This is a place with incredible scenery where floating through vertical walled canyons begins to feel normal. Unplug and spend a week on the Wild and Scenic Owyhee River. This Owyhee rafting adventure is an experience like non-other. Part of our segment on “packrafting” on the east fork of the Owyhee River. In just 346 miles, the Owyhee River ­flows through three states and some of the most remote country in the Northwest. Make sure to check the USGS site for real time river data when planning your trip. The Lower Owyhee, headed north toward its confluence with the Snake River, is wild but a little mellower. When the snowpack at South Mountain goes to zero, the river flow typically drops below 900 cfs. Learn more about our environmental and social responsibility program. Being early spring, the river canyon was full of flowering plants and animal life. Camps are first come first serve. The trip itself is typically completed over 4-6 days by private groups as well as the many outfitters that offer fully guided trips. Create a free Patagonia account. "I get this amazing sense of being 'out there.' When the snowpack at Jack Creek Upper goest the zero, the river flow typically drops below 300 cfs. We have no time limit on returns and accept both current and past-season products. Pothole Arch (Mile 47.6) River left. Enters the Snake River near Nyssa Oregon. Pruitt's Castle (Mile 24.75) A unique geological formation. This trip is a photographers dream! True, the ‘lake’ is dominated by fisher folk. The Owyhee is one of our favorite spring rivers and between the Lower and Middle Owyhee we run more trips than any other company. Once the river drops below 1000 cfs the river becomes much more technical as the rocks start emerging in the middle of the rapids making the float more challenging. Rafters and kayakers who drive a hundred miles and more from Boise, Bend and points beyond can float its waters into a deep desert gorge to experience the solitude of a place so far removed from the glow of civilization, its black skies afford some of the best stargazing in the U.S.In most years, the river flows strong enough to float a boat for just a few months. Photo: Jim Little, Our crew was definitely Wild for the Owyhee. Photo: Jim Little. Damage due to wear and tear will be repaired at a reasonable charge. Snowpack information for the Owyhee River Basin in Idaho can be found on the USDA NRCS web site. Visitors will find picnic tables and grills at 36 family ca... Our nearest neighbor is about 2 miles away, we're remote, but accessible... if you don't mind a couple of miles of gravel road. The Owyhee’s volcanic and rhyolite cliffs towered a thousand feet in places making hikes to the canyon rim well earned. Additional Resources & River Maps Most people have never heard of the Owyhee Canyonlands, let alone pulled over to visit. Upper Greeley Bar (Mile 44) River Left, A Hot-springs wetland and campsite. The river is perfect for taking in vast desert landscapes with steep-walled canyons and a very prolific river chock full of massive brown trout! You’ll need to bring your own gear. Photo: Jim Little. I count myself among the fortunate few who have experienced the Owyhee’s beauty and deep solitude. Area frequently inhabited by bighorn sheep. This Owyhee kayak trip will flow through dramatic, multi-colored canyons, reminiscent of places like Bryce and Zion National Parks in southern Utah. Everything we make has an impact on people and the planet. Bighorn sheep, renowned for their surefootedness on high cliff ledges, were harder to spot, though a couple of hunters in our party managed to pick some out. The Idaho Owyhee is a magical place which truly embodies what it means to be a Wild and Scenic River. The trip is a remarkable, singular way to experience the high desert and all the stories it holds. There is a small window for floating the river due to the water levels. We stopped at Weeping Wall Springs to fill a couple of jugs before continuing downstream, camping on sand bars along the way. Get info on rapids, camps, access, and anything … Devil's Tower (Mile 42.75) A miniature version of the the more famous. Having guides like Stu and Brent, who could point out the plant Native peoples used to make arrow shafts, and tell you roughly how long ago the lava flowed hot, greatly enriched our understanding and experience of the Owyhee. Fewer people do the Middle Owyhee than the Lower Owyhee due to the narrower flow window, smaller camps, and the Class V+ Widowmaker. Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies for the Owyhee River Oregon Fly Line: We recommend a 4, 5, or 6 weight, floating fly line for most of the fishing. During peak usage you are likely to find one or more of the camps you planned to stay at occupied. But running the Owyhee is more than just Some camps are large enough for two parties to spread out but make sure that your neighbors are cool with that idea before unloading your boat. Keep an eye out for nesting birds of pray high above on the cliffs. If you are using a screen reader and having difficulty please call us at 1-800-638-6464. Two formidable portages keep most people out of this hard-to-access area. Native people lived on the river for thousands of years, as evidenced by cultural sites such as this. Sign up for exclusive offers, original stories, activism awareness, events and more. Within the canyon walls mountain juniper grows, as well as sagebrush, willow, hackberry and numerous grasses. Can’t decide between jackets? The first 5-6 miles of river are flat surrounded by farms and can be quite a bear if there is a strong upstream winds. Depending on the flow and section of river you choose to float there will be at least Class IV rapids, and there could be up to Class V+. AWAY FROM EVERYTHING. Featured Outfitter Northwest Rafting Company (541) 450-9855 is an award-winning group of professional, well-trained guides that lead people down … There is a reason this tributary of the Bruneau has so often been likened to the Grand Canyon. We soaked in one of the hot springs along the banks of the river, hiked to cultural sites adorned with ancient and unfathomable Native rock art and drifted by an old homesteader’s cabin. Floating down the Owyhee River you will hardly believe you are in the state of Oregon. Floating Through Nowhere on the Owyhee River Jim Little / 7 Min Read / Activism The Owyhee River flows 346 miles from northeastern Nevada before dumping into the Snake River on the Oregon/Idaho border. Our group was obsessive in that regard, but a pair of Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife troopers, who dropped by our camp to check permits and camp conditions, also floated the river to enforce the ethic at all camps. The rapids of the Owyhee can be described as pool and drop with some fun bouncy wave trains when the flows are above 1000 cfs. Visitors will marvel at the variety of birds and mammals, including river otters, bighorn sheep and golden eagles. My prior rafting experience was limited to a couple of day trips, and I was happily surprised by all the things we could, and did, bring with us. The river was flowing at 1,150 cubic feet per second when we put in, which was low—a level that required constant rowing in all but whitewater. Once the river drops below 1000 cfs the river becomes much more technical as the rocks start emerging in the middle of the rapids making the float more challenging. Floating Through Nowhere on the Owyhee River, They’re hoping to permanently protect the area. The Big Wide Open The Owyhee Canyonlands is a vast landscape that embraces more than 3 million acres of public lands in Southwest Idaho, Eastern Oregon, and northern Nevada. T... Weeping Wall (Mile 17.75) River left, coldwater springs dripping from a rock wall provide great location to refill water supplies, Ryegrass Hot-springs (Mile 23.75) River left, un-maintained hot-springs with small pool suitable for one person at a time. Trip leader Brent Fenty, executive director of the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), had put together our float, inviting a couple of his close friends, ONDA supporters and staff, and me—a Patagonia employee from the marketing department on a company-sponsored environmental internship aiming to do what I could to help ONDA and others working to keep the Owyhee wild. My son Drew is ready to roll at the Rome put-in for the Lower Owyhee River. The corridor also has some wonderful side hikes to view the above mentioned attractions as well as to some beautiful vistas overlooking the canyon and river below. Trip leader Brent Fenty, executive director of the Oregon Natural Desert Association, inspired confidence on the oars. It is a good idea to have a couple campsite options on your itinerary each day in case your planned sites are not available. This trip is perfect for those who want to get away from it all! adventures and follow local regulations. Floating along the Owyhee River in Oregon, you will pass through astonishing high desert canyon lands with thousand foot rhyolite cliffs and sand castle rock formations. The Owyhee River and its tributaries are located in the "Owyhee Volcanic Field," an area of volcanic activity from the Miocene Era (25 to 3 million years ago). Rome, Burns and Jordan Valley are the nearest towns of any note. A short steep hike up to a natural rock arch. Brent was raised in eastern Oregon. Visiting it by river, accompanied by such a wonderful group of people while on the company dime, made it even more delicious. The last four years, a lack of rain and snow rendered it too boney to float most boats at all. There are signs of volcanic activity everywhere in this region, though multi-layered Chalk Basin also has interesting sedimentary features. The only facilities are located at the put-in and take-out sites. Unsure of your size? If you are not satisfied with one of our products at the time you receive it, or if one of our products does not