Difficulty I(V+)
Length 3.2 Miles
Gauge Deschutes At Benham Falls
Flow Range 500 - 2200 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 2 days ago 525 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 07/17/2019 3:29 pm

River Description

Benham Falls to Slough Camp, class V, 1.5 miles

This spectacular section of river formed 7000 years ago when the Lava Butte eruption buried the channel of the Deschutes River in more than 100 feet of lava creating a natural dam. Benham Falls was the outlet from the lake that formed; over time the river cut through the volcanic rock and the lake drained but some impressive whitewater remains.

Benham Falls remains a formidable class V+ rapid that is rarely run above 1000 cfs. Below 1000 cfs, it is much more manageable, but still class V, and definitely requires scouting and safety.

Scott Baker and Matt King running Benham in a dynamic Duo: https://vimeo.com/53921371

Class III and IV rapids continue for a short distance downstream of Benham Falls as the river flows along the edge of the lava field within Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The river then settles out to class I.

Slough Camp to Dillon Falls, class I, 1.8 miles

The short float from Slough Camp to Dillon Falls is class I.

For additional information on recreational opportunities see the Deschutes National Forest web site.

Logistics: The primary access for this section is from river left. Take Highway 372 out of Bend and at mile marker 7.6 turn on to Forest Road 41. At mile 2.6 on Forest Road 41, turn onto Forest Road 4100-600 and continue 0.8 miles to the Dillon Falls Day Use Area marking the end of this section.

To reach Benham Falls, continue on Forest Road 41 to mile 4.0 and turn onto Forest Road 4100-400. At 0.8 miles down Forest Road 4100-400 you will reach the Slough Day Use Area (access for the class I float). At 2.2 miles down Forest Road 4100-400 you will reach the Benham West Trailhead adjacent to the falls. If you are running the falls, hike upstream to find your put-in. 

An alternate access to Benham Falls is available on river right. Coming from Bend on Highway 97, turn into the Lava Lands Visitor Center at mile 149.5 (if coming from the south you will need to take Exit 151 to reach the visitor center). From the vistior center drive 4.0 miles down Forest Road 9702 to the Benham Falls East Trailhead. From here it is a 1/2 mile hike across a foot bridge and down to Benham Falls. 

Rapid Descriptions

Benham Falls

Class - 5.1 Mile - -181
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Slough Camp Access

Class - N/A Mile - -179.7
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Alternate access that serves as a put-in for a short class I float.


Gage Descriptions

The Bureau of Reclamation's Deschutes River at Beenham Falls (BENO) gage applies to this section. Look for flows around of 1000 to 3000 cfs which are dependable through the summer.

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.

Date Flow Result Factor  
1993-07-06 Low Fatality Poor Planning Read More



article main photo

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


Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1202753 09/23/13 Matt Deacon
1209669 05/23/18 Thomas O'Keefe minor edits
1202842 11/13/13 Matt Deacon
1202730 09/12/13 Matt Deacon
1202749 09/23/13 Matt Deacon
1202646 09/05/13 Matt Deacon
1202686 09/07/13 Matt Deacon
1202697 09/09/13 Matt Deacon
1213356 07/17/19 Thomas O'Keefe updated image position
1202843 11/14/13 Matt Deacon
1209668 05/23/18 Thomas O'Keefe access edit
1213355 07/17/19 Thomas O'Keefe updated image position
1212646 06/04/19 Thomas O'Keefe updated image position
1192863 11/06/05 n/a n/a