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Difficulty I-II
Length 4 Miles
Gauge Deschutes At Benham Falls
Flow Range 500 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 6 hours ago 1350 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 05/22/2018 3:14 pm

River Description


The City of Bend has a few paddling opportunities with a whitewater park and slalom courses. The river is still interrupted by a series of dams but this may change in the future.

Bend Whitewater Park: The Bend Whitewater Park is located in the Old Mill District immediately downstream of the Colorado Avenue Bridge and accessed from McKay Park on river left. The park was developed in 2015 with the removal of the Colorado Avenue Dam that was a safety hazard for floaters. The park consists of three channels: a river right habitat channel, a center whitewater experts channel with constructed play features, and a river left passageway channel for those looking for the more mellow float. Flow in the channels is controlled by a series of gates and 23 bladders. Whitewater kayakers, surfers, bodyboarders, paddleboarders, and tubers can all be found enjoying the park. For more information check out the Bend Whitewater Park web page.

First Street Rapids Slalom Site: First Street Rapids is a rapid located just upstream of the First Street Bridge and has served as a training site for slalom paddlers within the city limits.

Riverhouse Rendevous Slalom Course: The annual Riverhouse Rendevous occurs in late March each year and attracts racers from across the Pacific Northwest. The course is set up behind the Riverhouse Hotel, at 3065 N Hwy 97, Bend, OR 97701. As the season’s opener for the Northwest Cup Slalom Paddle Series and a Junior Olympic qualifier, the Rendezvous is also an opportunity for local whitewater enthusiasts to celebrate navigable flow levels before canal diversions are made in April.

Rapid Descriptions

Bend Whitewater Park

Class - II+ Mile - -167.6

Developed in 2015 as a whitewater park with several features.

Bend Hydro Dam

Class - N/A Mile - -166.2

The dam forming "Mirror Pond" was originally constructed in 1910 by Bend Water, Light & Power Company before acquisition by Pacific Power in 1926 that operates the dam for hydroelectricity today. The dam represents a hazard and barrier to navigation.

Steidl Dam

Class - N/A Mile - -165.8

The Steidl Dam or Tumalo Irrigation District Diversion adjacent to Pioneer Park is used for a canal intake. It represents a hazard and barrier to navigation.

First Street Rapids

Class - II Mile - -165.7

A slalom training site used the whitewater paddling community.

North Canal Diversion Dam

Class - N/A Mile - -164.8

Constructed in 1912, the North Canal Diversion Dam is a 33-foot-high dam that diverts irrigation water. When water diversion begins in April it marks the end of boating opportunities on the downstream Riverhouse reach. The dam represents a hazard and barrier to navigation.

Riverhouse Rendevous Slalom Site

Class - II+ Mile - -164.6

Site of the annual Riverhouse Rendevous Slalom Race held in March.

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Thomas O'Keefe