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.

Where to Stay

Dispersed camping is allowed throughout much of this region, and there are 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 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 is a terrific site for wildlife watchers, and 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

There are no lodging options within the Owyhee Canyonlands, but you can find lodging in the surrounding communities. 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.

Old Basque Inn/Flat Iron Steakhouse, Jordan Valley
Closed until further notice. Call (541) 586-2800 for the latest information.

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.

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.

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

Rockhouse Coffee, 909 Highway 95 W, Jordan Valley
Excellent coffee and the best coffee milkshakes in all of Eastern Oregon. (541) 586-2326

JV Cafe, 701 Main Street, Jordan Valley, (541) 586-2920

The Mirage, 605 N First Street, Adrian, (541) 372-0150

Activities

Recommended Hikes

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

Leslie Gulch

Three different hikes within Leslie Gulch offer something for every fitness level, as well as incredible geologic features, sweeping vistas and abundant wildlife.

Hike It

Steve Vidito

Three Forks Hot Springs

Begin with the confluence of three spectacular tributaries of the Owyhee River—the North, Middle and Main forks—and end with a the scenic hot spring.

Hike It

Dan Holz   Website

Jordan Craters

Get a glimpse into geologic history as you explore lava tubes and caves from one of Oregon's most recent flows.

Hike It

Other Attractions

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.

 

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.

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

Wild Owyhee

Owyhee Wild and Scenic River

Outdoor Project: Owyhee 

Explore Oregon Recreation: Owyhee River

Further Reading

100 Hikes in Eastern Oregon by William L. Sullivan

Oregon Desert Guide: 70 Hikes by Andy Kerr

The Owyhee Canyonlands — An Outdoor Adventure Guide by Steve Stuebner and Mark Lisk

“Bivouacking in Oregon’s Back of Beyond” in The New York Times by Tim Neville

 

 

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