perform to your satisfaction, our Ironclad Guarantee allows you to return it for a replacement or refund at no charge. such an amazing and untouched place. Owyhee River rafting trips take you deep into the canyon with landscape that reveals a geologic history beginning nearly 14 million years ago. When the water clears and drops to lower levels, you can fish for smallmouth bass. Please explore responsibly! This is the most dramatic area of hoodoo formations within the entire Owyhee River system. We’ve pledged 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. Our party of 12 traveled in three catarafts and a raft fully loaded with food, beverage and gear. Logistics and weather can be a little tricky for this float but adds to the overall adventure. Bonnie, Rico, Kelley and Lawrence enjoy hanging out in camp on the afternoon of Day 3, below Montgomery Rapids. Moor boats at campsite when using the hot-springs. On a hike in Chalk Basin, we stopped for a moment to chat, unwittingly standing two feet from a rattlesnake that fortunately paid us no mind. Just some highlights from this scientific research trip on one of Oregon’s most amazing rivers. Floating the Owyhee Canyonlands Get ready for a unique adventure in one of the best-kept secret spots in North America – the Owyhee Canyonlands. You are allowed to drive out and camp anywhere on the playa except for along the west side, which is private property. Orders are shipped within 1-2 business days and arrive within 3-10 business days. Buy used, trade in and fix your gear through Worn Wear. Campsite on river left is limited to 1 night stay. There is an alternate takeout located at Leslie Gulch 15 miles further down river but it requires a 9 mile long flat water paddle on Lake Owyhee. Our group was out of Bend, though I’d driven up from southern California and another in our party had come down from Sandpoint, Idaho, to get a rare chance at the river. © 2021 The Outbound Collective - Terms of Use - Privacy Policy. Along this section of river you will pass some of the most unique geology and colorful rock formations, ancient petroglyphs, abandoned ranches, caves, wildflowers, river-side hot springs, and abundant wildlife. During periods of heavy rain the road may be impassable due to deep water. By providing your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Owyhee River rafting trips on the East Fork and South Fork with ROW Adventures since 1979. The takeout at Birch Creek is located 49.5 miles downstream from the put-in. Photo: Jim Little, Trappers, miners and homesteaders are also part of Owyhee history. We marveled at the hoodoos, basalt pillars and apartment building-sized rocks that defied gravity on the steeps. Photo: Jim Little. But the importance of protecting this incredible place, and others like it, lies more in the Owyhee’s value to the wild and increasingly threatened species that depend on it, than it does to visitors like me who come to raft, camp and hunt. Truly unreal experience drifting through those gnarly canyons. Camping is first come first serve but depending on the time of year it won't be crowded at all. Both customers and guides who float through the deep “Grand Canyon-esque” gorges of this river come away changed from the awe-inspiring landscape. Camping is limited to 1 night. Vertical faces of rock, 300 to 1000 feet high, tower above the river. Balsamroot lit up the Owyhee’s rugged landscape. It can also be boated on low water years or later in the year in kayaks or pack-rafts. Owyhee River is truly remote, primitive, and wild. We're committed to building a better, more inclusive home for the modern outdoors. There was also bright Indian paintbrush, phlox and desert mallow growing amid invasive cheatgrass. Need it sooner? Getting to the Little West Owyhee River where Oregon Desert Trail Section 21 begins is a logistical challenge. The trip is a remarkable, singular way to experience the high desert and all the stories it holds. Great spot to hike and explore. Yet for some of the best views of the canyons being in the water gives some … We Because we know prioritizing durability results in consuming less energy, wasting less water and creating less trash. One of the big advantages of floating the Lower Owyhee is that you follow a paved road (U.S. 95) to the boat-launch site in Rome, Ore. To float the upper forks of the Owyhee, you have to drive for many miles on unimproved 4WD Owyhee River Rafting The headwaters of the Owyhee River are in Nevada. Feature length documentaries, shorts and more. Photo: Jim Little, This Class IV rapid had a special kayak-trapping hole called the “room of doom.” Photo: Jim Little, The hikes are steep, but the views well worth the effort. Photo: Jim Little, Taking off the river’s chill at one of the hot springs along the bank. Stuart Garrett, a retired doctor and amateur natural historian from Bend, ably answered our every question (some more than once), whether botanical, geological or anthropological. The rapids