First Street Rapids Park is a hidden jewel. Well, for most people. If you are a big fan of the Deschutes River Trail, you have probably ran into this charming property more than once. This park is hidden away downtown. It reminds me a lot of Sawyer Park, with the bridge and the river access.
The features of this park are very minimal. There is a porta-potty near the bridge. I didn’t not see any doggie rest stations. No fountains. No grass. No picnic shelter. First Street Rapids is a one hit wonder, with it’s only appeal is the river access and viewing.
But, what a wonder it is. The river is swift here, the park gets it’s name from the rapids that run through it. Though, on the banks of the river, there are multiple calm spots that have been build with rocks. There are even some great looking grottos, hidden away by tree cover. If you are a sun worshipper, there are big rocks to lay on.
There is no fencing protecting you (or your kids) from the river. So, keep an eye on them. If you are there to swim, please make sure everyone has a life jacket. That rapid looks tamer than it is.
You can access the Deschutes river trail from this park. You can head north towards Sawyer Park, or south towards Pioneer Park. Either path, I hear, is great.
First Street Rapids park is a great hideaway for warm days. The parking situation is pretty horrible, and the amenities are almost non-existent. It is a wonderful place to enjoy the natural landscape of the area.
(A scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the least desirable and 5 is the most desirable)
Overall Score: 3.4
First Street Rapid’s Park is a great river play oasis for a hot day. The natural landscape could make you forget you are in downtown bend, if you ignored all the large homes. The amenities are almost non-existent. As always, be careful with your family around the river.