America's Scenic Byways

Lower Deschutes River Back Country Byway

34 miles - 1 hour to drive the byway.

The byway follows the nationally recognized Lower Deschutes River through a Columbia River basalt canyon. The river was designated a National Wild and Scenic River System and is used for rafting and fishing. The byway has a variety of wildlife such as big horn sheep, otter, and osprey, so keep your eyes open and bring your binoculars.

Not only does the river have great rapids, it is also nationally known for its outstanding trout, steelhead, and salmon fisheries. Spend some time at the camping and picnicking grounds scattered throughout the byway. Stop at Sherar's Falls where you can watch the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs fish from cliff side platforms with large nets on the ends of long poles. You can explore this area on foot, or you can horseback ride. The relatively flat terrain makes exploring by bicycle very easy, but you will need to be aware of large vehicles such as rafting company busses and RV’s, especially during the summer months. If you plan to raft the river, you should know that the rapids have been classified as up to Class IV, and that all persons floating the river must have a valid BLM boaterpass. Boater passes are available for purchase online at