mdi-tent Reserve

Deschutes River State Recreation Area

Near The Dalles, Oregon, United States

mdi-tent Reserve

The Deschutes River State Recreation Area is a tree-shaded, overnight oasis for campers. The Deschutes River converges with the Columbia here at this hub for hiking, mountain biking, camping, rafting and world-class steelhead and trout fishing. 

Spring comes early to the Deschutes, painting the landscape green for a few months and offering a break from rainy weather further west. The first wildflowers emerge from winter's grip in late February. Heat starts to build by June, with summer temperatures regularly reaching the 90s and 100s.

Park Trails

The park has three trails reserved for hikers. The Blackberry Trail runs for two miles along flat terrain at the river’s edge under the shade of the white alder trees. Look for the hanging basket-type nests built by the orioles. The trail is paralleled by the Riverview Trail, a two-mile route along a terrace above the river. Together, the two trails form a four-mile loop. The third trail—Ferry Springs Trail—forms a scenic loop toward the canyon rim with views of the surrounding hills and the river. Please note: Bicycles are not allowed on hiking trails. 

Bring your bicycles and enjoy a 32-mile round-trip ride following the Old Railbed Trail 16 miles up the canyon and back. Camping is allowed along the trail, but strict regulations are enforced. The trail is an easy, flat grade, but mountain bikes are recommended due to the dirt and gravel surface. Be prepared with a patch kit in case of a flat tire—it’s a long walk back. Also, make sure to take plenty of water; summer temperatures can rise to 110 degrees.

From March 1 through June 30, equestrians can ride on 11 miles of the Old Railbed Trail route, ending at Harris Canyon. Go to the Park Store to reserve your trip. The trail is open from sunrise to sunset; no overnight camping is allowed.

Wild and Scenic Deschutes River

The Deschutes River’s fame as a fly-fishing spot among trout anglers is matched by its reputation as a top steelhead river. Please only fish from the riverbank, and remember to observe the strict no-bait requirement and carefully follow all fishing regulations. 

Heritage Landing boat ramp, located across the river from the campground, is a popular jetboaters launch. Jetboating is allowed on the lower segment of the Deschutes River year-round except alternating weekends from June – September.

Three whitewater rapids — Washout, Rattlesnake and Moody — test rafters and boaters on the lower 25 miles of the Deschutes. A Lower Deschutes River Boater Pass is required for every individual who is on the Deschutes River at any time with a floating device (including float tubes). You can purchase a pass online at www.recreation.gov.

The lower 2 miles of the Deschutes River is a pass through zone for boaters. This provides fishing access for the many hike-up anglers that depart from Heritage Landing and use the river trails.

Year-round Camping

Some services may be reduced due to Covid-19; they are noted in bold below. Book reservations up to 6 months in advance at oregonstateparks.reserveamerica.com

Note: Campfires are typically prohibited during the summer months.  

A Loop (open year-round; camping is first-come, first-served in the winter)

  • 34 electrical sites with water for RV or tent camping (water shut off in the winter)
  • Flush toilets (CLOSED for winter)
  • Hot showers (CLOSED for winter)
  • Paved parking pads 

B Loop (closed in winter)

  • 14 primitive RV/tent sites
  • Vault toilets
  • Potable water nearby

G Loop (closed in winter)

  • 4 reservable primitive RV/tent camping areas
  • Group areas accommodate up to five RVs or tents for up to 25 people
  • Vault toilets
  • Potable water nearby

T Loop (closed in winter)

  • 11 primitive sites for tents & small RVs (maximum combined length of 24 feet)
  • Vault toilets
  • Potable water nearby
Effective Oct 23, 2020
Water has been shut off for the winter. Shower and flush restrooms are closed and water is not available at campsites. Vault toilets remain open year-round. 
mdi-white-balance-sunny Open for day use Year Round
COVID-19 may affect dates
mdi-tent Open for camping Year Round
COVID-19 may affect dates
mdi-cellphone Call for reservations: 800-452-5687
Call for info: 800-551-6949
Call park: 541-739-2322
Current Conditions Directions Feedback

Amenities & Features

Questions

mdi-help-circle-outline General

Do I need a Boater Pass to access the Deschutes or Columbia River?

