Spring is the season for this aggressive river early snowmelt create fantastic whitewater usually through the beginning of June. The Upper Owyhee offers the most difficult and technical whitewater that Northwest Voyageurs runs, including the famous Widowmaker Rapid which can run at Class V+ or can even be unrunnable at some water flows.
The Lower Owyhee is a river trip for those who are looking for a diverse adventure and time to venture into a seldom explored region. You will find a multitude of wild flowers and exotic birds living among the numerous hot springs and awe-inspiring cliffs rising over 1,500 feet above the river. If you’re feeling like cabin fever is setting in this spring, a trip into this seldom-visited territory might be just the remedy you need!
Middle Owyhee River Rafting Expedition
3 or 4 Day Class V Adventure - $1049/$1199
Our adventure begins at 7:00 a.m. (Mountain Time) when we pick you up in Boise at your hotel and head off to our launch site at Three Forks. This is one of the most remote areas in the Pacific Northwest and if the weather is dry and stable, we will make good time. If the road is wet, it may require using chains and 4-wheel drive just to get to the launch site.
After we reach the launch site, the rafting equipment will be rigged and a thorough safety orientation will be given to inform you of the hazards to be aware of along the river. A great lunch will be served before we launch the boats. After a few hours on the river, you’ll enjoy a wonderful meal prepared by the guides and a chance to gather around the campfire to get to know each other better. The menu is always delicious and it is our pleasure to customize meals to meet your requests or any dietary needs you have.
Your level of participation in the trip can be somewhat customized to meet your adventure needs. We have paddle boats, oar boats, and paddle-assist boats which offer varying levels of physical participation. This is a very technical stretch of the Owyhee and therefore paddle boats will only be offered to very experienced rafters. Based on our guests’ experience and the water conditions, we reserve the right to supply oar boats in which the guide has more control.
The second day will be spent running some of the most fabulous whitewater in the West. We will also spend time scouting the major rapids, exploring side canyons, and enjoying the vast scenery and wildlife. While there are plenty of hiking opportunities, you may prefer to just relax in a lawn chair and read one of the many books and field guides we provide. Each night we will discuss plans for the following day.
It is rare to encounter more than one or two other parties on these spring trips. Floating the Owyhee in the early spring provides an exciting opportunity to see a wild desert canyon in full bloom. Lupine, Indian Paintbrush, and other wild flowers abound. Canadian geese and their goslings are seen frequently along the river. Prairie falcons, eagles, and other raptors soar overhead. Bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope may be glimpsed scrambling over the rocky talus slopes. A trip on the Owyhee offers a chance to experience and enjoy one of our most wild and untamed landscapes.
After a hearty breakfast on the third morning, we head toward some of the most technical water on the river. One rapid, Widowmaker, may require lining the boats and portaging the equipment depending upon the exact water flow. There are approximately 6-8 miles of beautiful canyon to enjoy before the trip ends at the small town of Rome, Oregon.
At Rome, we de-rig the boats and equipment. From here we head back to Boise, Idaho, where we can drop you off at your hotel. You can expect to arrive in Boise at approximately 6:00 p.m.
Lower Owyhee Rafting Expedition – Class III
5 Day Trip - $1199 per person
4 Day Trip - $1049 per person
This is an excellent vacation on the main section of the Owyhee River, from, Rome, Oregon to Leslie Gulch, through one of the country’s most remote canyons.
Northwest Voyageurs headquarters in Pollock are quite a distance from the launch site for the Owyhee River trips, so for your convenience we will be meeting everyone at a pre-arranged motel or location in Boise, Idaho. After meeting at your motel at 7:00 a.m., the first half day we will be traveling to the launch site at Rome, Oregon.
After reaching the launch site, the rafting equipment will be rigged and a thorough safety orientation will be given to educate you on various aspects of river safety. After indulging in a sumptuous lunch, we will launch our boats and begin our journey. After an afternoon on the river, you’ll enjoy a wonderful meal prepared by the guides and a chance to gather around the campfire to get to know each other better. The menu is always delicious, but it is our pleasure to vary it, so be sure to let us know if you have any requests or are on a special diet.
Your adventure will include running some of the most fabulous whitewater in the West. We will spend time scouting the major rapids, exploring side canyons, enjoying the scenery and the vast wildlife in addition to actually running the rapids. We bring along the “fun box” filled with Frisbees, snorkeling gear, gold pans, etc., so there is always something going on. You may prefer to just relax in a lawn chair and read one of the many books and field guides we provide or just watch the river roll by. Each night we will discuss where and what we will be encountering the following day.
The river originates high in the mountains of Northern Nevada, the flows North through the Owyhee Uplands until it meets with the Snake River on the Oregon-Idaho border. One of the best kept secrets of the West, the Owyhee is a pristine, free-flowing river that has been recently been added to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The river slices through a high plateau to create canyons up to 1,500 feet deep.
The land bordering the river canyon is rugged and remote. It offers a kaleidoscope of unique geological formations. On the first day or second of your trip you will see the topography change from sagebrush and grass covered slopes to sheer rhyolite cliffs, to towering spires 1,000 feet directly above you tinted in shades of rusts, greens, and grays.
The first feet days of the trip are immersed in this fascinating untouched wilderness. In addition to exhilarating whitewater, we also recommend absorbing the unforgettable scenery and wildlife during side hikes. The river flows at a fast pace through the canyons and many times we will stop to scout the rapids and decide our route through them. Besides hiking and floating, time will be spent soaking in natural hot springs and general relaxation.
Our professional team will assure you a rewarding experience and the bonds formed amongst our clients often develop into long-lasting friendships. You will be delighted by the great food that our crew will prepare for you. We do not furnish alcohol or sodas, but we can provide cooler space for what beverages you may wish to bring. We will bring a variety of mixers as requested. If you choose to bring drinks, we ask that you bring cans or transfer to plastic containers. No glass is permitted on the river.
Numerous thermal springs along the river are the remnants of the recent volcanic activity that dominates the geology of the Owyhee Uplands. A variety of igneous rock types have been produced by tertiary lava flows. The age of the flows found in the vicinity of the Owyhee ranges from 15 million-year-old rhyolites and dacites to the basaltic flows of the Jordan Craters, dated at just 5,000 years.
The older flows often plugged drainages, creating temporary lakes. Sedimentary lake deposits are commonly exposed along the river, often intertwined with basalt. Deep, majestic canyon opens wide as the Owyhee passes though sediments of the ancient lakes, only to close again when layered basalt are encountered.
The canyon is a study in geological beauty and contrast. It is a deep ravine in an otherwise level plateau. Giant slump blocks rest on the river’s terrace, topography varies from right shore to left, and magnificent pinnacles and spires overlook serene hot springs. Multiplicity of rock formations through which the river flows creates the amazingly variable appearances of the Owyhee Canyon.
A raft trip down the Owyhee is unlike any other. We can only raft this river in the spring, the runoff providing challenging and exciting rapids. It is the hearty and adventuresome boater who finds the Owyhee most appealing. In this remote region, experience and proper equipment is a necessity. Rarely do we encounter more than one or two other parties on these spring trips. To float the Owyhee in the early spring is your chance to see the canyon in full bloom. It is a chance to experience and enjoy the wild and untamed Owyhee.
* There are 3 separate tours with itineraries and prices
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USA Idaho Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting
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