Other Whitewater Trips on the Deschutes River

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Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe
Located in:
Bend, OR

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site home  :: self guided home  :: U.S. river guide  :: Rivers in Oregon  :: Deschutes River Oregon  :: Benham Falls Whitewater Kayaking Trip

Benham Falls Whitewater Kayaking Trip on the Deschutes River

Eli in Benham Falls

View larger map of Benham Falls & get directions
Click 'Earth' to fly through the canyon!
Benham Falls Info
Use this information at your own risk. See our legal notices.
Put In:  Benham Falls Campground
Take Out:  Slough Campground
Difficulty:  Class V +
Gradient:  62 ft/mi (152 ft/mi in Benham Falls)
Run Length:  1.8 mile
Current Streamflow:  897 cfs @ 03/03/2015 11:30 AM - BENO - Deschutes River at Benham Falls, OR, reading taken from USBR
Flow Information (phone):  541-388-6669
Good Level:  400 to 2200 cfs
Streamflow Comments: 

Flow is steady all year. From mid-September to mid-April, the flow is 400-1000 cfs. From mid-April to mid-September, the flow is 1000-2200 cfs.

Season Comments:  January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
Primary Season: 

During the winter access to put-in and take-out may be blocked by snow. Fall and spring offer lower water for a safer descent down the falls. Summer offers high water and a very powerful V+ rapid.

Permit:  None presently required. Parking pass or Northwest Forest pass required for parking at put-in and take-out.
Character/Similar To:  Steep and narrow with lots of sharp lava rock. You can scout most of the drop from a trail on river left during the shuttle.
Hazards:  This is a dangerous Class V+ run with potentially serious consequences for swimmers. There is also multiple large hydraulics that have potential to hold boats and paddlers.At the bottom of the falls on river right there is a log that extends about 4 feet across the river.
Land Ownership:  Mixed public and private
Wilderness:  No
Camping on River:  Benham Falls Campground
Location:  In the Pacific Region (OR), 131 miles Southeast of Salem
Shuttle Logistics: 

Take out: From Bend, drive southwest out of Bend on Century Drive (also called the Cascade Lakes Highway) toward Mount Bachelor. Turn left onto National Forest Road 41 at the sign that says Deschutes River Recreation area. Follow NF 41 and take a left at the sign that says Benham Falls and Slough Camp Picnic area. Then follow the signs to Slough Camp Picnic Area.

Put in: From take out turn left out of the Slough Camp parking area and follow the signs to Benham Falls.

Benham Falls on the Deschutes River

The Benham falls section is only about a half mile, but it can easily become the longest half mile of a paddlers career. This short section of river can be easily scouted, and should be scouted, from the trail on river left. Once thoroughly scouted the action starts immediately, the only warm up for this run is the flat water above the first ledge. There is a series of four ledge drops, each creating its own sticky hole.

After these four ledge drops you arrive to the top of Benham. At winter time flows Benham can be scouted at river level by catching a large eddy on river left. During the summer when the river is high once you enter the canyon there is no getting out and you are commited to running the entire drop. The actual Benham falls consists of four consecutive ledge drops with no pools inbetween. Depending on the level, Benham can be run right or left, scouting this rapid is necessary. Below Benham there is a fun mile of class III+ that should only be run by experienced boaters because of the large abbundance of wood. The take out is on river left shortly after the flat water begins.

For a full day of paddling Benham falls can be linked with Dillon falls and Lava Island falls, completing the Triple Crown of Central Oregon is a must for any class V boater visiting the area. 

Last Edited by josho on 4/25/2011

Towns near Benham Falls Kayaking

Bend Oregon
La Pine Oregon
Redmond Oregon
Sisters Oregon
Sunriver Oregon

Other Resources

Conservation Organizations
  • Bend Paddle Trail Alliance
  • Rogue Riverkeeper
  • Water Watch
  • Newspapers
  • Bend Bulletin
  • Pacific Coast Kayak Clubs
  • Lower Columbia Canoe Club
  • Oregon Kayak and Canoe Club
  • Oregon Whitewater Association
  • POCO - Paddlers Of Central Oregon
  • Willamette Kayak and Canoe Club
  • Travel Guides
  • Oregon Vacation & Travel Planner