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Owyhee Canyonlands: A Visitor's Guide

The Owyhee Canyonlands is a stunning and remote wilderness area located in southeastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho. It's a breathtaking landscape of towering canyons, rushing rivers, and rugged high desert terrain, home to a wide variety of flora and fauna that can only be found in this unique corner of the world. The area is regarded as one of the last great wilderness areas in the United States.

Visiting the Owyhee Canyonlands is an unforgettable experience for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and anyone who wants to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of modern life and reconnect with nature.

Owyhee Canyonlands

Where is Owyhee Canyonlands?

The Owyhee Canyonlands cover an area of over 5 million acres and is located in southeastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho, and northwestern Nevada.

The area is bordered by the Snake River to the north, the Owyhee River to the west, and the Jarbidge Wilderness to the east. The closest major city to the Owyhee Canyonlands is Boise, Idaho, which is approximately 3 hours away by car.

Owyhee Canyonlands

How to get there?

The Owyhee Canyonlands is a remote wilderness area, and getting there requires some planning and preparation. The best way to get to the Owyhee Canyonlands is by car. The closest major airport is in Boise, Idaho, which is approximately 3 hours away by car. From Boise, you can take Highway 95 south to access the Oregon side of the canyonlands.

The roads in the area can be rough and unpaved, so it's important to have a high-clearance vehicle and to check road conditions before setting out.

What to do in Owyhee Canyonlands?

The Owyhee Canyonlands offers a wide range of outdoor activities, from hiking and camping to fishing and wildlife watching. Here are some of the top things to do in the area:

A storm raging in Owyhee Canyonlands


The Owyhee Canyonlands offer some of the most stunning and remote hiking trails in the country. There are trails for all levels of hikers, from easy day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips. Some of the most popular trails are discussed below.


The Owyhee Canyonlands is a great place to camp and experience the beauty of the area up close. There are numerous campgrounds throughout the area, ranging from developed campgrounds with amenities like water and electricity to primitive campsites with no amenities.

Rock Tower 2
A stunning rock tower seen while hiking through Owyhee Canyon Lands


The Owyhee River is home to some of the best fly fishing in the country. The river is home to rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout, and there are numerous fishing outfitters in the area that can provide guided fishing trips.

Driving Through Owyhee
The view while driving through this remote area

Wildlife Watching

The Owyhee Canyonlands is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, pronghorns, coyotes, and golden eagles. The area is also home to rare and endangered species like the Greater Sage-Grouse and the California Condor.

Visit Hot Springs

There are several different hot springs in the area, including hot springs near Leslie Gulch and Echo Rock Hot Springs. Nothing in this area of the Pacific Northwest is particularly easy to access, with the latter requiring a 4-mile hike or paddle-in to reach the springs.

Hikes in Owyhee Canyonlands

Juniper Gulch

2.2 miles and 1,300 feet of gain

This 2.2-mile trail is an easy-moderate hike through the heart of Owyhee Canyonlands--Leslie Gulch. It can get steep at times, but it's certainly worth it!

Leslie Gulch
A view in Leslie Gulch

Succor Creek Trail

30 miles and 4,000 feet of gain

This epic trail is almost 30 miles long and gains (reasonable for the distance) 4,00 feet of gain. It's absolutely beautiful in this area, but, as always, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. This area is well-known for its rattlesnake populations.

Timber Gulch Trail

1.2 miles and 400 feet of gain

This 1.2-mile trail leads hikers through a narrow canyon. The trail is relatively easy, making it a great option for families or beginner hikers.

Rock Tower
One of the many rock towers in the area.

Camping in Owyhee Canyonlands

The Owyhee Canyonlands offers a variety of camping options, from developed campgrounds with amenities like water and electricity to primitive campsites with no amenities. Some of the most popular campgrounds in the area include:

Slocum Creek Campground

Slocum Creek Campground is a hidden gem located in the beautiful Siskiyou National Forest in southwestern Oregon. The campground offers 17 primitive campsites that are surrounded by lush greenery and tall trees, providing plenty of shade and privacy. Each campsite features a picnic table and fire ring, and guests can access potable water and vault toilets nearby.

Slocum Creek is a small, crystal-clear stream that runs through the campground, and it offers a great place to fish for rainbow trout or just relax and enjoy the sound of running water. The surrounding forest is also home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, elk, and deer, making it a great place for wildlife watching and photography.

McCormick Campground

McCormack Campground is a popular destination for camping enthusiasts located in the beautiful Owyhee Lake State Park area. The campground is open seasonally from April 15 to October 31 and offers a range of amenities for its guests.

The campground features 29 electrical sites with water, making it an ideal location for RV enthusiasts. Additionally, there are nine tent sites with water nearby for guests who prefer traditional camping. Two of the sites are accessible to campers with disabilities, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the beauty of the park.

Guests can also enjoy hot showers and flush toilets, providing a comfortable camping experience. The campground also features an RV dump station, making it convenient for RVers to take care of their waste disposal needs.

Indian Creek Campground

Indian Creek Campground is another popular destination in the Owyhee Lake area. It features 22 electrical sites with water, two of which are accessible. Additionally, the campground offers two cabins that are open seasonally from March 1 to November 15.

One of the cabins is pet-friendly, and the other is accessible to guests with disabilities.

Guests can also enjoy the campground's boat ramp, subject to water level permitting. Firewood and ice are also available seasonally, and potable water is available for guests during the camping season.

River Haven RV Park

This is a well-developed campsite in Idaho, to the east of Owyhee Canyonlands. River Haven RV Park is a serene and peaceful RV park located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. The park is situated alongside the beautiful Guadalupe River, making it a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

The park offers a variety of RV sites, including full hook-up sites with water, sewer, and electricity, as well as primitive tent camping sites. The RV sites are spacious and well-maintained, with level concrete pads, picnic tables, and fire pits. Additionally, the park offers amenities such as free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, and a community fire pit.

Facts about Owyhee Canyonlands

  1. The Owyhee Canyonlands is home to over 200 species of birds, making it a popular destination for bird watchers.

  2. The area is named after a group of Hawaiian fur trappers who explored the area in the early 19th century.

  3. The Owyhee Canyonlands are home to some of the most remote and least-visited wilderness areas in the country.

  4. The area is known for its rugged and inhospitable terrain, with temperatures ranging from below-freezing in the winter to over 100 degrees in the summer.

  5. The Owyhee Canyonlands is home to several Native American tribes, including the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation.

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