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Middle Deschutes River

The Middle Deschutes River and Scout Camp offer fine hiking, views and fishing.
Closest townRedmond
Hikers at Scout Camp
ONDA volunteers hiking the Scout Camp trail.
Photo: Gena Goodman-Campbell
Driving distance 20 miles
Best time to visit September-June
Recommended hike Scout Camp
Hike distance 3 miles round trip
Hike difficulty* 4

Driving Directions from Redmond: Head north on Highway 97. After passing through Terrebonne, turn left onto Lower Bridge Rd. Following signs to Crooked River Ranch, take a right on 43rd, then a left onto Chinook.  Follow Chinook for 2.5 miles then turn left on Mustang, bearing right to stay on Mustang. Go 1 mile and turn right on Shad.  Go 1.5 miles and turn right on Peninsula.  Go 3.2 miles and turn left onto Meadow. Scout Camp Trail will be your third right, after about half a mile.  Proceed to the parking area and trailhead.

Trailhead amenities: None.  There are no bathrooms or water available at the trailhead. Come prepared with plenty of drinking water and supplies to pack out all waste.

The Hike: The Scout Camp trail is a 3 mile loop, which is best hiked in a clockwise direction.  About a third of a mile from the trailhead, the trail descends steeply into the Deschutes River Canyon. If you have trekking poles, you will want to bring them along for this hike! On the way down, enjoy the fascinating geology of the canyon walls and views of the river below. Just before ascending back up to the trailhead, the trail will seem to end at a boulder by the river.  To proceed up the rest of the loop, you will have to scramble over the boulder. The climb is well worth it-- those who make the full loop are rewarded with spectacular views of the confluence of Whychus Creek and the Deschutes River.

Activities allowed: The Scout Camp Trail was designed for hiking only.  Dogs are allowed on the trail, but horseback riding, biking, and motorized vehicles are not allowed.

Take only photographs, leave only footprints!

Wilderness areas are some of the most prized lands in our country.  When visiting wild areas, it is imperative that you follow the following "Leave No Trace" principles:

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare – Know the rules of the area you’re visiting. Research current conditions and weather in the area and always travel prepared for emergencies or inclement weather.
  • Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces – Minimize your impact by sticking to established trails and campsites or durable surfaces such as rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.  Avoid walking off trail through sensitive riparian areas or on steep slopes. Make your camp at least 200 feet from creeks, lakes and rivers, and leave your site as you found it.
  • Respect Wildlife – Observe wildlife from a distance to allow them peace in their natural environment. Do not follow or approach them and never feed wild animals.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly – Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Always pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • Leave What You Find – Leave rocks, plants, animals and historical artifacts as you find them. Examine, but do not touch, cultural or historical artifacts such as structures and rock art.
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts – Know the current regulations on campfires for the area and follow the rules. When fires are allowed keep them small and in control at all times. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors – Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience by being courteous and yielding to other visitors on the trail. Let nature’s sounds prevail by avoiding loud voices and noises. Avoid cliffs and steep areas and be conscious of hikers below you on the trail who may be hurt by any debris that you knock loose.


* Hike difficulty ratings:

1= Like a walk in your local city park.  Trail surface is generally flat and level.

2= Trail is generally flat, with some rocky terrain and slight elevation gain.

3= Trail may include rocky or loose terrain, with steep sections and moderate elevation gain.

4= Trail is steep and rocky, with elevation gain of more than 1000 ft.  May feature rock scrambles or other challenging features. Trekking poles recommended.

5= Off-trail travel.  Terrain is variable and potentially steep.  Good map and compass navigation, backcountry travel skills a must.

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Oregon Natural Desert Association
50 SW Bond Street, Suite 4,
Bend, OR 97702
Tel: (541) 330-2638

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