Deschutes - 10. Sawyer Park to Tumalo State Park

Deschutes, Oregon, US


10. Sawyer Park to Tumalo State Park (Riverhouse Run)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 5.2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 57 fpm


Photo taken 03/02/13 @ 900 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Deschutes Below Bend
dream-290 500 - 1500 cfs III-IV 24h10m 500 cfs (running)
Best above 800

River Description

SEASON: This reach is dewatered during the summer irrigation season and it gets pretty cold in the winter here. Riverhouse typically flows from late October to mid April.

PUT IN:  Sawyer Park.  OB Riley Rd.  If flows are between 600 and 800, you can put in about a mile up stream and run the ~30 ft spillway.  Its very fun.  Just don't flip over.

TAKEOUT:  Just downstream of Tumalo State Park.  There is a dirt parking lot on thr river side of the road.


Riverhouse is a class IV run, within the Bend city limits, that flows reliably throughout the winter.  Because of the cold water, jagged rocks, and other hazards, Riverhouse is not a great step up run for aspiring Class IV boaters.  For solid class IV paddlers, it is a worthwhile and convenient run with some very fun rapids.

I would say minimum enjoyable flow is 600, although people run it down to about 450 in low water years.  Best first time level is 600- 900; Most of the rocks are covered up, but it's not too pushy.  When Riverhouse is above 1000cfs, it is a fantastic Class IV- IV+ run with lots of great boofs.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-05-23 06:18:05


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.5Rockafella 1III+Photo
0.8Rockafella 2III+Photo
1.0The Wright StuffIVPhoto
1.2Flumes of DoomIVPhoto
2.0T- RexIVPhoto

Rapid Descriptions

Rockafella 1 (Class III+, Mile 0.5)

Rockafella 1

Rockafella 1
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 03/26/17 @ 0 cfs

Starting from Sawyer Park, there is roughly 1/2 a mile of class II, before you cross under Archie Briggs Rd. This is the start of the first real rapid, referred to by some as Rockafella 1. You can either run straight down the middle, or catch a series of dynamic eddys on both sides of the river. This is one of my favorite class III rapids because it has several fun ways to increase the difficulty.

Rockafella 2 (Class III+, Mile 0.8)


Photo taken 01/12/13 @ 1200 cfs

  The river then winds around a corner to the left and passes under a foot bridge.  This is the start of Rockafella 2.  The general line here is starting left and moving to the center.  At lower flows this rapid is quit shallow and can dish out some very unpleasant swims.

The Wright Stuff (Class IV, Mile 1.0)


Photo by Matt Deacon taken 12/15/12

  The next obvious horizon line is The Wright Stuff, the first class IV rapid of the run.  This rapid is made up of a manky, river wide, 4 foot ledge.  The cleanest line is down the left side of the main channel, right next to a bush.  One channel right of the good chut is a nasty spot that I have seen many people fall into.  This is a good rapid to follow someone on if it's your first time.

Flumes of Doom (Class IV, Mile 1.2)


Photo by Matt Deacon taken 01/28/12 @ a good level


  A short pool separates the wright stuff from Flumes of Doom.  Enter right, catch an eddy under a large boulder on the left.  Then, ferry across and boof the rock on the right.  You don't want to end up left, as a pin would be very likely.  The runnout continues as the river bends around a corner to the left.  On the outside (river right) of the corner, there is a potentially nasty boulder seive.  Its not an issue if you're in your boat, but it could be bad for a swimmer.  Flumes is my favorite rapid on this section.

T- Rex (Class IV, Mile 2.0)


Photo by George Cocores taken 03/02/13

  The river calms to class II+for half a mile or so.  As you pass through a class III rapid with a huge boulder in the middle of the river at the bottom, the river makes a drastic turn to the right and you arrive at T Rex.  Make a left to right S- turn between to holes at the top and then run down the center, moving right.  You can go all the way right of the ledge, or hit a nice boof flake right in the middle.  Don't go left.  I have been pinned over there, and I have seen it happen to several other people.  It's no fun.


Ogre (Class IV, Mile 3.0)


Photo by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 03/26/17 @ 0 cfs

After a short calm stretch, the rapids build back up to class III as you approach Ogre, the biggest rapid on the Riverhouse run.  Ogre can be hard to spot until you are right on top of it, but you will notice the most pronounced horizon line of the trip.  Ogre can be run several different ways.  The easiest is to set up center/ right, keep paddling and hold on.  Ogre has a tendency to flip lots of boaters, especially at higher flows.  There is a quick recovery pool, but you need to roll up quickly and move to the left for the next ledge.  After a couple more class III ledges, the River calms down for a while.  The rest of the run has a couple fun class III rapids, but its mostly a mellow float to the takeout from here.

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