of the Owyhee can be described as pool and drop with some fun bouncy wave trains when the flows are above 1000 cfs. © 2021 Patagonia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. with the snow this year you may be able to run the river into June. I think that when you decide to travel through Oregon, you anticipate a scenery that surrounds you in luscious green forests and crystal blue rivers that you cannot take your eyes off of. We spent 7 days floating this spectacular ever changing river with my two friends from Idaho. Flexible shipping options are available. Within this gorge can be found extensive areas of rhyolite pinnacle formations known as “hoodoos." Provide your account email address to receive an email to reset your password. Photo: Jim Little. Out in this part of the world, the green flow of the Owyhee River is the main attraction. The river is named after Hawaiian trappers who headed downstream in the early 1800s never to be seen alive again. True, the ‘lake’ is dominated by fisher folk. 1984 brought protection to the Owyhee Wild and Scenic River. We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Sinking, sinking tip and other type lines could be used for specific applications. Our 6-day Owyhee River rafting trip is a guide favorite and an avid paddler’s dream trip though Southeastern Oregon’s Grand Canyon, combining sheer, plunging cliffs of dark amber, gold, ruby red and pearl with fun Class III rapids and excellent wildlife viewing. At night,... Leslie Gulch, a canyon on the border of Oregon and Idaho, is full of almost surreal rock formations made up of tuff from volcanic eruptions 15 million years ago.To walk around in these canyons is like being transported into another world. They’re hoping to permanently protect the area, either through an act of Congress or by the president. “Owyhee Adventures” airs tonight, Sunday, at 7 p.m. The wild Owyhee River whittles a dramatic, narrow canyon through the highlands of southern Idaho and Oregon, cutting through the rhyolite and basalt plateau as it has for millennia. Many of the people who see this landscape today do so by floating the Owyhee River. Photo: Jim Little, You want to watch where you step in the Owyhee. The road out of the canyon requires four wheel drive and higher ground clearance due to the rough road and stream crossings. THE LAST TIME I DID IT I DIDN'T SEE A SINGLE SOUL ON THE RIVER IN 2 DAYS. We saw raptors, chukar and scores of noisy geese with their downy goslings. Many of the people who see this landscape today do so by floating the Owyhee River. Floating the Owyhee is popular in the spring during higher water flows. At around mile 6 the river enters a canyon where the wind is typically less of a factor. Topping off the jugs at Weeping Wall Springs. The Owyhee River from Rome, Oregon to Birch Creek, Oregon is a 3 day float trip. Concerned about the environmental impact? THIS IS AN AMAZING FLOAT. You get in the rhythm of being on the river and in the canyon, of Named after Hawaiian trappers in the early 1820s. Track orders, save products, easy hassle-free returns & exchanges. But it doesn't stop there - with deep knowledge of the canyon, it's flora and fauna - your day riverside is bound to be unforgettable. Though the Owyhee has some of the best intact wildlife habitat in the Lower 48, its roughly 2.5 million acres are managed mostly by the BLM and lack any sort of safeguards, save Wild & Scenic River status along 120 miles of river. Owyhee River Fly Fishing OWYHEE RIVER GUIDE TRIPS The Owyhee River is Oregon's finest tailwaters. This is an absolutely fantastic river trip due to some spectacular scenery and a few great Class IV rapids. Our fishing guides are knowledgeable and expert fly fisherman with years of experience on the "O". Jackson Creek/Jackson Hole (Mile 37) Great camp and trail to explore up Jackson Creek to discover some unnamed waterfalls. From its source in northeastern Nevada the Owyhee flows through southern Idaho and finally into Oregon. 67 miles of the Owyhee River. Some of the major rapids to note on this section of river are: The put-in located in Rome, OR is just off US-95 in the heart of a fertile agricultural area. Highly knowledgeable and super passionate about the high desert, he makes regular visits to the Owyhee to float and camp, and spends more time than he would like in Washington, DC, advocating for its protection from mining and oil and gas development. Floating the Owyhee is popular in the spring during higher water flows, and low water float trips are possible in smaller craft. We lived well on the river, despite mostly cold, windy and erratic weather. Plan for the spring run-off, water temperature, and weather to be variable and cold. And, whether or not we stop to realize it, there’s also huge benefit for us as humans in simply knowing “nowhere” places like the Owyhee still exist, and if they’re protected, they can be wild forever.

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