The Lower Deschutes River

Central Oregon is known for its high desert climate, but around Maupin, it’s also known for the Deschutes River. This lower portion of the river has a history all its own and has become the playground for outdoor recreation in the area.

The Flora and Fauna of the Lower Deschutes River

In the Maupin area, the Deschutes River cuts through a basalt canyon surrounded by a semi-arid high desert. In the canyon, you’ll find more low brush than trees, but with a few pockets of Oak and Sumac here and there. There is also an island with the only grove of Cedar trees in the region. It’s appropriately called Cedar Island.

There is a lot of wildlife to see, including waterfowl, Osprey, upland game birds, many songbirds, big horn sheep, mule deer, and even elk. Of course, in the river itself, you’ll find plenty of fish, namely the Deschutes Redside, which is a type of rainbow trout, and steelhead. There are also lesser numbers of other fish species like whitefish, bull trout, Chinook Salmon, and Pacific Lamprey.

The History of the Lower Deschutes River

The Deschutes River plays a large role in the history of Maupin. Early settlers set up a bridge and community near the whitewater rapids to take advantage of the pioneers who often crossed the river here to head West. It became an important stopping point for many travelers. It was also a favorite area for native fishing and still is. At Sherar’s Falls, you can still see Native Americans fishing with dipnets from traditional platforms.

Recreation around the Lower Deschutes River

Every year, travelers come from across the Northwest to experience the Lower Deschutes River region. The whitewater rapids along the river draw whitewater rafters and kayakers and the Steelhead and Redside Trout draw make for great fishing. The Deschutes Canyon and surrounding vistas are perfect for upland game bird and big game hunting, while the trails and riverside roads are great for hiking and cycling. There are also plenty of places to camp as well as riverside lodging.

If you’d like to experience the Lower Deschutes River for yourself, come to Maupin, Oregon. The town is host to all of the recreation and adventure mentioned here and more. Explore our site for more to see and do in the Maupin area.

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