Bruneau Wild and Scenic River

Bruneau Wild and Scenic River

Hidden within a vast high desert plateau are deep canyons carved by the Owyhee, Bruneau and Jarbidge Rivers in a remote area of southwestern Idaho. Nearly 30 miles of the Jarbidge River is designated as wild. Volcanic caves, canyons and spire-like hoodoos tower hundreds of feet above whitewater rafters in this unique environment of unsurpassed solitude and unique beauty. In early spring, this area brightens up with beautiful desert flowers contrasted sharply against the dark volcanic rock. The sagebrush plateaus of the Owyhee Uplands provides habitat for over 200 species of wildlife. Soaring eagles and hawks can often be seen flying over the skylines and nesting along the cliff faces here. The ancestors of the Shoshone-Paiute and Shoshone-Bannock people have used these canyonlands for thousands of years for shelter, weaponry, fish and game and water. From placid pools to turbulent whitewater; from vertical cliffs to steep grassy slopes, this area presents visitors with challenging and extraordinary experiences.

The Bruneau/Jarbidge River System flows north from the mountains of northern Nevada through beautiful basalt and rhyolite canyons of the Owyhee Uplands to the Snake River in southern Idaho. The combination of sparkling water, steep multi colored cliffs, and an interesting association of plants and animals make this desert canyon one of superior natural beauty and recreational appeal.  The Bruneau River also provides challenging whitewater as it flows through this deep, wild and remote desert canyon for experienced boaters.

Find out more about other wild and scenic rivers on the Idaho National Conservation Lands page or on the wild and scenic rivers program page.


39.9 miles
(0.6 recreational, 39.3 wild)

Recreational, Wild

Designation Date:
March 30, 2009

Designating Legislation:
Public Law 111-11

Quick Links

Contact Us

Bureau of Land Management
Bruneau Field Office
Phone: 208-384-3300


Wilderness_Bruneau-Jarbidge River