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Oregon’s Wild and Scenic

Owyhee River

A hidden adventure in Oregon's Grand Canyon

Owyhee River

  • Length: 48 miles / 5 days
  • Season: April
  • Activities: Class II/III rafting + kayaking
  • Minimum Age: 12
  • Includes: Professional guides, exceptional food, and all equipment
  • Meeting Place: Rome, Oregon
  • Trip Cost: $1795/person

Truly Exceptional

Truly exceptional guide team who clearly put the safety of all participants and the environment first. And with no shortage of fun and laughter mixed in. Thank you all!
- Gayle Goschie


Hidden in Southeastern Oregon, this high desert river is as special as it is remote making it qualify for many seasoned boaters’ bucket lists. With columnar basalt formation created by the same geologic hot spot that currently lies beneath Yellowstone National Park, the Owyhee River canyon is a must-see. And although at first glance the landscape might look barren, the Owyhee River is home to an incredibly diverse and exciting environment.

As you make your way down river, you’ll spot pictographs and other evidence of native tribes that pepper the canyon walls. Of the more than 100 different types of birds that live in the area, see how many you can identify. Later at your campsite, watch the river from an immense rock canopy. From the bright sunflower-like Arrowleaf Balsamroot to the aromatic scent of sage in the wind after a light rain to soaking in steaming hot springs while watching a dramatic sunset, the Owyhee River will delight all your senses.

Boots | Owyhee River

We run the lower part of the Owyhee River, 48 miles of Class III rapids from the town of Rome to Birch Creek. The moderate snowpack often melts in a sudden burst, leaving it either too high or low during the majority of the year. This means a rather short and irregular season on the Owyee which simply heightens its appeal. Generally the first half of May is a perfect time to experience the Owyhee and is suitable for boaters of all ages and skill-levels.

Owyhee River Rafting Trip Rhythm

Expect your Owyhee River rafting trip to start off peaceful but then quickly build to the most difficult rapids on Days 3 and 4. The last day is generally easy.

Off the Rafts

Most of the camps have wonderful hikes to the rim of the canyon or other viewpoints to see some of the geologic wonders. We may also camp by hot springs.

Flora & Fauna

Osprey | Owyhee River

Sagebrush, Western Juniper, Balsom Root, Hackberry, Indian Paintbrush, Globemallow, Chukar, Magpie, Western Tanager, Canyon Wren, Red-tailed Hawks. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled high for eagles’ nests as Golden Eagles and other birds of prey are abundant in this river canyon. On an Owyhee river rafting trip Western Tanagers, magpies, and swallows will also be seen swooping overhead and there’s even the chance to spot river otters, pronghorn antelope, or bighorn sheep.

Land Acknowledgement

Our trips on the Owyhee River travel through the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Northern Paiute and in particular the Tagötöka (Taga Ticutta) peoples. We recognize current indigenous peoples and those who were removed from their homelands.

Trip Highlights

  • Hiking up Lambert Dome
  • Camping deep in Iron Point Canyon
  • Soaking in a riverside hot spring
  • Class II and III rapids great for inflatable kayaks

Quick Facts

  • From its source in northeastern Nevada the Owyhee flows through southern Idaho and finally into Oregon
  • Enters the Snake River near Nyssa Oregon
  • Named after Hawaiian trappers in the early 1820s
  • 1984 brought protection to the Owyhee Wild and Scenic River
  • 120 miles of river are now protected, preserving the remaining free-flowing nature

Trip Reviews

Owyhee Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 11 reviews.
5 1

Truly Exceptional

Truly exceptional guide team who clearly put the safety of all participants and the environment first. And with no shortage of fun and laughter mixed in. Thank you all!
- Gayle Goschie

Worth the Wait

I’ve wanted to do this trip for years. It was more than worth the wait. Spectacular river and an amazing team. Who knew you could cook lasagna and pineapple upside down cake in a campsite?!?
- Lauren Norris

Amazing Guides

Your 5 guides on the Owyhee trip are AMAZING! I use to guide a bit, and they are truly wonderful.
- Maxine Dunkelman

I recommend Northwest Rafting Company

The food was incredibly good and healthy. The guides were very personable and fun to hang out with. The hiking opportunities added a wonderful dimension to the Owyhee River trip. I would whole heartedly recommend Northwest Rafting Company to anyone looking for a river adventure. Emily, Brodie, Ellie, Eric, and Natalie worked tirelessly as a team to make us all feel very special. They are the best.
- Greg Zurbrugg

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