River/Creek · Views
To enjoy the full length of this trail, runners must wade across a creek. The water flow can be fast in the late spring and early summer, but generally, mellows out through the end of the season. There is little shade for most of the trail, so be prepared on hot days when the gorge can be scorching.
With just a little effort and some wet feet, this trail ushers runners into a wonderful, high-desert environment full of flowing water and powerful rock formations. Descend to the banks of the Whychus Creek and then follow it to the Deschutes River for a rewarding finish.
From the trailhead, travel down the clear trail through the scattered trees to cross to the adjacent ridge. Over the next few miles, the singletrack works its way along the ridge, revealing an occasional glimpse of the creek. Eventually, the trail drops past a dry waterfall to descend to the clear waters of Whychus Creek. This is the first up-close opportunity to appreciate the large rock formations that make up the layered bluffs in the area, and it's worth a pause.
Get ready, as the lush vegetation ahead surrounds a bridgeless creek crossing. Those not wanting to get wet should turn around. Otherwise, wade across the water to reach the other bank. The water flow is generally greater in the spring and early summer.
Continuing on, the narrow and sometimes-rocky trail rises away from the creek until it returns to the bank for a final, gradual descent down to the confluence with the Deschutes River. The roaring water and shade from nearby ponderosas make a great spot to enjoy a snack or lunch.
Shared By: Eric Ashley