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Few people have had the pleasure of descending into the Owyhee River Canyon, one of the country’s secret gems of wilderness multi-day river rafting.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act has protected over 120 miles of the Owyhee River from development since 1984. Often called Oregon’s Grand Canyon, the Owyhee River contains thrilling Class III rapids in a deep, desert canyon. Bighorn sheep and cougars wander through sagebrush at the base of sheer-walled volcanic canyon walls, nearly twice the height of the Washington Monument.
Guides point out herds of antelope, birds of prey and other distinct wildlife who visit the river for sustenance. Add in stellar archaeological sites and hot springs, and this trip fulfills all the requirements for one of the world’s greatest river journeys.
Hawaiian trappers were first sent into the canyon in 1820, never to return. The harsh environment and difficult rapids proved treacherous for future explorations, allowing the region to remain untouched for generations. While miners ventured into the deep layers of basalt, few others have experienced the intrigue of the Owyhee River wilderness.
The only way to see the depths of the colorful Owyhee Wilderness is on a multi-day raft trip down the river.
Our trip begins 5 days travel upstream from Leslie Gulch. Each day you’ll drift deeper into the wilderness, and deeper into your relaxing river routine. You will calmly float along the river’s path in between the exciting Class III rapids scattered throughout the entire 5 day trip. A riverside lunch, prepared by your guides, will replenish energy levels for the afternoon. Pulling into a favorite camp site, your guides set up the kitchen with captivating scenery all around.
In places like Jackson Creek, Chalk Basin and Green Dragon Canyon, you’ll find colorful side canyons, stunning waterfalls, and scenic ridgelines with amazing views of the river below. Take a hike up a side creek, relax on the beach with a good book, or explore nearby hot springs for a dip in Mother Nature’s hot tub. Your gourmet appetizers and dinner will have you believing you’re in a five-star restaurant. After dinner it’s time to revel in the adventures of the day, tell lies by the fire, or drift off to your personal star-gazer’s paradise.
You’ll wake up to this rich environment and an itinerary of relaxing, exploring and enjoying the river for the next 5 days. A warm breakfast and coffee prepare you for the day’s river journey as your guides talk about what lies downstream.
For additional trip details and a packing list, take a look at our Owyhee River Information Packet. Or simply give us a call at 877.390.9445. We would love to answer any questions you might have.
Rafting on Oregon’s Owyhee River is all about exploring this amazing canyon. Towering canyon walls combine with fantastic Class III whitewater rapids and stretches of meandering desert scenery to create a truly unique wilderness experience. White water rapids, such as Bull’s Eye, Whistling Bird, and Montgomery put up a big show with large waves and boulders, while natural hot springs offer a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery.
A lunch buffet, prepared by your five-star guides restores your energy for more river play and enjoyment in the afternoon.
Landing at camp in the afternoon, your guides will provide camp comforts and exquisite meals while you relax by the river’s edge. There is always time for a game of frisbee or bocce ball as you nibble on appetizers and your guides prepare the evening meal. Eagles soar in the skies above as you enjoy your warm and tasty dinner. The sun sets behind the canyon walls as you sink even deeper into the wilderness and the gentle lull of the river’s flow.
The trip meets in the morning at the Rome Launch Site/ Put-In. We’ll pass out waterproof dry-bags, help you with packing your gear for the trip, and make the final preparations for our river journey (packing boats, rafting orientation from your guides, handing out river gear) before heading downstream.
The trip starts with a nice float from our Rome Valley launch until we enter the first of many gorges. Look for Golden Eagles’ nests high on the canyon walls. Lunch on our first day will be riverside, before entering the first canyon. After running great rapids such as Bullseye and Upset, we’ll arrive at our first camp in time to enjoy a hike or simply relax and listen to the river pass by before preparing a delicious evening meal.
