Big snowpack could mean outstanding season for rafting Oregon’s famed Owyhee River

The Owyhee River runs 280 miles through mountains, deserts and the flat, arid plateaus of northern Nevada, southern Idaho and southeastern Oregon. It carves through deep, prominent, multi-color volcanic canyons sometimes up to 1,000 feet high before entering the Snake River near Nyssa.

Its unique scenery, coupled with its long stretches of class III and IV rapids, have made it a rafting destination for generations.

“It’s a lot like the Grand Canyon,” said Zach Collier, who owns and guides for Northwest Rafting Co. in Hood River. “It’s a big, deep canyon that’s stunning and beautiful.”

Due to sporadic precipitation and lackluster snowpack in recent years, water levels have dwindled and rafting seasons have been abbreviated. It’s a river as unpredictable as it is beautiful. But after a long and extremely snowy winter, the watershed could be in great shape for rafting season.

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