Deschutes River State Recreation Area RV & Campground Guide

Oregon

Deschutes River State Recreation Area

is a beautiful spot, just alongside the Deschutes and Columbia rivers. Look for an explosion of wildflowers in early spring, and for oriole nests that resemble hanging baskets, tucked away in the white alder trees. Families can hike, ride bikes, horseback ride, and do plenty of other outdoor activities in the recreation area here!

Weather in the Deschutes Valley is surprisingly arid in summer, with only a day or two of rain on average each month. Winter is the rainiest time, with about a week and a half of rain per month. July and August are typically the warmest months, with highs of almost 90°F, and in winter, the lows drop to 30°F in January.

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Weather
Spring 36-74 F
Summer 55-89 F
Fall 36-81 F
Winter 30-48 F
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Nearby Cities
Wasco, OR
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Deschutes River State Recreation Area

Camping is available in four areas of the park, although three are closed during winter months. Flush toilets and showers are available at one of the campgrounds, along with hookups. If you choose to rent an RV, consider renting with RVshare. Each rental vehicle comes with nationwide insurance coverage, 24/7 roadside assistance, and a dedicated team that will work to make sure you have the perfect RV for your travel plans and unique needs.   

There are also several nearby campgrounds where you can stay while you visit the park:

Rufus RV Park

Just off the Columbia River, this campground is a great place to relax, or to go fishing, kiting, or windsurfing. 

  • Water hookup: yes
  • Electrical hookup: yes 
  • Sewer hookup: yes
  • Wi-Fi: yes
  • Pet friendly: yes
  • Other amenities: laundry, showers, close to river

Cottonwood Canyon State Park

Enjoy awesome views of the rugged canyon and rushing river, and the vast expanses of grasslands that spread as far as the eye can see! Camping here is rustic, but the views are worth it. 

  • Water hookup: no
  • Electrical hookup: no
  • Sewer hookup: no
  • Wi-Fi: no
  • Pet friendly: n/a
  • Other amenities: showers, hiking, fishing, boat launch

RV Rentals Near Deschutes River State Recreation Area

Nearby RV Rentals

Restaurants

What to Do at
Deschutes River State Recreation Area

Inside Deschutes River State Recreation Area

There are a number of things to do in the Deschutes Valley, year-round.

Hiking: There is plenty of hiking along the river and throughout the park. On hot days, cool off with a trail near the river in the shade of the white alder trees (see if you can spot oriole nests hanging from the branches!).

Biking: There is also mountain biking available along trails that wind throughout the Deschutes River State Recreation Area.

Fishing: Fish for world-class steelhead and trout in the rivers within the state recreation area.

Boating: Heritage Landing is a popular launch for jetboaters, providing access to the Deschutes and Columbia Rivers. Jetboating is allowed on the lower segment of the Deschutes for most of the year.

Horseback riding: Horseback riding is permitted from March-June with a reservation. 

Rafting/kayaking: The Deschutes River drops about ¼ of a mile as it snakes through the canyons, making it a fun place for whitewater rafting, kayaking, and tubing.

Outside Deschutes River State Recreation Area

There’s plenty to do outside the recreation area as well! From taking in the local sights to relaxing with a tasty bite to eat, once you’ve explored the park, try one of these activities. 

Restaurants

Bob's Texas T-Bone Frosty's Lounge

A very popular stop for a variety of steak cuts, as well as homemade desserts! You’re likely to have plenty of leftovers for another meal as well.

Type: Casual steakhouse

Location: Rufus, OR

Bulldog Diner

The Bulldog Diner serves up delicious burgers, and people rave about the fries. There’s also breakfast on the menu if you want to get an early start...and delicious milkshakes for a cool afternoon treat!

Type: Diner

Location: Rufus, OR

Alpenstube Restaurant

Dine slope side on Mount Hood for a truly unique experience! Alpenstube is known for their Nacho Mountain (you may want to share with a friend), appetizers, sandwiches, and Black Angus Beef burgers. And when in Oregon - it’s practically a requirement to try a local craft beer. They have several…

Type: American

Location: Mt. Hood, OR

Shopping

Timberline Gifts

The gift shop at the Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood has unique art, jewelry, local iron work, and souvenirs. There’s even a The Shining and Overlook Hotel collection, because part of the movie was filmed at the hotel.

Location: Government Camp, OR

Sightseeing

Friend Ghost Town

Friend sprang up as the town at the end of the Great Southern Railroad - a line that connected The Dalles to Dufur. When the railroad stopped operation in 1936, the town was abandoned. Now, you can see the empty schoolhouse, the old general store and post office, and a concrete building whose purpose is uncertain. But mostly you can take in the vast expanse of grass and sky and appreciate the lonely scenery and imagine the people who lived and explored the West.

Location: Friend, OR

White River Falls State Park

This day-use park has a quarter-mile trail that leads you to the river, where you’ll find a system of pipes and flumes that diverted water from the falls to a powerhouse and produced electricity for the region from 1910-1960. The White River Falls are definitely photo-worthy as well, with their drop of more than 90-feet into the pool below.

Location: Wasco County, OR

Mount Hood

Whether hiking and wildlife-watching in summer or skiing in winter, Mt. Hood is an awe-inspiring place to visit at any time of year! In fact, thanks to the numerous apple and pear trees, and abundant berries, the drive from the mountain to the town of Hood River is known as the Fruit Loop.

Location: Mt. Hood, OH

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How to Get to
Deschutes River State Recreation Area

The recreation area is about an hour and a half from Portland. Take I-84E/US-30 E to OR-206 E in Wasco County. Take exit 97 for OR-206 toward Deschutes/State Park/Celilo Park and follow the road to the Deschutes River State Recreation Area.

Entering Deschutes River State Recreation Area

There is no entrance fee for the recreation area, but there is a fee to make reservations for the equestrian trail.

Heading out camping with friends or family is a great way to make new memories and have adventures together! Renting an RV with RVshare takes a lot of stress off of you and makes the trip easier to plan. Whether you choose to rent an RV near your home and drive, or fly into Portland and rent an RV, you’re sure to have a trip you won’t soon forget! We would love to see pictures of your travels - be sure to send us photos of your trip to [email protected] and tag us on social media. Your memories could be featured on our blog, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter page!