Deschutes River Trail
Low Point: 200'
High Point: 700'
Season: All Year
DirectionsDrive east on I-84 to the Celilo Falls exit, follow the signs to the Deschutes River Campground.
This is a great early season hike, with lots of wildlife (particularly birds). We do it annually, the last time being April 4, 2009. On that hike, we saw nearly 40 species of birds (not at all unusual), including several types of raptor, violet green swallow, a million common mergansers, rock and canyon wrens. A bit later in the year, the area is a haven for indigo bunting, yellow-breasted chat, tanangers, orioles, marsh wrens, and numerous others. In April, the balsam root was just beginning to bloom; it's positively spectacular later in the month, at least as good as Dog Mountain (an a lot easier!).
The trail starts out following the river for 3.5 miles to the remains of an old homestead. It then jogs up to a gravel road (very popular with mountain bikers). It follows the road for a mile or so before heading up the grassy, sagebrush covered hillside for wonderful views of the canyon and the Columbia River beyond. The trail rejoins the road approximately three miles later. From there you can either follow the road back to the parking lot, or take the rugged trail back down to the river.