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Get your feet wet!

Sue Wessel

The beautiful McKenzie River is widely regarded as the finest river-running experience in the region. With a steady plunge down the mountains, the river creates continual excitement for rafters.

Between Paradise Campground and Blue River, the McKenzie offers a trip that is safe enough for first-timers and families yet challenging enough to please experienced rafters.

This designated Wild & Scenic River is exquisitely beautiful, rolling between stands of tall Douglas fir, western red cedar, western and mountain hemlock and white alder that line the banks.

The Deschutes River has long been a popular destination for rafters.

The short Upper Deschutes is suitable for a family outing with children as young as seven, according to the guidebook "Whitewater Rafting in North America."
The relatively brief run features the Class IV thrills of Big Eddy, which rolls and swirls in a lava canyon formed by the region's volcanic activity.

The rest of the trip offers more mellow rapids in a scenic environment.

The Lower Deschutes offers a series of exciting rapids and multi-day rafters have the chance to explore the canyons.

Numerous outfits offer outfitting and guide services. Not only do they supply the equipment, their experience and expertise make running the rivers safer and more enjoyable.

Most guides know a lot about the flora, fauna and geology of the river environment and they can answer your questions as you float along preparing for the next bout of white water.

The Metolius River near Sisters is beautiful – but navigating it is extremely challenging and is best left to highly experienced boatmen.

Class I: Gentle, moving water. Very small waves requiring little or no maneuvering. A nice float down the river.

Class II: Regular waaves, easy to see, reaching three to four feet in height. May require simple maneuvering to avoid rocks and other obstacles.

Class III: Large, continuous series or sets of waves, some in excess of six feet. You can run holes or hydraulics or maneuver around them. There may be some small drops, ledges or waterfalls. Plenty of thrills for most folks.

Class IV: Difficult, wild water; for experienced rafters.

Class V: Very challenging water; for the most experienced river runners only.

Class VI: Virtually non-navigable. Scout unknown rapids or use the services of an experienced guide.


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