Bend Whitewater Park


On our last trip we were really disappointed to discover that we had missed the window to catch the whitewater play parks in Idaho and Nevada. When we learned that there was a new play park opening up in Bend we decided to stop and check it out, even if the waters were low! We paddled it at 1080 and 1400 cfs, both of which were still good.

DSCN0628 bend

The Whitewater Park just opened in late September and is still working out some bugs, which is tough to do as the water levels are also dropping. It is located right in town on the Deschutes River and is a phased build, with a larger regional park also being built in the next year. Bend itself has a strong river trail system so there is a lot of activity going on along the river and lots of people excited to see the Whitewater Park come to fruition. This is a family friendly location as one of the channels is a floater channel so beginners can paddle or SUP down it or even float down in an inflatable kayak or tube.

Access to the play park is currently from a residential street just beside the river, right below the bottom wave. To get to the upper waves you take out on the rock island and carry your boat up which is no big deal. We were somewhat worried about parking since we are so large but found it to be fairly easy if we got there before the lunch rush. My guess is that during the busy summer season this will likely be a different experience.

Right now the upper or first wave is geared to be a kayak wave however they are having trouble with it not flushing due to the surging of the water. You can see in the left hand photo that there is an inflatable bladder that allows them to adjust the flow into the hole and they continue to tinker with it (and the others). Tim tried it on our first day but found that he flushed more than stuck so didn’t play much there.

Waves two and three are also works in progress – at the moment they are steep troughs and fairly shallow. They are working on developing them into surfing / SUP waves but they aren’t there yet due to water levels.


We spent all of our time down at wave four which was a nice friendly consistent wave that allowed for lots of spin practice. It was wide enough for Tim and Hunter to both surf and spin at the same time and flushes out into a slow moving pool so no big deal for anyone if they swam. It was also easy eddy access.

Check out the video at our Facebook page to see Tim and Hunter surfing together!

Overall this is a very family friendly location and I have great optimism that they will continue to refine and improve the park over the coming year. We understand that they will be doing some work on it over the winter months when the water levels are really low. Water levels are expected to be strong between April 15th and October 15th each year. We stayed at the Scandia RV Park as it was under 10 minutes drive away and a decent price for a clean RV Park. If coming during the summer you should definitely book early as they fill up. The other option is the State Park just north of town, which would probably be a 30 minute drive to the park.

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