On-Shore Hazards

Most accidents occur off the river while hiking, scouting, or in camp. On-shore hazards include: trains, rattlesnakes, poisonous plants, black widows, scorpions, and ticks.

With heavy railroad traffic along the Deschutes River, it is important to stay off and clear of the railroad tracks while scouting rapids and hiking.

Rattlesnakes can be found along the entire Lower Deschutes River. If you see a snake, slowly back up and walk in the opposite direction. Do not attempt to harm or kill it. Stay clear and respect its right to be there.

Poisonous Plants
Recreationists should learn to identify poisonous plants such as poison ivy, poison hemlock, and western water hemlock. Contact with poison ivy and poison oak can cause severe skin irritation, while the ingestion of poison hemlock or western water hemlock can cause death. For more information concerning poisonous plants along the Deschutes River contact the Prineville BLM.
Poison Hemlock Poison Oak Poison Ivy  

Poisonous Insects
Ticks, black widow spiders, and scorpions are a potential hazard primarily during the spring and summer months. Periodic checks of skin and clothing can be made to remove ticks before they attach themselves. Be cautious when turning over logs and rocks to avoid contact with black widows and scorpions.

Wild Fires
Fire closures are in effect during the summer months when high temperatures and low humidities make for extreme fire conditions in the river canyon. Dry vegetation and steep canyon slopes create an extreme fire hazard. Please be careful with stoves. In 1994, a wildfire in the Deschutes Canyon grew from five acres to several thousand in just a few hours! It is not uncommon for wildfires to “jump” across the river and endanger wheat fields and residences along the tops of the canyon. Even a match that appears to be out can start a life-threatening wildfire. Be sure to check the fire regulations before you start your trip.