Lower Owyhee River
The Owyhee river is located in southeast Oregon. We plan to float the lower Owyhee, starting at Rome and ending at Birch Creek. The Owyhee is rated II-III+. The word Owyhee is pronounced like Hawaii. It was named after some Hawaiians who were sent to explore the area and never returned.
Currently the plan is to drive May 28 and 29, float May 30 to June 3, and drive back June 4 and 5. This may change if the Owyhee has an early thaw and then we would go from May 7-15. We would like to keep the size of the group in the range from 5-12 people who have floated long trips on similar rivers.
Hosts: Richard Ferguson, firstname.lastname@example.org and Roger Faaborg, email@example.com
Travel Day 1: Drive from Fort Collins to near Ogden, UT. Camp at Willard Bay State Park or stay in a motel near Ogden. It is about 600 miles and takes 6-8 hours. You take 287 to I-80 and drive across Wyoming. Then you get on I-84.
Travel Day 2: Take I-84 to Boise, ID and then 55 and 95 to Rome, OR. Another 600 mile drive. Camp across the river from Rome Station, which is a gas station and restaurant. You can eat dinner there and get a good breakfast before you launch. It also handles the shuttle. You fill out a permit at the campground and leave one copy in the box and take the other copy with you on the river.
- The first 5 miles are through farm land
- Gauging Station
- Owyhee Crossing Bridge, built in 1906
- Crooked Creek enters on river left
- Enter Sweetwater Canyon
- Long Sweetwater Rapid
- Upset Rapid, stay left
- Bulls Eye Rapid, III at 1000 cfs, also stay left
- We camped at Hike-out Campground, about mile 14
- Weeping Wall - Can get drinking water there
- Read-it-and-weep Rapid
- Artillery Rapid
- Enter Chalk Basin, dark bands of lava flows. Pruitt's Castle and Lambert Dome
- Rustler's Cabin on river right, has springs and hot springs
- Hot Springs to wash up in on river left
- We camped at Ryegrass Left, about mile 24
- Hike up Pruitt's Castle
- Bogus Falls on river right, if running
- Dog Leg Rapid
- Potter's Cave, river right
- Whistling Bird Rapid, Class III
- Entering the deepest part of the canyon
- Montgomery Rapid, Class III
- We camped at Cliff Side, just downstream of Montgomery Rapid, about mile 33
- Hole in the Ground Ranch
- Not sure, maybe we camped at Devil's Tower, mile 43
- Stop at Upper Greeley Bar to look at hotsprings, river left
- Hike at Pothole Arch
- Water Wheel
- Birch Creek Take-out
Travel Day 8 and 9: Drive back to Fort Collins.
We have photos of our 2011 float at 5,000 cfs at the bottom of this page:
Here is the start of a nice 5 part video on the Owyhee. It was 540 cfs at the put-in and 470 cfs at the take-out.
There is a nice video of a 215 cfs low water float on the Owyhee. It seems a little too low, but doable. Note how they outfitted their SOAR so it has nothing on the bottom.
How the Owyhee got it's name, see History, Naming
Owyhee River flow at the Rome gauge near the put-in
Owyhee on American Whitewater