Visitor’s Guide
to the Owyhee Canyonlands

Devin Dahlgren   Website

Visiting the Owyhee Canyonlands calls for preparation, awareness, and self-sufficiency.
Top off your gas tank when leaving gateway communities like Nyssa or Jordan Valley and carry a spare gas can, because once you leave the blacktop you will not find services or amenities.
Roads within the canyonlands are often unmaintained, rocky, and rutted. A small amount of precipitation makes the road surface slippery, creating mud buildup that clogs wheel wells and limits travel. Check each destination write-up for road conditions and advice on clearance and four-wheel drive recommendations. Each vehicle should carry a full-size spare tire, towing straps/chains, a jack, some flat boards, Fix-a-Flat, a lug wrench, jumper cables and a five-gallon water jug.
Intrigued? Read on for our suggestions on experiencing the wild Owyhee, and, when you’re back, you can speak up to protect this place.

watch

Julie Weikel on Wilderness

Julie Weikel on Wilderness

fact

Far from Big Macs

Far from Big Macs

There is a point in the Owyhee region, in northwestern Nevada, that is, at 115 miles away, as far away as you can get from a McDonalds in the U.S.

Source: http://www.datapointed.net/2010/09/distance-to-nearest-mcdonalds-sept-2010

voices

Bonnie Olin, 2017 Volunteer of the Year

Bonnie Olin, 2017 Volunteer of the Year

“If you spend enough time in the wild, it will change you. So it was for me in Oregon’s high desert, especially in the Owyhee Canyonlands.” To support ONDA, Bonnie says, is to strive to protect the very values of Oregon’s high desert that are critical to the human experience: quiet and connectedness with nature. “Oregon’s desert,” she says, “broadens your understanding of your relationship to all living things.”

Safety Tips

Following these suggestions will help you travel safely through the high desert of eastern Oregon and enjoy fragile places responsibly.   

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Where to Stay

Camping

Dispersed camping is allowed throughout much of this region on the lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management.  There are also a handful of limited-service campgrounds.

Slocum Creek Campground

Approximately 50 miles from Jordan Valley, Oregon

Pitch your tent here, amidst grassy hills and rocky spires, and you’ll be just a few miles away from the terrific hikes in Leslie Gulch. This free, no reservation campground has 12 established campsites for either RV or tent camping. All sites have picnic tables, and most have shade structures. Restrooms here are pit toilet, and you must bring all your own water. A nearby boat ramp provides access to the Owyhee Reservoir. Season: year round

 

 

Succor Creek campground in fallSuccor Creek State Natural Area

Approximately 23 miles from Adrian, Oregon or 50 miles from Nampa, Idaho

Located in a deep, rocky canyon, Succor Creek State Natural Area offers terrific wildlife watching. It also allows limited souvenir collecting by rock hounds. Reach this primitive camping (23 sites) and day-use area by taking a rough 15 mile dirt road that leads from Oregon 201. Prepare accordingly for this remote recreational experience. No water is available. There are no pay phones or cell phone services, and no staff or volunteers are stationed at this site. Season: year round

 

Lodging

There are no lodging options within the Owyhee Canyonlands, but you can find lodging in surrounding communities including Nampa, Idaho. Boise is the closest major city.

Basque Station Motel

Jordan Valley

Located next to the gas station and near Rockhouse Coffee, this motel offers clean, basic accommodations with ‘vintage’ style. It is the only lodging option in Jordan Valley. 801 Main St, Highway 95, Jordan Valley, OR 97910.

Call (541) 586-2244 for reservations.

Rome Station

Rome

This mom and pop spot offers up three very basic, ‘rustic’ cabins, four RV spaces, a small restaurant and a convenience store on-site. Rome Station may have gas but best to call ahead to be sure. Fishing and hunting licenses also available. The BLM Rome boat launch is nearby.  3605 Hwy 95 W. Rome, OR.

Call (541) 586-2295 for reservations and more information.

Old Basque Inn/Flat Iron Steakhouse

Jordan Valley

This facility is closed until further notice. Call (541) 586-2800 for the latest information.

Where to Eat

In these remote communities, it is not uncommon for businesses to hold unusual hours. It is a good idea to call ahead so you’re not left staring at a closed sign with an empty stomach. Travel these parts with enough food and water to see yourself through, as you won’t stumble across a supermarket.

The shakes and tater tots at Rome Station (3605 Highway 95 W, Rome, Oregon, (541) 586-2294) are not to be missed.

You’ll find excellent coffee and the best coffee milkshakes in all of eastern Oregon at Rockhouse Coffee (909 Highway 95 W, Jordan Valley. Oregon, (541) 586-2326). 

You can also stop by the JV Cafe, 701 Main Street, Jordan Valley, Oregon, (541) 586-2920) and The Mirage (605 N First Street, Adrian, Oregon, (541) 372-0150).

Hikes & Other Activities

To see how we define hike difficulty, please see our Hike Difficulty Ratings.

Corie Harlan

Painted Canyon Loop

If you love adventure and solitude, get ready to experience one of the best hikes in the Northern Owyhee Canyonlands. On the 8.5 mile Painted Canyon Loop (also known as the Carlton Canyon-Painted Canyon Loop) you’ll see stunning spires, three-hundred-foot canyon walls, old-growth sagebrush over twelve-feet tall – and true to its name –...

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Steve Vidito

Leslie Gulch

Visit the Leslie Gulch Wilderness Study Area to hike through sandy washes to reach panoramic amphitheaters of stone and sage. Over 200 bighorn sheep live in Leslie Gulch, along with mule deer and Rocky Mountain elk. Bird watchers can look for chukar, California quail, northern flickers, white-throated swifts, and many more song birds and...

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Jordan Craters

The 27-square-mile ovaline lava flow of Jordan Craters is one of the most recent volcanic flows in Oregon. The origin of the flow is Coffeepot Crater, a deep cavity at the far northeastern part of the flow. Walking in and around Coffeepot and exploring its side pits, tubes and caves makes for a great...

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Fish for Brown Trout Below the Dam

The roughly 14-mile stretch of the Owyhee River below the dam is renown among fly-anglers for its brown trout. When you’re not casting a line, you can enjoy the red-rock canyon and the Owyhee’s riverside hot springs.

Get Advice

Raft the Lower Section of the Owyhee Wild and Scenic River

To anyone who knows rafting, the Owyhee River is definitely on their bucket list. This trip takes you past geological wonders, hot springs, petroglyphs and more, all while providing a fun ride in the process.

Get Tips

Head Out Chukar Hunting

Upland bird hunting is popular in the Owyhee region, and the Owyhee Canyonlands is home to some of the best chukar hunting in the world. Long walks along ridges and rimrock within a mile of water are key to success.

These birds thrive in the rocky canyon country anywhere there is perennial water. Some popular places to start a hunt include Leslie Gulch, Dry Creek, and Three Forks.

Learn More

Resources

General Safety

Your best bet for traveling in the Owyhee Canyonlands is to purchase the Malheur River and/or Owyhee Country recreation maps.

Recommended Links
Further Reading

 

 

Land Manager Contact Info
Bureau of Land Management
Vale District Office
100 Oregon Street
Vale, OR 97918
Phone: (541) 473-3144
Email: BLM_OR_VL_Mail@blm.gov