Deschutes River Trail
Trailhead Elevation: 208 ft
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In Oregon, a bicycle is legally considered a vehicle, and the same Oregon road laws apply. Please “be seen” and practice safe riding. Vehicle traffic, farm equipment and narrow shoulders exist on many Oregon roads, and you may find that construction projects, traffic or other events may cause road conditions or signage to differ from the map results, ride descriptions and directions. For travel options plus weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941. Routes listed on this website are for informational purposes and intended as a reference guide only.
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Start at the Deschutes River State Recreation Area, just east of The Dalles. Day use parking is free; restrooms and water are available in the park.
The trail begins at the small gravel parking lot by the entrace to the park. There is a short hill at the beginning, and one downhill/uphill at roughly mile 2 (due to the removal of an old bridge) – otherwise, the trail is mostly flat, owing to it being an old railroad bed. Enjoy sweeping views of the lower Deschutes River Valley. After the first mile or two, the trail bends and you can no longer hear or see the state park or freeway, surrounding you in silence and solitude. There is an abandoned railroad box car at approximately mile 6, and an old homestead at approximately mile 12.
Due to the terrain and remote nature of the trail, it’s important to be prepared for all eventualities. Goatheads are extremely prevalent, so bring the proper tools to fix a flat tire. Rattlesnakes are common during the summer, so keep your eyes (and ears) peeled at those times. Otherwise, take the time to follow a spur trail down to the river for a fishing break or quick swim.