How to Float the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon
Floating The River Made Easy
Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe, located at 805 SW Industrial Way in the Old Mill District, makes it easy for you to float the river any time of year.
Central Oregon’s leading paddle shop rents stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and canoes all year. Float tubes are available depending on the weather in the offseason.
Advance reservations through Tumalo Creek’s website are encouraged and can be made anytime. Walk-ins are also welcome. Same-day reservations are first come, first serve. For questions call, 541-317-9407.
The popular Park & Float station near The Pavilion will re-open in June 2024.
FLOAT LIKE A PRO:
- Know The River: Tumalo Creek provides a comprehensive safety talk that covers river safety, stewardship, and river orientation.
- There is a short whitewater section through the Bend Whitewater Park under the Colorado Ave. Bridge. This section features a series of 12 drops that are entirely optional. If you are uncomfortable with this section in any way there is an area you can get out and walk around the rapids.
- Be a good pet owner: Please no four-legged doggy friends on rented tubes.
- Save the partying until after the float: Drinking on the river is against the law.
- Protect Yourself: Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) are available on request at no extra charge.
- Protect your feet. Wear water shoes that can’t fall off. You will experience rocks, mud, moving water and other obstructions.
- Protect your skin from the sun. Sun shirts, hats, sunscreen and lip balm are a must and all are available for purchase at the Park and Float.
- Secure your gear. Not only is this to help you from losing that expensive cell phone and/or sunglasses, but also to keep our river clean.
- Understand the risks: While this is a mild stretch of the Deschutes River, it’s still a wild river that has potential hazards such as current, rocks, branches and more. There are no guides or staff along the river so be aware and stay safe.
When you’re on the water, be an active and engaged advocate for the river and follow the basic tenants of the Enjoy Protect Respect project, a local campaign created to increase community engagement to enhance the overall health and usability of the Deschutes.
- Enjoy the river safely by wearing a life jacket and securing all of your gear properly
- Protect the river by picking up your trash and belongings
- Respect the river by only entering and exiting in specified approved access points
River Floating Options
Several river recreation options are possible. Choose a two-hour float from Riverbend Park to Drake Park or a one-hour float from either Riverbend Park or McKay Park. Farewell Bend on the other side of the Deschutes provides a beach launch and McKay Park, just below the Bend Whitewater Park, makes for a great starting point for a quick float to Drake Park.
The Surf’s Up in Bend
The Bend Whitewater Park is a must-see attraction for river floaters or more experienced kayakers and river surfers. Whether participating or spectating from the footbridge, the Bend Whitewater Park is the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and built on the location of a former dam once used for mill operations. Find maps and details at BendWhiteWaterPark.com.