towornehiooks and then Rivière des Chutes, meaning ‘river of the falls’ in French.  

Flowing from Little Lava Lake in the Cascade Lakes above Crane Prairie Reservoir, The Deschutes winds its way north through several iconic stretches before outletting into The Columbia River, the topographic feature demarcating the border for much of Oregon and Washington.

Though the channel has been re-located by basaltic lava flows numerous times over the last 80,000 years, a diversity of riparian habitats from dry and arid to lush and green spatter the banks of The Deschutes. These ecosystems house a variety of species easily seen from paddlecrafts during tours. Oregon Spotted Frogs, Blue Herring, the Red Winged Blackbird, Trout, timber tigers (chip-monks), muscrats, beavers, river otters, deer and many other distinct types of bird and fish.

Tumalo Creek provides tours and self-guided rental opportunities for many of these scenic and historic sections. Wickiup Reservoir and river stretches 9 miles south can be paddled via The Upper Deschutes River Kayak Tour, and downstream, south of Benham and Dillon Falls, Slough Camp can be paddled via the Half-Day Deschutes River Kayak Tour. Farewell Bend Park and river stretches through The Old Mill District to the new Whitewater Park are paddled during Tumalo Creek’s Basics Skills (kayak or paddleboard course) or self-guided during a float tube trip. Further down river, Drake Park and Mirror Pond can also be visited via a float tube, kayak or paddleboard rental.

About the McKenzie River

The Mckenzie River, named for the Scottish Canadian fur trader Donald Mckenzie, is a 90 mile primary tributary of the Willamette River. Draining a section of the west Cascades east of Eugene, The Mckenzie River flows from Clear Lake which is fed in turn by Ikenick Creek, Fish Lake Creek and further upstream, Hackleman Creek.

Topher Robertson, Program Director’s notes on paddling the Mackenzie:

Put in: Forest Glen Boat Ramp

Take out: Silver Creek

Class: I-II+

Length: 6mi

Lunch Spot: Fin Rock

Named Rapids: Screamer AKA Mom’s Pies, Clover Point

The stretch run for Full Immersion Whitewater Kayaking Classes and Women’s Whitewater Weekend has many class I and II rapids though formal names aren’t often used.

The run begins at Forest Glen Boat Ramp just upriver from the confluence of Blue River. The day starts easy with only a few class I riffles before lunch at Fin Rock. This section provides a great warm up for beginning paddlers.

Our lunch spot at Fin Rock presents the first optional challenge, Johns Swimming Hole. There is a wonderful defined eddy on river right formed by Fin Rock. Below this eddy is a large pool making recoveries easy and swims manageable. Guests can test their skills by peeling in and out of the strong eddy here.

After lunch the frequency and difficulty of rapids increase. Two fun boulder gardens allow participants to identify routs, maneuver obstacles, and eddy hop from rock to rock. Shortly after the boulder gardens participants will encounter the most difficult rapid of the section, Screamer AKA Mom’s Pies (named after the old pie shop across the street). Screamer AKA Mom’s Pies is a class II-II+ wave train large enough that paddlers disappear from site while in the troughs. Clover point, a great surf spot and recovery area, is located immediately down river. We usually spend some time here playing around and trying to surf.

The remainder of the trip is fairly mild with only a few additional class I-II wave trains. Eagle rock may be a point of interest as its named after the eagles and raptors that nest there. The course will conclude at Silver Creek, a nice developed boat ramp with restrooms (pit toilet).

Related Courses

Kids After School Paddling Camp

Kids Whitewater Kayaking Camp (June-August)