Where-to: Have the Most Incredible Picnic in the Owyhee

Sean Bagshaw   Website

Author: Joanna Zhang  |  Published: June 24, 2021  |  Category: Where-to

Take your outdoor dining experience to the next level with one of these scenic picnic spots in the Owyhee Canyonlands.

Here are six places to have the best meal with a view in the Owyhee, complete with local restaurant recommendations. Whether you’re looking for a drive-up spot or a more remote hike-in experience, this list has it all. 

Drive-up:

 

watch

Chad Brown on Fly Fishing

Chad Brown on Fly Fishing

watch

Julie Weikel on Wilderness

Julie Weikel on Wilderness

listen

Owyhee Canyon Swallows Sparrows and Rushing Water

Owyhee Canyon Swallows Sparrows and Rushing Water

Owyhee Overlook

Greg Shine

Succor Creek

Sean Bagshaw

Lake Owyhee

Owyhee Canyon Overlook

Drive up to the rim of the Owyhee River Canyon for a spectacular bird’s eye view of the Owyhee River Canyon Wilderness Study Area, which features 126 miles of narrow, meandering canyons ranging 500 to 1000-feet deep. 

Jordan Valley is the closest town to the Owyhee Canyon Overlook, and we recommend stopping by Big Loop Pizza and Subs, which just opened in spring 2021. If you could go for a pepperoni pizza or a French Dip after your long drive to the Owyhee, you’ll find those and all the other classic pizzas and sandwiches at Big Loop.

If something on the sweeter side is more to your taste, check out the giant cookies and other tasty treats at Skinner’s Rockhouse. They’ve also got a great selection of coffee for those in need of an energy boost! 

Succor Creek State Natural Area

Succor Creek State Natural Area lies within a beautiful desert canyon full of impressive rock spires, sheer walls and caves to be explored. The area along the creek is a lush oasis that attracts all kinds of wildlife, including mule deer and bighorn sheep. Succor Creek is also known for its thundereggs, or round geodes filled with agate, jasper, opal or other beautiful minerals. 

On your way in, you don’t want to miss Tacos Mi Ranchito, a first-rate Mexican restaurant in Ontario, Oregon. The torta, or Mexican sandwich, is our top to-go choice for its portability and phenomenal taste. We highly recommend picking one up to take down to Succor Creek! You’ll find picnic tables on the west side of the creek to enjoy your meal. 

Lake Owyhee State Park

The Owyhee Reservoir is a 53-mile long lake that fills a rugged canyon featuring towering rock formations. Along the shores of the reservoir is Lake Owyhee State Park, where you can enjoy the amenities of picnic tables and restrooms in the middle of this remote desert oasis. 

On your way to the lake, we recommend stopping at Succor Creek Coffee in Adrian for top-quality coffee and Rock Store Grill in Nyssa for mouth-watering burgers and fries. 

Hike-in:

Juniper Gulch

Jacob Stanfield

Painted Canyon

Dave Sherill

Juniper Gulch

Juniper Gulch is a 1.6 mile out and back hike located in the stunning Leslie Gulch Wilderness Study Area. At the end of the hike, you’ll find an amazing natural amphitheater called “honeymoon rock,” which is the perfect place to set up for a picnic with sweeping views of Leslie Gulch. On the way, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful red-rock hoodoos, spires and towering cliff walls, and it’s quite possible you’ll see some of the area’s thriving herd of bighorn sheep. 

We won’t judge you if you want to hike in an entire loaf of garlic cheese bread from Romio’s Pizza & Pasta all for yourself. Located in downtown Ontario, this Italian restaurant is sure to please. For something more trail-friendly than pizza or pasta, try one of their delicious calzones. 

If you’re in need of a little something before setting out for your hike, we recommend Jolts & Juice, where you’ll find a great selection of breakfast items, smoothies and coffee. For some post-hike beverages, you can’t go wrong at Bert’s Growler Garage in Ontario, which has a wide variety of refreshing beers on tap.  

Juniper Gulch Info

 

Painted Canyon

For something more challenging but doable in a day, the Painted Canyon Loop is one of the best hikes in the northern Owyhee Canyonlands. This 8.5-mile trail will take you past old-growth sagebrush and colorful, jaw-dropping rock formations that give the area its name. Be prepared for five to six hours of hiking, so plan your food and water accordingly. 

Bixby’s Stopitoff Coffee in Vale, Oregon offers a variety of sandwiches, pitas and bagels that make great to-go options to bring with you on the trail. Plus, you can pick up a refreshing iced coffee or latte for the drive to Painted Canyon. There are plenty of scenic viewpoints along the trail, so take your pick for an unbeatable picnic spot to rest and refuel. 

Painted Canyon Info

Overnight:

The Honeycombs

Honeycombs Loop

The most intrepid of picnickers will want to take on the 17-mile Honeycombs Loop, an extraordinary overnight hike that takes you past high desert mesas, towering spires and painterly golden, red and orange cliff walls. After a long day of hiking through steep canyons, you’ll be able to set up camp right on the shores of Lake Owyhee, the perfect place to take a luxurious dip and enjoy dinner on the beach. 

Chabelitas Taqueria is a must-stop family-run cantina in Vale where you can get fantastic Mexican food to take with you. We promise their burritos and tacos are well worth the weight to carry on this short backpacking trip!