Bruneau River Rafting
One of the most exciting ways to experience the Owyhee Canyonlands is by taking a whitewater trip down one of its impressive rivers….like the Bruneau.
Guide, Jon Barker, of Barker River Expeditions, has made running the rivers of the canyonlands his specialty. And a float down the Bruneau River is one of his favorite trips.
The Jarbidge-Bruneau canyon system has always been one of my favorites. It's such a small, tight, narrow, intimate canyon. It's kind of different than most any canyon I've been in anywhere in the world. It's got a very special feeling on that scale where you are hundreds of feet high and only a couple hundred feet wide a the very top of the gorge. The Bruneau River Canyon is an exceptional whitewater wilderness river trip. When you start a Bruneau trip you pull off from the put-in point and come around the first corner, second corner, and you are immediately in this incredibly tight almost fairyland vertical gorged wall. It's one of the most dramatic starts to any river trip I've seen in the world and it's just stunning, it's incredible.
Barker's guest also realizes this is an exceptional trip.
I certainly wasn't disappointed. It's such a gorgeous canyon. The pillars of rhyolite that rise up into the sky. And I couldn't believe how lush all the greenery was. And the other thing I really loved about the Bruneau is the solitude. So the serenity is something that I'm certainly drawn to. And the human footprint is very minimal. So all of that makes it almost a mystical, spiritual experience. I love the Bruneau.
For a couple of days the Bruneau River alternates between short rapids and calmer stretches of water. Then toward the end of the journey the boaters have to tackle the most difficult rapids on the river…five mile rapids. Although it isn't actually five miles long, for the rowers negotiating the many boulders it definitely feels like it.
There's no time to think, there's no time to let it all set in. You get through it and you're humbled, you're thankful and more than anything you're just thrilled and you just look back on it and smile and wait for the next time you get an opportunity to go down through the Bruneau and run Five Mile again."
The thrill of five mile rapid is unique to the Bruneau River, but whether you're boating hiking or exploring this remote desert country gives you a chance to escape into a different world.
You can go out and get yourself metaphorically lost in the Owyhee Basin and not see anybody and just feel like you're in a different time and that is very enjoyable. These rivers and canyons out here are just my absolute favorite.