The Owyhee Canyonlands is a vast area – it covers 5 million acres or 7,697 square miles in Owyhee County, Idaho, an area larger than Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. The Owyhees also cover a significant amount of countryside in Eastern Oregon, including the spectacular canyons and rock features in the Leslie Gulch area, Succor Creek area and lower Owyhee River area.
Fortunately for all of us, most of the Owyhee Canyonlands are located on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management. Mark Lisk and Steve Stuebner have been exploring the Owyhees for several decades hiking, camping, mountain biking and boating the desert rivers, the Jarbidge-Bruneau, and the many forks of the Owyhee River. We pooled our knowledge and experience to come up with an adventure guide for hiking, mountain biking, driving and camping outings for the public to enjoy. All of these trips are land-based adventures.
The book provides a detailed guide to 55 hiking and mountain biking trips as well as a mile-by-mile guide to the 100-mile Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway.
The guide offers a ton of adventures close to home in the Owyhee Front, plus hiking and backpacking tips for the new Owyhee Wilderness areas. Be aware that many of the hiking adventures are self-guided adventures with no trails per se. You’ll need to follow our directions closely, plus it would be handy to bring supplemental maps with you such as topo maps, BLM maps and a GPS unit to ensure a successful adventure.
Be sure to read our Owyhee Canyonlands “survival guide” chapter before you go. There are little to no services in Owyhee County, meaning you need to bring all of your food and water with you, and your vehicle should be in ready for a rough and rocky adventure. If it’s rainy and wet out there, the unimproved roads will turn into “gumbo,” often making them impassible. Use common sense.
Have fun out there in the Owyhees! There’s just something special about a place that is so huge that it makes you feel small, really small in the whole scheme of things. You’ll be awe-struck by the many box canyons and the variety of caves, spires, honeycombs, and unique rock formations you encounter. With each new adventure, you may find yourself touched by the Owyhees in a way that makes you want to come back for more.