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April 25, 2011
Owyhee River Trip Report

 
We just returned from one of the most spectacular and remote river trips anywhere in the US. If you are like most people, you have never seen or even heard of the Owyhee River canyon. While the lower Owyhee is well know among a growing circle of northwest fly fishermen for it's large and plentiful Brown trout, the upper river is primarily experienced by a small number of whitewater rafters during a brief spring runoff period. While there isn't much fishing during this runoff period, the whitewater thrills are a big draw. The rugged and remote canyon's biggest attraction; however,  is the stunning scenery and geology. This canyon is often called the Grand Canyon of Oregon and rightly so. Another attraction is the mark that the indian culture has left on this place. Petroglyphs are common and pictographs and other artifacts are present throughout the canyon. The wildlife is also amazing, especially the raptors and other birds as well as the Bighorn sheep that inhabit the canyon. Add to all this a few hot springs along the way and you have a river trip that is tough to top.

   Unlike most other boaters, we opted for the comfort and maneuverability of our drift boats to float the river. Planning for five days to cover the roughly fifty miles, we pushed off from the Rome launch site at the peak of runoff so far this year, 18,100 cubic feet per second. At this level many of the rapids become less technical as many of the rocks are fully submerged. What is missing in technicality is most certainly made up for in volume, power, and speed. While some parties opted to abandon gear and boats and hike out of the canyon where possible, and other groups decided to beach boats high and dry to wait out the surge, we enjoyed perfect social conditions all trip, seeing few other human beings, and riding out the peak of spring runoff. It is hard to soak up all of the sights the canyon has to offer as you float down river. The scenery changes on most every corner, and we took ample time to stop and explore many of the more notable sites. The boating was fast paced and exhilarating, the scenery spectacular, the company wonderful, and the camp and food first rate. 

   We will be offering five day float trips in the drift boats on the Owyhee River in a partnership with the BLM in the near future. You can expect the same guides you have come to know, the same great food with a focus on dutch oven cuisine, and our deluxe camps on this spectacular Oregon river. Please enjoy the pictures from our trip and contact us for more information about this trip. 
 


Stream Flows
  • DESCHUTES RIVER - Madras
  • Flow (cfs): 4410
    Temperature (°F): 56.48
  • DESCHUTES RIVER - Moody
  • Flow (cfs): 5270
    Temperature (°F): 69.08
  • JOHN DAY RIVER AT SERVICE CREEK, OR
  • Flow (cfs): 1130
  • OWYHEE RIVER NR ROME OR
  • Flow (cfs): 615
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