Difficulty III-IV+
Length 3 Miles
Gauge Deschutes At Benham Falls
Flow Range 1600 - 2300 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 2 months ago 625 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 07/17/2019 3:30 pm

River Description

This run known locally as Meadowcamp is an excellent class IV to IV+ run, within the Bend city limits, that flows all summer. When everything else is dry, you'll find prime levels, and locals running laps on this in-town run. Putting in at the Deschutes National Forest Meadow Day Use Area on river left, the river starts with a 2 mile of warm-up before you pass River Rim Park.
Those who don't mind avoiding the warm-up and want to put in right at the start of the class IV whitewater, put in at River Rim Park on river right. This popular alternative known as "Short Camp" includes 2.5 miles of the best whitewater and has an easy shuttle that sets you up for multiple laps.
The run has numerous hazards, mostly due to the abrasive lava rock that forms the river bed. This run should only be attempted by experienced class IV paddlers, and it is very helpful to follow someone down your first time. The Deschutes is managed for irrigation, so Meadowcamp has reliable flows of 1700- 2200 cfs from early May through early September. Above 2000 cfs is when it really gets good. At these flows, it is quite pushy and the sequence that includes Playtime, Dammit, and Pipe is very continuous. Many paddlers coming from other areas of Oregon find this section to be significantly faster and pushier than what they are used to.
If you run the standard lines, Meadowcamp really isn't very difficult for experienced class IV boaters.  However, it offers tons of challenging eddies to make the run more difficult and interesting for better paddlers, especially in a playboat. If Meadowcamp isn't exciting enough for you, you can put in a few miles upstream and run Lava, an alternative known as "Lava Camp," that is sure to get the adrenaline going for even the best boaters.
The Bend Whitewater group on Facebook serves as the main scheduling tool. If you are a local looking to step up to this run, or are an out-of town-boater passing through Bend, this group is an easy way to find people to paddle with. Multiple people can be found running Meadowcamp every day in the summer.
Meadowcamp is also the venue for an annual downriver race.  
Nate Pfeifer's has an excellent write up of the run on his Wheels and Water Blog.  http://wheelsandwater.blogspot.com/2014/07/meadow-camp-deschutes-river-or-62814.html
Meadowcamp Video:  https://vimeo.com/69122682
Put in:
Meadow Day Use Area put-in: The traditional put in was the Meadow Day Use Area picnic area off of Century Drive. To reach this access, follow Century Drive (Highway 372) out of town and at mile marker 5.9, just before the Widgi Golf Club, take the turn down to the Meadow Day Use Area on the Deschutes National Forest. It's a 1.2 mile drive down to the river from the highway.
River Rim Park put-in: These days this is the more popular put-in option and if someone says they are doing "Short Camp" this is what they mean. This access cuts out 2 miles of class II and starts you off right above the first significant rapid. Using the River Rim put in also makes multiple laps incredibly convenient. To reach this access you shuttle up from the take-out on Brookswood Blvd. and turn right onto River Rim Dr. Follow this road through the neighborhood to a small park that has an access trail from the canyon rim down to the water's edge.
The take-out, and standard meeting location for Meadowcamp runs, is at a small isolated parcel that is part of Farewell Bend Park in a residential neighborhood at the corner of Ashwood Dr. and Cedarwood Rd. It is just upstream from the Bill Healy Bridge where SW Reed Market Rd. crosses the Deschutes River.

Rapid Descriptions

River Rim Park

Class - N/A Mile - -171.4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

River Rim Park is the preferred access for quick runs that take in all the significant whitewater.


Class - IV Mile - -171.2

PLAYTIME is a long rapid with excellent eddy hopping to get you ready for the action downstream. The rapid consists of 3 distinct drops. As you approach a horizon line, go for an S-turn move on the far left around the two center holes, or go down the right. If you take the right line, be aware of a pretty nasty sieve over there. The water does not push into it, but paddlers have ended up there (in one recent case the paddler was upright, but it still took a few minutes for him to get himself out). The second drop can be run center or left, and there are several fun eddies and moves to try. The final ledge in playtime is a riverwide hole. Either run the easy tongue on the right, or boof next to the rock on the left. Either way, make sure to catch an eddy on the left, because Dammit is just downstream.


