West Little Owyhee Wild and Scenic River
Bureau of Land Management, Oregon.
This river segment offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Very high
quality off-trail backpacking opportunities with a range of physical challenges await you. The river corridor forms the primary travel route for hikers and backpackers. The cross-country travel here is for the experienced outdoors person.
The river itself offers many cool, clear, secluded pools that are confined by sheer rock walls whose colorful, abstract beauty is the product of eons of erosion and weathering. Between those pools are reaches that flow as riffles or rapids during periods of high water, but which become sandy or gravelly dry reaches in the drier summer months. The solitude and lack of apparent human influence enhance the stark beauty of the river canyon. Views from the canyon rim command a feeling of awe and wonder, as the river and its past are revealed in the rock strata that have been laid there by ancient volcanic activity.
Know Before You Go:
The river can be accessed by vehicle at either the primitive Three Forks Recreation Site or at the undeveloped Anderson Crossing Recreation Site.
Emergency access is extremely difficult, and cell phone coverage is nonexistent within the confines of the canyon.
When recreating on public lands, please practice Leave-No-Trace Principles.
Point of Interest:
Unique to the area is the opportunity to travel by swimming and hiking. Late summer pools bounded by high basalt cliffs must be crossed by those who wish to travel the length of the canyon. These pools are be challenging and exciting obstacles due to the abrupt turns of the canyon which make length of the pools uncertain.
- Wildlife Viewing
Getting there is a challenge, but it’s worth the effort. Note: high-clearance four-wheel drive is highly recommended.
From U.S. 95 near Danner, Oregon: Approximately 16 miles west of Jordan Valley, Oregon, look for a sign marking the Soldier Creek Loop Road, Owyhee Canyon Overlook, and Three Forks. Turn south onto this dirt road and follow it for 36 miles until you reach the rim of the canyon.