Each day we will follow a similar routine. In the morning you will be awakened by the sunlight creeping down the canyon walls toward your tent and the rich smell of morning coffee and tea. After enjoying a hearty breakfast, we’ll pack up our personal gear, load the rafts, and ready ourselves for another amazing day on the river. We’ll encounter thrilling rapids and enjoy the Owyhee’s incredible canyon scenery, with opportunities for side hikes or relaxing soaks in natural hot springs. Each day we will find a nice riverside lunch spot to replenish the energy levels for more river adventure. In the early afternoon it will be time to choose one of the many unique and beautiful camps the Owyhee has to offer. Many of the camps offer great hiking opportunities for those interested. In places like Jackson Creek, Chalk Basin and Green Dragon Canyon you’ll find colorful side canyons, stunning waterfalls, and scenic ridgelines with amazing views of the river below. After dinner it’s time to revel in the adventures of the day, tell stories by the fire, or drift off to your personal star-gazer’s paradise.
We start our final day on the river in the usual style, with a tasty breakfast before breaking camp and loading the rafts. On our way downstream, we’ll enjoy a leisurely pace as we drift toward our take-out. Upon reaching Birch Creek, we will de-rig the rafts and load the equipment onto our shuttle vehicles. Before we leave, don’t forget to toast the river for yet another amazing descent of this whitewater gem! Your vehicle will be at the take out, so put on some dry clothes and enjoy the spectacular scenery on the drive home.
* Exact camp locations and daily river mileage will vary with water levels and river conditions.
4-Day Owyhee Guide School Trip: April 21 – April 24th (this trip is part of Wet Planet’s guide school)
5-Day Owyhee River Trips: May 5 – 11th, May 12 – 16th, 2020
Youth: $795 (10 – 17 years)
|Sleeping Bag||synthetic and comfortable!||$25|
|Rain Gear||rain jacket|
|Wet Planet Comfort Kit||sleeping bag|
small camp pillow
Our Owyhee River trip will be meeting in the morning of our launch day at the Rome Launch Site/Put-In, which is roughly 32 miles west of Jordan Valley, OR.
The trip will be taking out (ending) at Birch Creek Ranch. All personal and rental vehicles will be at the take-out with all of your personal items so you can get on the road from the take-out instead of having to be shuttled back to Rome.
Arriving by Plane?
The nearest airport is in Boise, ID (115 miles from Rome). There are shuttle services that can drive you from Boise to Rome, they are approximately $200 and can usually take up to 8 people. Another option is to rent a vehicle at the airport. If you need help arranging a shuttle or with any other logistics, we are happy to help. Just give us a call.
While you are on the river, you will need to have your vehicle shuttled to the take-out point by our shuttle service.This convenient service allows you to arrive at the take-out with your vehicle and personal items waiting, saving you many hours of out-of-the-way travel to return to the launch site. The shuttle fee is approximately $140 per vehicle. You will pay the shuttle fee directly to the shuttle service at the start of the trip, but we will take care of facilitating and arranging the service.
* Please provide us with the make, model, color and license plate information for your vehicle at least one week prior to the trip.
The Rome Launch Site/Put-In, which is roughly 32 miles west of Jordan Valley, OR. The launch site is on the Owyhee River, where Hwy 95 crosses the river at Rome; there is not much else around, so it is not difficult to find.
Here is the Google map location for the put-in.
Take I-84 East. Take exit 16 and turn right on 238th. Continue on NE 242nd, left on Burnside, and then continue on US-26 E for 129 miles. Right on OR-126 W, then left onto Hwy 20 E for 102 miles. Take 78 E for 90 miles, then left on US-95 N for 12.5 miles . Rome launch site will be on the right hand side. Allow 6 hours and 45 minutes.
Take I-84 West towards Ontario. Take exit 35 for Northside Blvd. Turn right onto Northside Blvd. Take a left at W. Karcher Rd, continue onto Sunnyslope Rd and then onto ID-55 S. Take a Left at US-95 S. Follow US-95 S for around 77 miles, the Rome launch site will be on the left hand side. Allow 2.5 hours for the drive.
Take I-90 East towards Bellevue/Spokane for 108 miles. Take a slight right at US-97, follow signs for I-82 East. Stay on I-82 East for 142 miles. Take exit onto I-84 East towards Pendleton. Stay on I-84 East for 200 miles. Take exit 3 for US-95 South towards Payette/Parma. Follow signs to stay on US-95 for 110 miles. The Rome launch site will be on the left hand side. Allow 9 hours.
