The Owyhee River Wilderness is centered on the Owyhee River and its tributaries, in the southwest part of Idaho near the Oregon border. It is a land defined by rivers, cutting steep canyons out of high desert, and sagebrush plateaus which range from about 4,200 to 5,600 feet in elevation. It’s also a landscape lacking trails and only rough, non-wilderness roads to gain access to open land. Hiking cross-country — without trails — requires a focus on landmarks, a compass or GPS assisted sense of direction, a good map and an interest in scrambling. The attractions are many: fields of lupine, stark bitterroot flowers, cougars, bighorn lambs, prairie falcons, and pronghorn antelope. River enthusiasts come from around the country to challenge the famous white water rapids of these rivers. The area receives 4.25 inches of precipitation, annually. Summer temperatures typically range from 40 to 80 degrees F and 25 to 60 degrees in the spring and fall. Winters can become quite cold with average temperatures ranging from 15 to 35 degrees.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Owyhee River Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 - Public law 111-11 (3/30/2009) An act to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes.