The North Fork of the Owyhee River begins in the Owyhee Mountains and flows through the North Fork Owyhee Wilderness in Idaho. It leaves the wilderness just upstream of the put-in for this section of river at North Fork Campground. This stretch of river meanders through a deep canyon and finishes in a beautiful lower gorge before joining the main stem Owyhee River at Three Forks. The whitewater is nearly continuous class III (with a few Class IV rapids) for the first 10 miles and then mellows out as it goes through the lower gorge.

This river rarely has boat-able flows so there is a lot of brush along the banks and in the main river channel. Three are a few places where the brush is pretty thick and it can actually be quite hazardous so you'll want to have solid boating skills and use good judgment if you do this run. The continuous whitewater has a lot of blind corners where river wide logs can be a problem.

Wood can be a problem on the North Fork of the Owyhee River

Wood can be a problem on the North Fork of the Owyhee River

If you do decide to go you'll enjoy the fun whitewater and love the scenery. You can run the whole river in a long day or consider a two or three day trip to enjoy the beautiful canyon.

Trip Highlights

Mile 0: Put-in at North Fork Campground. After a short flat stretch you enter a narrow canyon.

North Fork of the Owyhee River

North Fork of the Owyhee River

Mile 3.9: Cross the Idaho/Oregon Border.

Mile 5.4: Squaw Creek enters from the left side.

Mile 7.8: Cherry Creek enters from the right side.

Mile 8.2: Flat Wrap (IV) is a long rapid full of brush with right and left channels. We went left and ended up flat wrapping our raft. The right side probably has a better line.

Flat Wrap

Flat Wrap

Mile 8.5: Wiedwald's Way (IV) is a steep drop that can be scouted or portaged on the right side. Below here the gradient tapers off and the river canyon begins to widen up.

Wiedwalds Way Rapid on the North Fork of the Owyhee River

Wiedwalds Way Rapid on the North Fork of the Owyhee River

Mile 11: The canyons begin to narrow again as you enter the beautiful lower gorge. The whitewater is easy Class II.

Lower Gorge on the North Fork of the Owyhee River

Lower Gorge on the North Fork of the Owyhee River

Mile 12.9: The lower gorge ends and you go under a driving bridge.

Mile 13.6: Take out a Three Forks. Make sure you fill out a self issue permit for your trip here.

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