Every year in December, the Tumalo Creek Holiday Lights Paddle Parade takes place on the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon. This year, I took pictures of them paddling through the snow. I thought maybe there wouldn’t be as many participants, but a little snow falling didn’t stop people from joining in on this annual event.
Here’s a short video of paddlers on the river.
Paddlers decorate their kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and canoes with holiday lights and paddle from Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe for about a half mile to the Flag Bridge in the Old Mill district.
You can see a snow-covered inflatable reindeer on the kayak on the left side of the photo below. I enjoy seeing reindeer wherever I can.
Today I’m sharing Deschutes River sights to see. Since the river, located in central and northern Oregon, is 252 miles long, I’ll show just a few of its riches. At the end of this post, a map shows these locations.
Where the Deschutes begins
The first picture is of Little Lava Lake. This is a more peaceful place to kayak than the much larger Lava Lake. The spot below shows where the Deschutes River begins.
The next picture was taken on another kayaking trip near Harper Bridge in Sunriver. The waters are calm on this part of the river, but get much rougher when you get to Benham Falls, a class V section. I got out well ahead of the falls!
Last night we had a front row seat to watch the paddle parade go by on the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon. This event has taken place for many years, rain or shine. It was kind of blustery weather last night but there were still a lot of people participating in the parade.
The event is hosted by Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe in the Old Mill district. Participants dress up their watercraft and themselves with colorful lights. The parade takes place from about 4:00 to 6:00 pm. After it’s over, everyone gets together for nice warm drinks.
This high elevation lake, 17 miles south of Sisters, Oregon, is a popular spot with visitors. Tam McArthur Rim towers over the south and west sides of the lake, making beautiful reflections at any time of the year. As you paddle around the lake (no motorboats are allowed), you will hear creeks babbling over the rocks as they enter the lake. The water level of this natural lake is controlled by a small dam at the outlet.
We went kayaking at the lake on a cool September morning after the Labor Day crowds left. We had the lake all to ourselves. The small general store was boarded up and closed for the season. A few inches of snow were on the ground.
Ground squirrels, chipmunks, and a scattering of birds were seen along the shores. When I brought my kayak back to the car, I almost had a couple unexpected house guests. Two ground squirrels had climbed into my kayak. I circled them in the picture above to show them running away. They are certainly entertaining!
Little Lava Lake is a small lake that plays a very big role in Oregon. Located in the shadow of Mt. Bachelor, this lake is the source of the Deschutes River. From here, the river winds and meanders to the Columbia River, 252 miles to the north. This river supports a wide variety of wildlife and also provides water for power, irrigation, and drinking. It’s also an important ingredient in local beers.
Water from subsurface springs feed the lake. Occasionally water from Lava Lake, just northwest of Little Lava Lake, flows into this lake. Lava flows from past volcanic activity are visible along the shores.
To the north, you get great views of the Broken Top and South Sister volcanoes. To the northeast, Mt. Bachelor looms over the forest. It is a really scenic place to visit in a kayak! I like kayaking this lake because it has lots of interesting nooks and crannies.
There are great opportunities to see wildlife around this lake. Rushes and sedges form dense stands along the shorelines. Lodgepole pine forests border the lake.
My yard is blanketed with fresh snow and temperatures are in the teens but I’m glad I can think back to a warm summer day kayaking on Hosmer Lake. I hope to explore many new horizons in the new year and share them here.
To learn more about my great trip to Hosmer Lake, click here.
Exploring the Deschutes River near Sunriver, Oregon
We recently went on a nice leisurely kayaking trip down the Deschutes River. We parked one car at Benham Falls East Day Use area and parked the other where we launched at Harper’s Bridge, Sunriver, Oregon. It took a little over 3 1/2 hours on a warm September day. The trip is about 10 river miles long.
This is a meandering river that passes through beautiful meadows and forested areas. We saw a few people close to the Sunriver Marina but didn’t see many more on the trip. This float ended near parts of the lava lands of Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
Sunken sights await you at Clear Lake in Linn County, Oregon. This “young” lake was formed by nearby volcanic activity 3,000 years ago. The McKenzie River originates here.
Clear Lake Underwater Forest
The cold water temperatures preserved a forest of ghostly trees beneath the surface. The water temperature averages 35-43° F. Brrrr! The leaves and needles of the trees are long gone but their trunks and limbs stand like some prehistoric creature preserved in time. Some visitors get a closer look at the underwater sights by scuba diving here.
Have you ever finally made it to a place that people had told you you HAD to go to? For me that place was Hosmer Lake. Why didn’t I go here sooner?!
We went early on a mid-weekday morning. I had heard about the crowds sometimes here on weekends. It can get very crowded – especially in the summer.
There is a concrete boat ramp leading into a bulrush-lined meandering lake. After boarding our kayaks, we were soon greeted by a bald eagle perched in a nearby tree. It was almost as if it had been planted there for a photo opportunity. We paddled on and took a channel to the left.