Class - IV+ Mile - -170.95

DAMMIT is the biggest rapid on the run and lies about 50 yards below the last hole in Playtime. A diversion dam on the right diverts water into a canal. The canal intake is a major hazard that has caused several close calls in the past.  Scout left or portage right.  Dammit starts with a river wide four-foot pourover, followed by a fast slide. Boof either edge of the middle chute. After the slide, it's best to catch the large eddy on the left to set up for the bottom half of the rapid, the Pipe.

The Pipe

Class - IV+ Mile - -170.9

In the bottom half of Dammit, a pipe shoots water back into the river on river right. The pipe creates a large diagonal wave that pushes toward a catcher's mitt on the left, referred to by local boaters as "the room of doom". The room of doom is really just the bottom of an eddy. It's not fun to be in there upside down, but swims have happened without any major issues. The line on the pipe is to drive right across the diagonal where the water from the pipe hits the river. It can be a tricky move the first couple times. If you do end up in the room, just go with it and paddle back to the top of the eddy. The ferry out is intimidating, but if you just take a couple good strokes and sit on your downstream edge, it is surprisingly smooth.


Class - IV Mile - -170.6

After Dammit, is about half a mile of read and run class III.  When the river takes a dramatic turn to the right, you have arrived at AMAZING.  Start by sliding over the left edge of a log that spans the entire right channel. Run the lead in down the middle, and then move right as the river speeds up and turns the corner to the right. Multiple lines are available through the main ledge. It is a powerful but not really retentive hole.  Anywhere but left is fine.


Class - III+ Mile - -170.2

After Amazing, the river slows up, with a couple easy Class III- rapids before you get to MARIOLAND. This rapid is created by a massive log jam.  At flows over 1800, Marioland is pretty straightforward. At lower flows, it's really manky.  The line stays the same at all flows. Enter center, and find a route down the far right. A far left line is also an option that may be runnable depending on the flow and the current wood situation. There isn't really a way to check, so stick to the right line unless you know for sure the left line is clear. When the channels come back together, a short section of class III+ read-and-run follows with lots of eddies and a few good boof spots. A half mile of class II brings you to the final rapid of the Meadowcamp run.

100 Percent

Class - IV Mile - -169.7

ONE HUNDRED PERCENT is a great rapid that can be recognized by a cliff on the right and an obvious horizon line. Drive left to right over the diagonal wave at the entry and hold on as you careen down through a slalom of boulders and holes. A large hole on the right at the bottom of the rapid can be avoided on the left, or boofed on the far right. This hole isn't sticky until the level gets above 2,000cfs, but there is a barely submerged rock about 10 feet downstream of it, and if you flip here, the saying goes, you will hit your head 100% of the time.

After the hole, somewhat manky class II/III run out follows making swims on this rapid very unpleasant.
A short flatwater float brings you to the takeout on the right.


Gage Descriptions

The Deschutes is managed based on irrigation  demand. Canals divert water at Lava Island, upstream, and at Dammit. Paddlers use the Benham gage, but the actual flow is significantly less than that. From late April through the middle of September, flows are almost always between 1700 and 2200 cfs on the Benham guage. Most paddlers consider the easiest level for Meadowcamp to be 1800-1900 cfs. At lower levels, more rocks are exposed, making the run more technical and tougher for first timers. At levels above 2000, the upper half of the run, from Playtime through Amazing, becomes pretty continous and quite pushy. Meadowcamp above 2000 on a hot summer day is a beautiful thing.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports




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Oregon Waterway Access Bill Set to Become Law

Priscilla Macy

This week, Oregon House Bill 2835 re-passed the Oregon House on a 52-7 vote. Having earlier cleared the Senate, the bill now awaits a signature from the Governor to be signed into law. For decades, opportunities to protect and improve the ability of the public to access and legally use waterways for recreation have seen minimal progress, while efforts to severely limit access have been a consistent threat. Oregon House Bill 2835 is a pivotal piece of legislation in Oregon, and the first proactive waterway access bill in recent history to have made it through the state legislature.


Matt Deacon


Thomas O'Keefe


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