Sunday, June 15, 2014

West Fork Little Owyhee via 3 Forks - Owyhee River

Three Forks-Owyhee River, Oregon
Dust from our vehicle obscures the outlines of dark basalt cliffs, rising above then falling from site along the flat desert road from Highway 95 to Three Forks. Faint contours of the basalt cap to the west marks the edge of the deep chasm of the River Canyon. The powdery dust settles as we approach the lip of the canyon dropping sharply into the Three Forks Basin, the three spectacular tributaries of the Owyhee River, the North, Middle, and Main forks giving relief to the arid desert. 
The Owyhee drains a remote area of the plateau region on the north edge of the Great Basin, rising in northeastern Nevada and flowing generally northward near the Oregon-Idaho border to the Snake River.

Three Forks is a dramatic base camp giving you many opportunities for self-guided hikes to Warm Springs Creek, along the North Fork Owyhee, and my favorite the West Fork of the Little Owyhee.

The confluence of the WF Little Owyhee and the Main Fork Owyhee.
Main Fork Owyhee near the WF Little Owyhee Confluence.


 From the rim of Three Fork a high clearance 4 w/d vehicle may be required. To access the trail head dropping into the West Fork of the Little it is a must. For more information see the guide book, "The Owyhee Canyonlands-An Outdoor Adventure Guide". This is hike #52.

The canyon views from the confluence of the West Fork Little Owyhee and the Main Owyhee are unforgetable offering extraordinary views both up stream and down stream. This is a dramatic vantage point and should be considered for a camp location.

View down river from the rim above the confluence of the WF Little Owyhee and the Main Owyhee.
If you base camp at Three Forks, a consideration on the trip back might be a soak in the hot springs at Warm Springs Creek. Warm Springs Creek, along the edge of the Main Owyhee, offers warm waterfalls and several pools of clean and clear chest deep water. It is not to be missed.

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