Deschutes River Explorations

I spent some time exploring the Deschutes River on two days this week. It's a beautiful time to be near the river, with lots of birds being active in the morning and flowers out now, and just starting to really bake by afternoon. First I did a few miles at the mouth of the river where it empties into the Columbia, following the bike road out and returning on the meandering path that follows the river.

I arrived just at dawn at Cove Palisades State Park and headed up onto the quiet Penisula where the Tam-A-Lau Trail takes you to the point looking out on the isolated mesa known as the Island and the confluence of the Crooked River and the Deschutes River in Lake Billy Chinook. It was a quiet morning after an intensely moonlit night where I had stayed at White River, the mountain glowing all night. Plenty of flycatchers chasing bugs in the sunbeams amongst the sagebrush.

Next, I headed south to Scout Camp trail further upriver on the edge of the Crooked River Ranch area. A fairly primitive trail heads into the BLM Wilderness Study area and makes a loop down into the canyon and back up. It's a steep and amazing section where the lava flows intermingle with the  Deschutes River formations to produce some amazing geology. Balsam root was blooming along the grassy slopes.


Since I was so close I headed over to the popular Steelhead Falls. These fun Jellyfish clouds were all over this afternoon.