Oregon's Grand Canyon
The Owyhee River slices through the deepest volcanic rock canyon in the United States as it traverses from northern Nevada through southern Idaho and eastern Oregon. The exposed columnar basalt formations were created by the same geologic hot spot now lying beneath Yellowstone. Hot springs percolate up through the rock offering boaters a chance for a relaxing soak.
Traveling 200 miles, this Snake River tributary is only runnable during the spring snow melt in April and May, and due to this short season, the Owyhee remains on the "to do" list of many veteran boaters. Because this Wild and Scenic River is located in a remote corner of southeastern Oregon, and only a handful of people each year make the trek to experience the Owyhee. Those that do all agree that it is worth the trip.
The watershed tends to release most of its water in a sudden burst, meaning that for much of the year it is either too low or too high to run. If there is sufficient water, we explore the rarely run Middle Owyhee, which includes the rapids Ledge, Halfmile Rapid, and Widowmaker (don't worry, we portage that one!) More often, we run the Lower Owyhee from the town of Rome to Birch Creek. This section of river is best know for it's great camps and vertical rock walls. Sometimes, the Lower Owyhee is too low for rafts, so we may run one of our signature Duckie! trips, where everyone on the expedition paddles their own inflatable kayak.
Originally home to the Shoshone and Bannock tribes, the Owyhee Canyon still has pictographs and other evidence of the people who resided there in the past. Many excellent camps are in huge caves, which offer shelter from both hot and cold weather. Watching the river flow by from the snug shelter of a cave, provides a primeval satisfaction like no other.
To book your trip on the Owyhee River call Northwest Rafting Company at (541) 450-9855.