Deschutes - 07. Lava Island Falls to Meadow Picnic Area

Deschutes, Oregon, US


07. Lava Island Falls to Meadow Picnic Area (Lava)

Usual Difficulty V (for normal flows)
Length 1.5 Miles

Lava 2- Medium Low

Lava 2- Medium Low
Photo of Marlow Stanton by Matt Deacon taken 03/07/14 @ 957 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Deschutes At Benham Falls
dream-168 500 - 2200 cfs V 05h44m 2050 cfs (running)
Winter flows: 500- 1200 (IV-V). Summer flows: 1600- 2300 (V-V+)

River Description

  This 1.5 mile section, referred to by locals as "Lava", runs all year.  Winter flows vary between 500 and 1000cfs.  In the summer, levels are typically between 1700 and 2200cfs.  This run changes dramatically at higher water

  For a description of the run at low winter levels, see the Upper Deschutes page on the Orgeon Kayaking site. For additional information on recreational opportunities see the Deschutes National Forest web site .

Video of Scott Baker and Matt King running Lava in a Dynamic Duo at 2200cfs.

  At summer levels, this section consists of 2 big, pushy, consequential class V rapids, known as Lava 1 and Lava 2. This section is expert only and is a major step up from the meadowcamp section downstream.  Lava at summer levels should only be run by solid class V boaters and even then, following someone who knows the lines is a good idea.

  From the put in, there is no warm up.  Lava 1 starts right out of the pool.  Lava 1 can be scouted via a trail on river right, but you can't see the whole thing.  The best option, in my opinion, is to follow someone, and get verbal instructions, on your first few times down. 

  There are multiple ways to run lava 1.  The rapid starts out with a swirly entry that can be tough to navigate.  Then, the river divides around an island.  Both sides are runnable, but both have tricky moves around serious holes.  The left channel contains a hole known as "the butthole", which has separated many boaters from their gear and lead to lots of rough swims.  Make sure you hit your boof.    The right side goes down a 10- 12 foot slide into a big hole.  The line is to drive either hard right or left to avoid the meat of the hole.   In my opinion, the highest percentage line is right side ofthe right channel.  Line up and paddle hard.   Lava 1 leads directly into a fun class IV drop called Cut em Up, making any swims very unpleasant. 

  Cutem Up ends in a calm pool above Lava 2.  Lava 2 is big, long, and scary. Scouting is tough and doesn't do much good.  This is a follow me rapid.  A wave train leads to the crux move, where you have to get all the way left to avoid 2 huge boulders, then move aggressively back to the center/ right to avoid the massive hole on the left.  After the hole, class IV runout continues for a couple hundred yards before the river abruptly flattens just above the Meadow picnic area.. 

  Take out here in the winter.  In the summer, you can take out here and go up for another lap, or continue downstream through 2 miles of class II and run the Class IV+ Meadowcamp section down to town.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2014-03-08 00:48:20


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.1Lava 1N/A
0.8Lava 2N/APhoto

Rapid Descriptions

Lava 2 (Class N/A, Mile 0.8)

Lava 2 from below

Lava 2 from below
Photo by Matt Deacon taken 05/16/15 @ 1600 cfs

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