Exploring the Upper Deschutes Canyon

Oregon has a lot of hidden gems when it comes to campsites.  I recently found a canyon on Google maps, where the road closely followed the Deschutes river, and dead-ended.  Being an early season shakedown run this seemed like a great option.

So I called my buddy Jesse and his overland-ready Dodge Ram, and we hit the road.

At the first gravel road on the journey.

We drove from Mt. Hood through the town of Maupin and made our way to the BLM access road that would wind along the river, going deeper and deeper into the canyon.

The road was very well maintained, even given the early-season conditions.

The road is dotted with many little campsites.  We slowed at each to see which one would lend the best experience.  We wanted something off the road yet close to the water.  We were surprised as we rounded a bend, to have a herd of cattle in the road.

Beyond Burgers on the grill, and a cold beer.

We ended up arriving just as the sun set behind the canyon walls.  After a quick camp setup, we broke out dinners and planned on some epic stargazing.

The next morning was very chilly and damp, thankfully the tent heater kept us plenty warm as we prepared for the day.  My wife began her breakfast routines (Field Roast maple sausages and hot Black Rifle Coffee) and my son and I set off to explore the area we couldn’t see well in the dark.

The canyon walls were impressive.

The canyon’s walls were mush steeper than we expected, and they trapped in the morning fog.


The beavertail campground was an awesome landing spot.  It was serene, and peaceful, save for the BNSF freight train that rumbled through in the morning.  I can only imagine once fishing season is in full swing, that these campgrounds are chock full of people.

I ended up flying the drone for a bit, for a peek of the area and a view above the canyon (see the featured image).


We ended up breaking camp later that day and exploring the local towns, having lunch and enjoying a cold brew before the drive home to the mountain.


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