Oregon Camping Inspiration: Deschutes Overnight Rafting Trips

It’s camping and whitewater rafting season here in Maupin, Oregon!

So, you’re getting the gang together for a summer adventure. You need an excitement-filled trip they’ll remember that’s not a logistical nightmare. We’ve got you covered.

Combining rafting and camping is like chocolate and peanut butter – they’re just better together! Summertime in Maupin is the perfect time to leave behind the typical day-to-day and reconnect with your friends and/or family along the picturesque Deschutes River. Spend the hot, sunny days alternating between shooting rip-roaring rapids and lazily drifting down placid stretches of our ‘Wild and Scenic’ river. Then spend the evening gazing at a billion twinkling stars as your guide takes care of the logistics.

Here’s what you need to know to prepare for a fun-filled two- or three-day excursion with Imperial River Company:

Show Me the Menu

We do all the shopping, prepping, schlepping, and cooking so you can relax and enjoy your vacation. For dinner, ditch the burnt hot dogs and let us prepare you a rustic 3 course meal while you relax with your favorite people on the river. Feel free to bring your favorite alcoholic beverages to accompany your meal(s).

A typical dinner at the campsite includes an appetizer, steaks, vegetables and a starch, bread, salad and dessert. Breakfast includes an egg-based dish such as breakfast burritos or ham and eggs. For lunch on the river you can look forward to a picnic lunch on the raft of deli sandwiches and a side. We are happy to cater to any dietary restrictions.

Packing, Simplified

On our overnight rafting trips, you can enjoy the fun of camping with your crew without the annoyance of coordinating campsites, packing your own food and lugging around the gear. We supply tents, sleeping bags, blow up mattresses and everything you need for a peaceful night under the stars. All you need to bring is yourself and any personal items you desire. View our packing suggestions for Maupin, Oregon under FAQ here.

Squad Power

We can comfortably accommodate groups from a minimum of 4 folks to as many as 15 members, making it the perfect adventure for family trips, bachelor/bachelorette weekends, company retreats, or anything in between. Rally the squad and prepare for some seriously unprecedented togetherness.

Leave No Trace

We follow the Leave No Trace philosophy when enjoying the pristine Maupin wilderness. It details ways we can protect and enjoy the wonders of camping in Oregon wilderness together, including:

  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Respect wildlife
  • Prevent wildfires: we abide by the no burn law effective during the Summer fire season (June 1 – October 15), but you can still squish together graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows over a lantern if you’d like.

Our overnight rafting trips are an immersive outdoor getaway free from the stress of coordinating supplies. We recommend coming during the week to enjoy the most peace on the river! In order to maximize guest experiences, Saturday launch is not available for overnight trips from July 1 through Labor Day as campsite reservations are not available.

See all of our rafting trip options here and start planning your trip today, and then call us with any questions and to book your grand adventure. Our guides are waiting to pamper you!



An Intro to Whitewater Rapids Classes

Whitewater Rafting on the Lower Deschutes - Imperial River Company

Just like your teacher used to grade your tests in school, whitewater (either an individual rapid, or the entire river) is graded too! Instead of A to F, these grades are divided into six categories from class I (the easiest) to class VI (the most difficult and dangerous).

As the White Water Guidebook explains, the Deschutes River runs hundreds of miles from the mountains near Bend, Oregon to the Columbia River. The river is runnable for its entire length offering rapids from Class I to VI, great fishing, and overnight trip options. The most popular section of the Deschutes is from Harpham Flat to Sandy Beach and runs through the town of Maupin, hence the location of the Imperial River Company! The fun rapids and consistent flow make it a great place to raft on a hot summer day.

Rapids Classes Defined:

Class I

Moving water with a few riffles and small waves – it’s a relaxing way to spend the day.

Class II

Easy rapids, waves up to three feet tall that are readily seen, and wide channels that can be discovered without scouting. Some maneuvering is required during this little rock and roll. Examples during our Deschutes day trip:

    • Mile 34.2: Four Chutes Rapids – wave train down the left, boulder garden on the right.
    • Mile 49.9: Surf City Rapids (II+) – offers paddlers a chance to work on their surfing.
    • Mile 51.1: White River Rapids (II+) – fun waves at the White River confluence.
    • Mile 51.8: Lower Elevator Rapids(II+) – multiple waves for excitement and light splashing.

Class III

Moderate – Waves numerous, high, irregular; rocks; eddies; rapids with passages clear but narrow, requiring experience in maneuvering. Waves up to four feet that send the boat shimmying and water gushing over its sides. Plenty of excitement.

      • Mile 21.1: White Horse Rapid (III+) challenging ½ mile boulder garden, action packed!
      • Mile 33.5: Buckskin Mary Rapids – a swift wave train down the middle.
      • Mile 42.9: Wapanita Rapids – thrilling wave train straight through the center.
      • Mile 44.0: Boxcar Rapids – large waves and a small ledge drop with a hole to the left that is best avoided.

Class IV

Long, difficult rapids, narrow passages, turbulent water that requires precise maneuvering and sends hearts racing.

    • Mile 50.3: Oak Springs Rapids – A big drop with routes down the right or left. It’s an easy scout from the road on river right.

Class V

Extremely Difficult – Exceedingly difficult, long and violent rapids, following each other almost without interruption; riverbed extremely obstructed; big drops; violent currents; very steep gradient. Paddlers should have prior Class IV or better whitewater experience with experienced guides who know the river.

Class VI

Unrunnable! Just like it says – Don’t even think about it! These constitute waterfalls that should not be attempted. Outfitter raft trips don’t go here – there’s too much other water to enjoy without risking it all!

    • Mile 53.8: Sherars Falls, but we exit at Sandy Beach a mile before the falls.
Whitewater Rapids Classes - Deschutes River - Imperial River Co.
Image from RaftingAmerica.com

Now that you’re an expert on white water classification, check out this great breakdown of the Deshutes River Rapids from Harpham Flats to Sandy Beach so you know exactly what to expect at each turn.

Our runs range from class I to class III, with the option of a class IV for the more experienced rafters/thrill-seekers. With our experienced guides you get all of excitement with none of the none of the stress. We’ll see you out there!

Booking a rafting adventure here: https://deschutesriver.com/deschutes-river-rafting/  

Imperial River Company
Lodging and Rafting on the Lower Deschutes River