Bruneau-Jarbidge-Owyhee River System
The Owyhee Canyonlands is a huge and remote area of eastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho and northern Nevada. Hidden within this vast high desert plateau are deep canyons carved by the Owyhee, Bruneau, and Jarbidge Rivers. The rivers of the Owyhee and Bruneau-Jarbidge systems offer something for nearly every level of boating experience. The Owyhee and Bruneau-Jarbidge river systems provide visitors with unsurpassed solitude in canyons of unique beauty and form. From placid pools to turbulent whitewater; from vertical cliffs to steep grassy slopes; and from wildlife, such as California bighorn sheep to wildflowers, including the Bruneau River flox, these rivers and their canyons present visitors with challenging and extraordinary experiences.
This river system is located in a remote environment that is far from emergency help. Once you enter these canyons, you will be a long way from help. Cell phone coverage is spotty and unreliable. You must be prepared to handle all problems and emergencies on your own. You need to prepare for the unexpected. Each boater should have proper equipment for quickly changing weather conditions and be self-sufficient to handle any medical, rescue, repair or other emergencies that may arise. Boaters should choose river stretches that are appropriate for their experience level.
In 1984, Congress recognized this unsurpassed beauty by designating 120 miles of the spectacular Owyhee River located in Oregon as a wild river component of the National Wild and Scenic River System to "protect the free-flowing character of the river, along with its outstanding scenic, recreational, geologic, wildlife and cultural values.” The Idaho portions were designated WSRs in 2009.
The bull trout population in the Jarbidge River is the southernmost existing population of bull trout in North America. Bull trout typically live in coniferous forest environments, so their existence in the semi-arid habitat of the Jarbidge River is unique.