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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 and May
  • Activities: Class II/III rafting (great for ages 7+)
  • Includes: Professional guides, exceptional food, and all equipment
  • Meeting Place: Rome, Oregon
  • Trip Cost: $1345/person

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

Binoculars

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.

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 8 reviews.
5 1

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

Great First Rafting Trip with NWRC!

★★★★★
We read about this trip in a backpacker magazine article. This was our first river rafting trip. The staff at Northwest River rafting company made sure we were prepared and informed. The food was more than incredible. Cannot wait to raft another river with them! The guides were so professional, competent, helpful, and real. They were so much more than I could’ve asked for. Loved and appreciated them!
- Jane Zoul

Expectations surpassed!

★★★★★
An amazing outfit with competent, professional, certified, friendly guides that provided delicious, varied and creative meals; knowledgable information about flora and the geology; that engage warmly with their guests. Emily (head guide) is a superb “servant leader”. Our expectations were surpassed on every level.
- Emil G.

Our high expectations were exceeded!

★★★★★
We saw the clip on OPB Oregon Field Guide a couple/few years ago on rafting the Owyhee and decided on the spot we had to go. We identified the NW Rafting Co. name on the rafts, and contacted you. The trip exceeded our expectations, which were high. Your staff, guides, and attention to detail were phenomenal. I would recommend you to anyone in a heartbeat. And did I mention we were blown away by the quality of the meals prepared and served by the guides? You are the best!
- Mary Jo

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