Other Whitewater Trips on the Deschutes River

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Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe
Located in:
Bend, OR

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Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe has the largest selection of whitewater kayaks, sea kayaks, recreational kayaks, paddleboards and can (more...)
site home  :: self guided home  :: U.S. river guide  :: Rivers in Oregon  :: Deschutes River Oregon  :: Big Eddy Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing Trip

Big Eddy Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing Trip on the Deschutes River

View larger map of Big Eddy & get directions
Click 'Earth' to fly through the canyon!
Big Eddy Info
Use this information at your own risk. See our legal notices.
Put In:  Aspen Campground
Take Out:  Lava Island Campground
Difficulty:  Class III
Gradient:  21 ft/mi
Run Length:  1.9 miles
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. Deschutes River at Benham.
Good Level:  400 - 2,000 cfs
Streamflow Comments: 

The flow is very steady. It's either 400-500 cfs mid-September to mid-April or 1700-2000 cfs mid-April to mid-September.

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

Dam controlled. During the winter access to put-in and take-out may be blocked by snow. Fall and Spring offer the best park and play spot in Central Oregon. Summer offers a fun but very pushy class III rapid.

Permit:  No permit required.Parking pass or Northwest Forest pass required for parking at put-in and take-out.
Character/Similar To:  Forested high desert river, mostly drop-pool with in a volcanic rock canyon.
Hazards:  Sharp volcanic rock and during summer watch out for rafts.
Water Craft:  kayak,wwcan,raft
Land Ownership:  Mixed public and private.
Wilderness:  No
Location:  In the Pacific Region (OR), 131 miles Southeast of Salem, OR
Area Name:  Central Oregon, near Bend.
Shuttle Logistics: 

Put in: From Bend travel west on Hwy 46 (Cascade Lakes Highway). Turn left on National Forest Road 41. Turn left at the sign for Aspen Recreation Area, and follow the signs to the boat launch. Another put in for this run is at Big Eddy Recreation Area.

Take out: From National Forest Road 41 turn at the sign for Lava Island Falls and follow the road until you reach the boat launch.

Big Eddy on the Deschutes River

The Big Eddy run starts with 1 mile of flatwater with a few class II rapids mixed in. The real action starts when the river takes a sharp turn to the right and you arrive at the top of Big Eddy Rapid. On river left there is a large eddy, this is a great place to scout the rapid, or the hole run on the Deschutes River Trail. This rapid is a very powerful class III and should be scouted if it is your first time down.

The first drop of the rapid is called Maytag. In a raft you can run down just to the left of the hole, in a kayak it is best to avoid the hole by catching the eddy on river right. After maytag there is about 100 yards of class II boogie water that leads into the next drop called The Notch. This drop consists of two lateral waves crashing together with a steep lead in. When leading into this drop it is usually best to enter on river right to avoid some small holes in the center. Then cut back left and punch the two lateral waves down the center. This drop has great potential for flipping kayakers.

Sous Hole is the final drop of the rapid. At high water Sous hole turns into a large, fast green wave with great eddy service. At medium flows (1200-1400 cfs) Sous hole offers some of the best park and play in central oregon. Sous hole can be run down river right into the meat of the hole, or it is easily avoided on river left at all levels.

For the ambitious boater it easy to run laps on Big Eddy because it is only a 300 yard hike back to the top of the rapid. At the end of the main rapid there is only two small class II rapids and a short flatwater float to the take out at Lava Island Falls. Be sure to take out at the boat ramp because just below is class V Lava Island Falls which should be run only by class V boaters.

Last Edited by josho on 4/25/2011

Towns near Big Eddy 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