The Owyhee River
8 hours from Portland/Eugene/Medford
Have you always wanted to do a Grand Canyon river trip, but never have three consecutive weeks of vacation? Consider a five day trip on the Owyhee!
Draining from the remote mountain corners of eastern Oregon, northern Nevada and southwest Idaho, the Owyhee River is a classic multi-day high desert canyon trip. You'll float through a gorge up to 3000 feet deep while squeezing past basaltic cliffs jutting a thousand feet straight up from the water. Witness the sunset light show embellish the geologic rainbow contained in the towering rocks, highlighting the layers of mineral color and eon time, in a view as pretty as any in the National Parks of Bryce or Zion.
This nationally designated Wild and Scenic River is a seemingly arid and lifeless environment, until you enter it quietly by raft, taking the time to see surprising amounts of wildlife attracted to the life-giving river: raptors (including eagles, hawks & falcons); bighorn sheep; bobcats; mule deer, and varied waterfowl. The unique beauty of these colorful badlands is made even grander by the bright explosion of spring flowers.
Fortunately, like any good canyon trip, there is plenty of excitement as well. Depending on which section of the river you choose, the whitewater can range from Class III to Class V, with lots of opportunity to get wet and scream your fool head off.
As on all RKRA trips, attention is paid to every detail. From our knowledge of the hot springs, petroglyphs, best hikes and scenic campsites, to our world famous meals and libations, rest assured your comfort and experience will perfectly complement your surroundings. The Owyhee is truly a trip to remember.
Please call for this year's trip dates and special pricing.
Each spring, we proudly offer three different trips on the Owyhee:
The Middle Owyhee - Three Forks to Rome - Class IV+/V
The Middle Owyhee is the most challenging multi-day trip we offer. This expedition is appropriate only for the very adventurous, very fit and experienced whitewater paddlers. (Class V swim test may be required.) This trip is one of total commitment, as we leave the rugged put-in and drift into an inaccessible gorge filled with 38 miles of raft-flipping Class IV & V rapids, boulder fields, ledge drops and wave trains.
In between the action-packed sequences are calmer pools, allowing guests time for reflection, rejuvenation, and for many at the top of Bombshelter Drop, religion. Rewards include soaking in natural hot springs, viewing ancient petroglyphs, bragging rights supported by jaw-dropping photos and a free RKRA t-shirt and hat.
The Middle Owyhee is an epic test of river & wilderness skills that is not for everyone. But for those seeking a true wilderness self-supported adventure, this is one of America's best kept secrets. Veterans of California's Forks of the Kern or Idaho's Snake River will thoroughly enjoy this experience.
Note: Access to the Middle Owyhee put-in becomes difficult in bad weather and the wet season. To maintain the highest level of safety, we reserve the right to switch the trip to the Lower section, if necessary. Also, since a portage of Widowmaker Rapid is generally necessary, we must pack lighter for this trip than usual.
Lower Owyhee - Rome to Leslie Gulch - Class III+/IV
Ahh...all of the beauty and grandeur of the Middle Owyhee, without all the mayhem and heavy lifting. There's no shortage of excitement, though, as this 48 mile voyage encounters numerous Class II, III & IV rapids. Longer stretches of easy flowing water lend themselves to swimming, photography, sunning, and marveling at the wildlife, the geology, and the riotous spring flowers. View abandoned ranches, rustler's cabins and a miner's waterwheel, the historic remnants of hearty settlers who attempted to conquer the inhospitable Owyhee Canyonlands and failed. Stare up into the star-filled sky from the comfort of the campside hot spring. Relax, enjoy, forget and live. On the last day, as we enter the slack waters of Lake Owyhee, your brave & resourceful guide will reveal a hidden motor and use modern technology to cover an additional 17 miles to our takeout.
Owyhee Combo Trip - Three Forks to Leslie Gulch - Class III+ to V
ARE YOU REALLY HARDCORE?
RKRA can make arrangements to conduct a 200 mile (!) wilderness descent of the entire Owyhee. This includes the East Fork, the Upper, the Middle, and the Lower Owyhee. This Class V epic adventure takes two weeks, good timing, and serious fortitude. Both dangerous and expensive, this trip has few parallels in the lower 48 states, making it a once in a lifetime experience. Call us for details.
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