Owyhee River Float Trips

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Owyhee River Float Trips

The River:

 
   Often described as a "bucket list" trip, the Owyhee River is our favorite river float trip in Oregon, period! A tributary of the Snake River, it drains a huge and remote area of the arid corners of Nevada, Idaho, and Oregon. Its watershed is expansive and very sparsely populated so this trip offers a level of solitude rarely attainable anywhere else in the United States. The Owyhee River and its tributaries flow through the Owyhee Plateau, cutting deep canyons, often with vertical walls and in some places over 1,000 feet deep. Much of the year the Owyhee River doesn't cary enough water to float even a small raft but during a narrow and variable window each spring the runoff provides enough water to float this river. During runoff season the narrow canyons and alluvial debris fans create big waves and exciting rapids which are but part of the attraction here. The scenery and geology as well as the abundant wildlife occupy your senses between the rapids. There are plenty of historical sites, Indian petroglyphs, side hikes, and riverside hot springs as well. Come explore this river with us.   


Brief History:

    The river was named for three Hawaiian trappers, in the employ of the North West Company, who were sent to explore the uncharted river and were never seen again. The Owyhee watershed was part of region inhabited by the Shoshone and Bannock Indians for thousands of years prior to white man's arrival and there is ample evidence, even today of their presence. The discovery of gold and silver in the region in 1863 resulted in a temporary influx of miners and the establishment of mining camps, most of whom have long since disappeared. A few scattered ranches and farms are all that remain. In 1984, Congress designated 120 miles of the river as The Owyhee Wild and Scenic River offering protection from any further human encroachment.  

Wildlife:
   The canyon is home to a wide variety of large raptors including Kestrels, Prairie and Peregrine Falcons, Northern Harriers, Osprey, and Golden Eagles. Upland game birds including Ring-Neck Pheasants, Chuckar, and Valley Quail are abundant, and there are great densities of various migratory waterfowl. Larger animals include Mule Deer, Elk, Beaver, Bobcat, and Bighorn Sheep.

Geology:

   On the Owyhee, the scenic beauty of this trip is heavily derived from the amazing geology through which this river flows. The canyon cuts down through the strata of the Owyhee Plateau, composed of sediments deposited in shallow lake basins, interspersed with volcanic deposits. Around Rome the river flows through an open valley for a short distance before dropping into a series of very narrow canyons, which consists of alternating thin, fossil-bearing lake and stream sediments, and thicker lava flows composed of black and grey rhyolite. Of great scenic interest, Lambert Rocks is a fantastically eroded monolith, a striking series of black lava flows that provide sharp contrast to the lighter colored lake sediments. As the river turns sharply to the east it enters Green Dragon Canyon which is one of the most picturesque sections of the river. The rocks here are predominantly banded rhyolite, and the varicolored pinks and grays characteristic of this rock are spectacular. Downstream from Green Dragon Canyon the river flows past old lakebed , coarse sand and gravel stained in multiple hues by oxidized iron in the sediments.  This brightly colored rock formed in an ancient stream and lake environment that experienced a series of volcanic ash flows and Greely Basin in particular offers amazing views.

Our Owyhee Trips:
   We run the Owyhee River in style, utilizing drift boats for a dry comfortable ride you just can't get in a raft. This allows you to keep your camera out and ready to capture some of the amazing views. Like all our other trips, camps are comprised of a large wall tent to gather, socialize, and eat in, just in case the weather is less than ideal; six man outfitter tents for each two guests; comfortable cots with Therma-rest deluxe pads, and all the other luxury amenities you expect from us. Meals are hearty family style affairs featuring dutch oven breads and main dishes, grilled fish, meats, and great side dishes, vegetables, and salads. Our trips are five days in length in order to have a relaxed pace and be able to enjoy all that the canyon has to offer. Layover days are a recommended option to allow even more exploration of the canyon.

The cost for the 5 day trip is $2250 per person with a four person minimum.



 

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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