This Owyhee rafting adventure is an experience like non-other. Floating down the Owyhee River you will hardly believe you are in the state of Oregon. This 4 or 5 day trip will leave you with stunning photos, heart-warming memories and a burning desire to go back again the next year, because you just can’t see it all in one trip!
The name of the river is from the older spelling of “Hawaii”. It was named for three Hawaiian trappers who were sent to explore the uncharted river. They failed to return to the rendezvous near the Boise River and were never seen again. Due to this, the river and its region was named “Owyhee”.
The Owyhee River arises from the mountains of northern Nevada and southern Idaho. Because the snow pack in the headwaters is normally not deep, the springtime runoff is rather short-lived despite the impoundment at Antelope and Wild Horse reservoirs far upstream. The Owyhee River has cut a canyon as deep as 3,000 feet down through volcanic rock. In many places the cliffs rise 1,000 feet straight up from the river, this is why many call this Oregon’s Grand Canyon. The countryside is arid with little vegetation and no inhabitants. The steepness of the cliffs and narrowness of the canyon provide a fascinating experience.
This particular stretch of the river has an interesting & diverse landscape. The canyon in general is broad and shallow, although there are several stretches with narrow, steep-walled inner canyons. The predominant basalts found in the upper canyon are inter-bedded with rhyolitic ash and sediments, which add various shades of white, red, green, and black to the canyon walls. Lambert Rocks are colorful badlands eroded from these sediments. The trip has great hikes into basalt rock formations and if you keep a sharp eye out a Petroglyph may be discovered.