Yes, a boater pass is required for anyone using a watercraft/floating device to access the Deschutes River or the Columbia River. All passes are per person.

Currently, 3 boater passes exist:

1. Deschutes River Boater Pass: valid above Moody Rapid (from the Pelton Dam down to the I-84 bridge at Heritage Landing). Available for purchase online at: www.recreation.gov. If accessing the Deschutes River below Moody Rapid only, just a Moody Island Boater Pass is required.

2. Moody Island Boater Pass: valid downstream from Moody Rapid (between the campground & Heritage Landing) and available for purchase at the self-pay kiosks ($2/per person/per day).

3. Heritage to Columbia Boater Pass: valid only from the Heritage Landing boat ramp out to the Columbia River and available for purchase at the self-pay kiosk at Heritage Landing boat ramp. ($1/per person/per day)  Also, a $15 annual pass can be purchased at the park office.

Is the park noisy?

Situated between two major rail lines, the sound of passing trains and their horns is common at Deschutes. For light sleepers, we recommend bringing a set of ear plugs.

mdi-help-circle-outline About Camping

If I am coming into the campground with a motorcycle group, (and no cars) how many motorcycles are allowed per site?

2 motorcycles are included with with the cost of your site. A maximum of 4 motorcycles are allowed in each site. There is an extra vehicle charge for any motorcycles over 2 in your site.

What do I need to know about back-country camping in the Lower Deschutes River Corridor?

Visit: https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/LD%20Rules_ver2.pdf for a complete list of rules.

 

 

When does the burn ban start? And what is allowed after that?

The county burn ban will begin on May 24th.

Charcoal briquettes and gas fire rings will be allowed, but only in designated fire rings.

No back-country fires will be allowed after May 24th.

mdi-help-circle-outline What's Allowed

Can I just show up and ride my horse on the trail?

No. The horse trail use is by reservation only from March 1 until June 30. Horse Permits are available through the Oregon State Parks online store: https://store.oregonstateparks.org/ under "Tours/Events" and there is a reservation fee of $8 per horse. The trail is 22 miles round trip and open for use during daylight hours only. Overnight camping with horses is not permitted along the trail or at Deschutes State Park.

Is it okay to play loud music?

Due to the fact that people have different taste in music, we allow music to be so loud as to be heard in your campsite, and not your neighbor's site.

Between 10pm and 7am (Quiet Hours) no music is allowed.

mdi-help-circle-outline Day use/Special Events

Do I need a permit for a wedding, picnic, baptism, family reunion, etc.?

Yes- If you have over 50 people, want to use a public address system, selling of goods or services, event requiring structures, will limit public access, commercial filming, and anything that requires park staff to be present.The above list does not cover all the activities that would require a permit. The permit is called a special use permit and should be completed 30 days before arrival.

For more questions, review our statewide FAQ

History

Acquired between 1963 and 1983 by purchase from various owners, transfer by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, and gifts of land from the Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation. The original tract for the area was 30 acres purchased in 1963 from the Columbia-Deschutes Power Company. This tract, with some of the later acquisitions, forms the developed portion of a riverside recreation complex. Adjoining the State Recreation Area is the Deschutes River Scenic Waterway. The lower Deschutes River from Pelton Dam to the Columbia River, some 104 river miles, was designated an Oregon Scenic Waterway in 1970. The purpose is to protect and enhance scenic, recreational, fish and wildlife values along the river while allowing public use of the river for boating, fishing and riverside camping. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department manages the waterway in cooperation with Sherman and Wasco counties, U. S. Bureau of Land Management, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department, State Marine Board and Oregon State Police.

Brochures and Maps

mdi-file-pdf-box Deschutes River brochure and map

Photos & Video

Events

General

Deschutes River State Recreation Area - Horse Trail Reservation

You are making a reservation to ride your horse on the Old Railbed Trail at Deschutes River State Recreation Area. There is a reservation fee of $8 per horse.

The…

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Some parks are open for day-use and camping, with reduced services. Check the Park Status Map and FAQ for details.