Top Ten Offbeat Whitewater Rafting Trips

Owhyee, Oregon

Difficulty: Class III to V

Season: March through early June

Trip Length: Four to 17 days

The desert canyons of the Owhyee River offer a change of pace from the forest rivers of the humid western slopes. This is true wilderness: no roads, no powerlines, no machine noise. John Kors, a guide with ROW, an outfitter that runs trips on the Owyhee, especially appreciates the isolation. According to John, "You get a real strong sense of the old west. The first time I made this trip I kept expecting to see John Wayne come riding over the hill."

The Owyee is usually divided into three distinct sections. The "upper" begins in southwest Idaho and is only raftable during the spring snowmelt. Wildlife along this stretch of the river is stunning. Bighorn sheep are frequently visible high on the canyon walls. The middle offers the wildest whitewater, including the Class V Widowmaker, which many choose to portage. By the time you reach the lower Owhyee, you'll be ready for soaking in the several hot springs you'll find along the way.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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