Deschutes River State Recreation Area

Park History

Acquired between 1963 and 1983 by purchase from various owners, transfer by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, and gifts of land from the Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation. The original tract for the area was 30 acres purchased in 1963 from the Columbia-Deschutes Power Company. This tract, with some of the later acquisitions, forms the developed portion of a riverside recreation complex. Adjoining the State Recreation Area is the Deschutes River Scenic Waterway. The lower Deschutes River from Pelton Dam to the Columbia River, some 104 river miles, was designated an Oregon Scenic Waterway in 1970. The purpose is to protect and enhance scenic, recreational, fish and wildlife values along the river while allowing public use of the river for boating, fishing and riverside camping. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department manages the waterway in cooperation with Sherman and Wasco counties, U. S. Bureau of Land Management, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department, State Marine Board and Oregon State Police.

Acreage: 708.62

Annual overnight attendance: 37,648

Annual day-use attendance: 267,954

Deschutes River State Recreation Area FAQ

About Camping

Why is camping first come, first serve from Nov. 1 until Mid-April?

When the reservation system changed to the one day window (make a reservation today for tomorrow) that means somebody must check reservations everyday. A small park like Deschutes does not have enough employees from Nov. - April to check reservations daily.

What's Allowed

Can I just show up and ride my horse on the trail?

No. The horse trail is by reservation only from March 1 until June 30. Reservations are available through Reservations Northwest at 1-800- 452- 5687. The trail is 22 miles round trip during daylight hours. Camping with horses is not permitted along the trail or at Deschutes State Park.

Day use/Special Events

Do I need a permit for a wedding, picnic, baptism, family reunion, etc.?

Yes- If you have over 50 people, want to use a public address system, selling of goods or services, event requiring structures, will limit public access, commercial filming, and anything that requires park staff to be present.The above list does not cover all the activities that would require a permit. The permit is called a special use permit and should be completed 30 days before arrival.

Statewide FAQ

Available via this link