Trout Creek to Nena



At Trout Creek the trestle northbound is barred. You have two options - by road, out of the canyon, through Gateway, to US 97 and Maupin - or by river, floating the blockade to Nena.

You can pop up road directions here.

To float the river, for starters you'll need a "boater pass", which you'll have to get ahead of time, in person at various vendors or on-line here.

A couple of caveats - if you get the bright idea of getting one pass to cover two days on the river, you'll find - after you get the pass - any overnights on the river require an "approved" portable toilet. You can get a pdf flier on "approved toilets" here.

You may get a major runaround dealing with the vendor list. The website gave me a wrong address for one, miles out of the way, and I managed to find them and get a pass just by plain dumb luck at 4:45 p.m.

The pass is only good for the day and person indicated. Delayed by the vagaries of off-road bike-touring? Tough.

I suspect their pass system may be deliberately difficult and dysfunctional to slant river traffic towards trained and regulated business operators, and away from trouble-making wildcats. Good luck with it.

I got a pass for the Trout Creek-Nena float, and planned to get the next pass for the Mack's Canyon float at one of several vendors in Maupin - for instance, the mini-mart at the foot of the bridge, which you'll ride right by without climbing into town.

Looking north over the Deschutes from the road off 97/197 into South Junction.

Calm stretch just below South Junction. What whitewater?

Of course the next challenge downriver is the whitewater - including one rapid, Whitehorse, they rate Class IV. Don't give up. A couple from Eugene floated the Deschutes in a canoe from Trout Creek to the Columbia, and were kind enough to post their adventure on-line, with excellent descriptions of the rapids and how they handled them. You can find it here>

You can pop-up a condensed description of the rapids here. If you can find a printer with waterproof paper, you're good to go.

The 12 miles between South and North Junction are the active railroad, off-limits, but below North Junction you should be able to land on the east bank and scout around at will. The Deschutes Club doesn't seem to mind visitors on foot - any other "property owners", I don't know.

This brings up the question of who owns these abandoned grades. Above Trout Creek, you were riding Hill's "Oregon Trunk" grade, abandoned in 1923. An Internet source, seeming reliable, says when this grade was abandoned it was given to "the county". I haven't confirmed this.

Below North Junction, the active railroad crosses to the west bank. The abandoned grade on the east bank is Harriman's Deschutes Railroad, abandoned in 1935. I know the Deschutes Club was there before the railroad, but of who legally "owns" the abandoned grade I know nothing. If I get there still ignorant, I'll have to take any claims at face value, and mind my trespassing.

The Deschutes Club gatekeeper's house is at RM 62. The Club's locked gate is just above RM 59. Below that, the grade is open to the public all the way to the Columbia - RM 0. Nena is the first improved BLM landing below the gate, at RM 58.5.

Next leg: On the Harriman grade from the locked gate to Mack's Canyon>