Owyhee - 2. Crutcher's Crossing to Three Forks

Owyhee, Idaho, US/Oregon, US


2. Crutcher's Crossing to Three Forks (Upper Owyhee/East Fork Owyhee)

Usual Difficulty II-III+(V) (for normal flows)
Length 36 Miles

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-13176400 500 - 3000 cfs II-III+(V) 00h26m 23.7 cfs (too low)
usgs-13181000 800 - 6000 cfs II-III+(V) 00h58m 169 cfs (too low)

River Description

The Upper Owyhee begins where the flow converges from Duck Valley in Idaho and continues in to Oregon. The 36 mile trip below Crutcher typically takes 2 to 3 days to Three Forks or you may continue on downstream to Rome or farther.  The canyon is magnificent.  Most of the run is a float trip but there are a few class III rapids and a couple of more challenging rapids: Cabin and Cable.

Cabin Rapid is approximately 1/2 mile long and if you plan to scout you will want to do it in stages.  It is easily recognized by the stone cabin on river right, followed by a right bend.  At the top of the rapid, run left of the giant boulder that splits the current, because the right side leads to narrow slots between huge boulders.  The flow combines beyond the giant boulders into a class III-IV big water section, then a brief slowdown at lower flows, then the river splits again around a cobble island and the whitewater continues.  Either side can be run, but at 1100 at Crutcher the left entrance, then cutting to the right below the island, had eddies for boat scouting.

There are three relatively easy class III rapids in the space between Cabin and Cable.

Cable Rapid is easily recognized by its increased gradient leading toward a line of boulders with no obvious passage.  Eddy right to scout.  There is a cable affixed to boulders on river right that has been used by fishermen to portage their boats.  The right channel leads to an impassable sieve.  The center slot may be runnable by a kayak.  The far left slot looks runnable however the move to get left is class V in difficulty and hazard, at least at 1100cfs. I'm told the rapid is easily runnable in canoes at very low water, and it probably develops into hellishly big holes at high water, though a left sneak may open up.



Hiring a shuttle is recommended for this run.

Put-in: Crutcher Crossing, Idaho
Crutcher Crossing is located three miles upstream of the East Fork’s confluence with the South Fork, and is accessed on river left via primitive dirt roads off of Highway 51/225.  Access roads are rough, and impassable when wet; high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles only; no trailers.  There is a field suitable for camping next to the gauge and launch point.
Take-Out: Three Forks, Oregon
Located 35 miles south of Jordan Valley, Oregon, via Highway 95 and the Three Forks Road, the Three Forks launch site is accessible by high-clearance, two-wheel drive vehicles when roads are dry. Due to sharp and steep switchbacks into the canyon, long trailers are not recommended. Please respect private property. The road may be temporarily closed if soils are saturated.


Permit Information


Self issue permit can be downloaded from BLM website.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-06-08 16:38:47


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
46.5House RockIII
47.9Bald MountainIII

Rapid Descriptions

Cable (Class V, Mile 57.9)

Named after the steel cable 

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 8 2017 (552 days ago)
T4eresa (153294)
Due to the oil company refusing public access to the Garat Road in 2017, we launched at Duck
Valley, adding 20+ miles and significant whitewater to the run. There is a BLM self-registration
kiosk on river left at Garat.
March 9 2017 (643 days ago)
T4eresa (153294)
Alternate put-in: Garat Crossing, on the EF above the Deep Creek confluence.

Do more than just check gauges; join over 5,000 AW members today.

Or, consider donating

Associated News

Associated Projects

  • Conservation System
    The National Landscape Conservation System represents the crown jewels of BLM lands and rivers.
  • Owyhee Conservation
    American Whitewater advocates for the protection of the Owyhee Canyonlands.