Take I-82 E towards Pendleton/Umatilla for 30 miles. Take the exit into I-84 East towards Pendleton. Stay on 1-84 E for 200 miles. Take exit 3 for US-95S towards Payette/Parma. Follow signs to stay on US-95 S for 110 miles, the Rome launch site will be on the left hand side. Allow 5 hours and 40 minutes.
Getting Back Home
Our Owyhee trip will be taking out at Birch Creek Ranch. All personal and rental vehicles will be at the take-out with all of your personal items so you can get on the road from the take-out instead of having to be shuttled back to Rome.
Here is the Google maps location for the Birch Creek take-out.
From Birch Creek to US-95 N Junction:
From US-95 N Junction to Portland:
From US-95 Junction to Boise:
From US-95 Junction to Seattle:
From US-95 Junction to Tri-Cities:
Sometimes stuff happens. We highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance to guard against life’s surprises (unexpected late cancellations, travel delays, medical emergencies, etc.).
While we provide all group camping equipment and meals (including tents, sleeping pads, and camp chairs), you will need to provide clothing and personal gear for off the river and at camp. Below is a suggested packing list to use for your river expedition.
Always be prepared for changing weather! Appropriate clothing on a multi-day river trip is important for both comfort and risk management. While on the river, we could experience warm sunny days, cold rainy days, or anything in between. We need to be prepared for all possibilities. When planning for your trip, try to use the “layering system”. By bringing clothing that can be worn under or on top of others, in layers, you will have the flexibility to adjust to a variety of weather conditions. Make sure that you have warm layers made of synthetic materials (not cotton), such as polypropylene, capilene, or wool. Cotton does not keep you warm when it is wet!
For river travel, we will provide you with river clothing: wet suit, booties, paddle jacket; helmet and PFD (personal flotation device). We will also provide a dry bag (like a large waterproof backpack) to protect your belongings from the water.
Optional Rental – Wet Planet Comfort Kit: sleeping bag, rain jacket, rain pants, small camp pillow, ground sheet ($40)
Optional Items: Sandals or flip-flops, binoculars, diary, sketchbook, a good paperback book, camera, paddling jacket & pants, small travel pillow, musical instrument.
Wet Planet will have coffee and tea ready for you first thing each morning. Water and lemonade/punch/gatorade will be available throughout the day. At dinner, there will be hot drinks available (hot cocoa, hot cider, tea), as well as a bottle of wine for the group.
If you would like additional personal beverages at camp, such as soda, beer, wine, liquor, etc., you’re welcome to bring your own. We will have a cooler with us to put beverages in. No glass bottles; broken glass and rafts don’t mix! Soda comes in cans, there are some good canned micro-brews out there if PBR isn’t your thing, wine should be in bags/boxes, and other adult beverages can be transferred from glass bottles to a plastic container before taking them on the river.
Your guide team will work hard to ensure that your river experience exceeds your expectations. If you had an amazing trip and feel that your guides did an amazing job, post-trip gratuities are an appreciated way of saying “thank you.” Tips commonly range from 5 to 10 percent of the trip cost, but should always be based on your satisfaction, financial comfort, and personal attitudes about gratuities. It is common to leave gratuities with the lead guide at the end of the trip, and they will distribute it among the team.
Weeping Wall Springs
Pruitt's Castle Hike
Spectacular canyon scenery
Whistling Bird Rapid
Class III - IV
Class III - IV
Green Dragon Canyon
Some of the Owyhee's most spectacular scenery
Greeley Bar Hot Springs
Soak in a natural hot springs
Birch Creek Ranch
We have used many other companies and rivers in the past, but think you are the best! We are planning another trip this summer
We had several wonderful trips. Thanks for all your help. Staff is wonderful, congenial, competent, just great. Even the weather was fantastic! I will put together more trips with you guys. Many, many thanks!
What a rush. Your guides are the best. Professional and friendly staff. Keep up the great job!
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