Fall Foliage Deschutes River Tour

Fall Foliage Deschutes River Tour

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Explore the Upper Deschutes River on our special Fall Foliage Deschutes River Tour! Enjoy this pristine and tranquil section of the river during the peaceful autumn season. Observe the changing colors, listen for bird songs and look for signs of beaver.

Similar to our half-day tour on the Upper Deschutes River we’ll paddle upstream towards Benham falls exploring the wetland marshes, aspen groves, and pine forests. On this serene section of river paddlers will see interesting lava flow formations that surged down from Paulina Peak when this volcano erupted creating the Newberry Crater National Monument. The trip ends with a relaxing paddle back to the put-in.

Note: We disable online booking 24 hours before departure to allow time for scheduling, but there is almost always more room. Please call the shop to make your reservation: 541-317-9407.  Periodically we need to reschedule due to low enrollment.

Where: Slough Camp, Bend Oregon, meet at 805 SW Industrial Way, Suite 6, Bend OR 97702

What: Kayakers, canoers or paddleboarders will see interesting lava flow formations that surged from Paulina Peak as early as 80,000 years ago during the same volcanic period that created Newberry Crater National Monument. This section of river also hosts one of the few aspen groves found within the Deschutes National Forest.

Paddling upstream to Benham falls while exploring tranquil lagoons and side channels of the Upper Deschutes, you’ll want to keep a careful eye open for wildlife. The trip ends with an easy float back to the boat launch. Many participants choose to paddle a kayak but canoes and paddleboards are also available.

Cost: $65

Dates: Fall, Tuesday and Friday, 10-2 pm

Tumalo Creek provides:

  • kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards
  • paddles
  • PFDs
  • transportation
  • guides
  • basic instruction

Participant provides:

  • appropriate river attire
  • personal snacks
  • water
  • sun protection

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

The Deschutes River

The Deschutes River is historically one of the most stable terrestrial water systems in the nation. Because of its steady flow, the Deschutes has served as a thoroughfare and consistent resource source for flora, fauna and humans alike. 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 relocated 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.