floating the deschutes river

The temperatures have started to rise and the calendar tells us it’s officially summer in Central Oregon. When visiting Sunriver, many guests immediately flock to the SHARC for their outdoor pools, hot tub, kids activities and more. For others, the lure of the Deschutes River and spending hours relaxing on a slow current has more of an appeal. For those planning on floating the Deschutes River in Sunriver this summer, we’ve got the ultimate guide to getting your feet wet, so to speak.

Floating the Deschutes River in Sunriver Essentials

Whether you want to avoid the crowds at the SHARC or simply enjoy relaxing on the water as you float past good wildlife viewing opportunities, you’ll love floating the Deschutes River in Sunriver. The Deschutes River winds through the Sunriver area offering gorgeous mountain views and Class 1 rated water with minor waves and no obstructions. Keep in mind that The Deschutes River is spring-fed and the water rarely exceeds 60 degrees in temperature.


  • Life Vests
  • Food and Water
  • Appropriate Clothing
  • Sunscreen
  • Waterproof Case/Bag for Phone and/or Camera
  • Floatie

Floatie and Water Craft Rental

Did you remember to pack a floatie? If not, no worries! Several businesses throughout Sunriver offer inner tube and floatie rentals for your convenience.

Sunriver ToyHouse

17345 Spring River Rd. Sunriver | 541-647-4433

Offers river float tubes, stand up paddle boards, kayaks, rafts, trailers to haul and more

Reserve equipment online

Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe — Sunriver Store

56805 Venture Ln. Sunriver | 541-647-1640

Offers river float tubes, kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, rafts and more

More information

Sun Country Tours

57100 Beaver Drive, Building 26, Sunriver | 541-382-1709

Offers DIY inner tube rentals along with guided tours

More Information

Popular Float Launch and Takeout Points

Floating the Deschutes River in Sunriver can be done via several popular routes. Choose from the following launch and takeout points for a fun-filled day on the river. Floaters plan on putting in or taking out at Harper’s Bridge should do so on the south side of the river. The Sunriver Resort Marina may also be a launching/take out point, but may require access fees.

Big River to Harper Bridge

Distance: 7.5 miles

Float Time: 3-5 hours depending on wind direction and paddling

Harper Bridge to Besson Day Use Area

Distance: 1.8 miles

Float Time: 45 minutes

Besson Day Use Area to Benham Falls Day Use Area

Distance: 7.9 miles

Float Time: 3-4 hours depending on wind direction and paddling

Benham Falls Day Use Area is the last take-out point. Beyond this point is Benham Falls and all floaters must exit the river prior to the falls. Remember, life vests are required for ages 12 and under, no matter the type of watercraft you’re using — floatie, kayak, etc.

Sunriver Float Shuttle

Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe also offers a shuttle for guests that don’t have a way to transport their boats. Take their shuttle to La Pine State Park where they’ll drop you off and then big you up at Big River Campground. The shuttle costs $15/person in addition to your rental costs. Taking this float route puts you on the water for two and a half hours at a leisurely continuous paddling rate. In July and August, Tumalo Creek offers shuttles at 9am, 11am and 2pm.

Sunriver Tubing on the Deschutes River

The peaceful serenity of the natural landscape beckons floaters to the Deschutes River in Sunriver. Cool off during the heat of the summer and work on your tan while slowly meandering down the Deschutes River on an inflatable inner tube, flamingo, unicorn, alligator — whatever you prefer.

Enjoy the sunshine and quality time spent with friends and family when you float the Deschutes River in Sunriver this summer. Need more information about floating during your Sunriver vacation? Call our front desk and the reservationists at Sunset Lodging in Sunriver can answer your questions and point you in the right direction when it comes to floating the Deschutes River.


  1. Mike McBride

    Could you please email me some information on your river float out of sunriver? Bigmike6988@yahoo.com

    • Reservations at Sunset Lodging

      Hi Mike,

      We don’t specifically run a river float out of Sunriver. Floating the river in Sunriver is more of a DIY activity. This blog has much of the information you need. We’re also sharing a new blog today about social distancing while floating the river this summer for more up-to-date information. We look forward to seeing you in Sunriver!

      Thank you!

  2. Pete B

    From everything I read, seems like there are no shuttle options from sunriver canoe takout by benham falls back to Harper bridge. If you know of any options please let us know. Thanks

  3. Mike

    I know the buses aren’t running but is the marina renting canoes and kayaks?

    • Reservations at Sunset Lodging

      Hi Mike,

      Yes! The Marina is renting canoes and kayaks. The Resort is requiring reservations and the Marina is limited to 6 guests at a time. Visit the Sunriver Resort Marina website for more information.

      Thank you!

  4. Tina P

    If we park at Harpers bridge or Beesson Park and float to Benham falls is there a shuttle or way to get back to our cars?

    • Reservations at Sunset Lodging

      Hi Tina,

      We have a couple suggestions for shuttles in Sunriver. Check with Good 2 Go, Sunriver Towncar and Sunriver Toy House for possible river shuttles they will be operating this summer.

      You may have to book a roundtrip shuttle, but these companies can give you more information about whether or not they offer one-way shuttles.

      Thank you!

  5. Stephanie

    How durable of a floaty/tube is recommended for a day of river floating? Would the $20 Amazon tubes be sufficient or do you recommend a rubber inner tube?

    • Reservations at Sunset Lodging

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you for reaching out! Yes, the $20 Amazon tubes are definitely sufficient. You may even see some flamingoes, slices of pizza and crocodiles tubes out there, as well!

  6. mark wheaton

    If we start at Harpers bridge would a private vehicle be able to pick us up where the Marina use to pick up customers down stream?

    • Reservations at Sunset Lodging

      Hi Mark,

      If your group has SHARC passes, you can park at the marina/use the marina for free, otherwise you have to pay. Downstream further, a private vehicle would be able to pick you up as long as the spot offers public river access. We hope that helps! Happy floating!

      Sunset Lodging

  7. Jen

    If we launch or exit anywhere besides the marina do we have to pay a “usage” fee for the river?

    • Reservations at Sunset Lodging

      Hi Jen,

      Thank you for your question! You don’t have to pay a usage fee to launch or exit the river anywhere except the Marina (if you don’t have SHARC passes). You won’t be able to enter or exit the river on private property, but you’re good to go for free on any public lands. Happy floating!

      – Sunset

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