Over 3,000 Whitewater River Miles

Idaho, the wild rivers state.

Owyhee River [OW1]

Overview

This stretch of the Owyhee, an isolated, desert wilderness, contains by far the best whitewater on the Owyhee system. It’s best early spring; watercourses in this arid region have been reduced to a trickle by summer. Though this stretch of the Owyhee does not have the high, vertical walls of the canyons upstream, it is still a beautiful run. The long flat stretches between the sets of class III, IV, and V rapids allow you to enjoy the scenery while your heart slows down. As the water drops below 2000 cfs the run becomes more difficult for rafts because of rocks; below 1500 cfs it is probably too low to run in rafts.

The action begins at Ledge Rapid (Class IV), 1.5 miles after the put-in. Rapids follow in quick succession. The most difficult is Widowmaker (Class V), 20 miles from the put-in. Widowmaker is in a narrow, straight stretch of canyon with a talus slope on the right. It can be scouted and portaged on the right.

The Owyhee is reputed to have a healthy rattlesnake population, so keep your eyes open and your toes nimble. An excellent detailed river guide is available from the BLM in Boise. There are commercial trips available.

Logistics:

The take-out is at Rome, Oregon, where U.S. 95 crosses the Owyhee. To reach the put-in, go 16 miles east on U.S. 95. Turn south on a dirt road. Continue 35 miles to Three Forks.Additional Info: The BLM is Boise offers an excellent boating guide. Also a waterproof mile-by-mile map is available from: River Graphics, 95 Camino Basque, Boulder, CO 80302

Location