Route: Deschutes River Railbed Trail (OR)

Oregon, US
23.1 mi
Vertical Gain
367 ft

The Deschutes River Railbed Trail is one of nine official Rails-to-Trails in Oregon, and follows the old Des Chutes Railroad line for 23.1 miles from Deschutes River State Park to Macks Canyon Campground.  The Deschutes is the sixth largest river in Oregon, and much of this section of the Lower Deschutes is designated a Wild & Scenic River, and a favorite with river rafters and kayakers.

The first 17 miles of the trail is used my horseback riders, hikers, and mountain bikers.  The next 6.1 miles are more rugged, and not maintained.  the trail crosses 6 canyons where the old railroad trestles have been removed, and requires a little scrambling to get across.  There are still old railroad ties along the route, and some sections are rocky and overgrown.

The Lower Deschutes is home to abundant wildlife such as mule deer, bighorn sheep, river otter, coyote, bald eagles, golden eagles, peregrine falcons, osprey, song birds such as the meadowlark, and many others.  Some of the hazards include rattlesnakes, bull snakes, and ticks.

The river canyon is very exposed, and you should expect intense heat in the summer season.  There are very few water sources along the trail, and those may be unreliable during certain times of the year.  You should carry lots of water, a hat, and the 10 essentials.

Overall, it's a beautiful section of the river, and very runnable.  One of the drawbacks of running the entire length of the trail is the need to arrange a shuttle, or have someone drop you off, and pick you up at the other end. 

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