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Difficulty II-III+(V)
Length 36 Miles
Flow Range 800 - 6000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 121 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 06/08/2017 4:38 pm

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.


Rapid Descriptions

House Rock

Class - III Mile - 46.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Bald Mountain

Class - III Mile - 47.9
Rapid Thumbnail Missing


Class - IV+ Mile - 55.8
Rapid Thumbnail Missing


Class - III+ Mile - 56.3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing


Class - III+ Mile - 56.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing


Class - III+ Mile - 56.6
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Class - V Mile - 57.9
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Named after the steel cable 


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Teresa Gryder
3 years ago

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.

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Teresa Gryder
3 years ago

Alternate put-in: Garat Crossing, on the EF above the Deep Creek confluence.

Gage Descriptions

There is a USFS gauge at Crutcher:

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
1998-05-13 High Fatality Other Read More



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Protecting Oregon's Owyhee Canyonlands

Megan Hooker

The remote and wild landscape of the Owhyee Canyonlands of Southeastern Oregon is complete with deep red-rock canyons, wild rivers and plenty of opportunities for backcountry recreation. The region is also a stronghold to over 200 species, and has fascinating geology, unique ecology and deep history. American Whitewater is part of a coalition working to permanently protect 2.5 million acres of the Owhyee, and you can learn more about the region, our proposal to protect it and ways to support our efforts here! 
article main photo

Idaho Proposes Registration Fee for Non-Motorized Boats

John Gangemi

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Idaho is proposing a $13 registration fee for non-motorized boats greater than 7 feet in length. Under this registration fee proposal all kayaks and rafts on Idaho waters would be required to have a registration sticker fixed to the bow of each boat greater than 7 feet in length. Stickers would not be transferable between boats. Out of state boaters would be required to comply as well.

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Can You Taste Victory?

American Whitewater

FERC revokes Preliminary Permit for
hydropower project on Boundary Creek in
Northern Idaho.

Matt Muir


Thomas O'Keefe


Teresa Gryder


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190374 10/22/02 n/a n/a
1199382 02/27/11 Thomas O'Keefe copy edits
1198883 12/01/10 Thomas O'Keefe permit update
1199385 02/27/11 Thomas O'Keefe copy edits
1206495 05/24/16 Thomas O'Keefe rapids mapped
1202985 01/04/14 Thomas O'Keefe river permit edits
1206496 05/24/16 Thomas O'Keefe description edits
1207684 06/08/17 Teresa Gryder 6/8/17 tg
1207686 06/08/17 Teresa Gryder gage added
1207033 12/05/16 Thomas O'Keefe permit updated