Red Canyon Creek Wild and Scenic River

Looking upstream in the tortured basalt landscape of Red Canyon Creek

Red Canyon Creek flows in the Owyhee River Wilderness of southwestern Idaho. The Wild & Scenic River designation covers some 4.6 miles of the stream, from its confluence with the Owyhee River upstream to the boundary of Owyhee River Wilderness.

The Owyhee Canyonlands area is dominated by a mixture of high, vertical lines and forms of eroded coarse brown, red, or blackish cliffs, often glazed with light green to yellow micro-flora. Talus slopes offer displays of yellow to green sagebrush-bunchgrass and/or dark green juniper, as well as reddish rhyolite or coarse-textured, blackish basalt rubble fields.

Spring waterflows bring brownish high water and rich riparian vegetation. Summertime low flows are usually tinted light green and brown channel colors and expose the whitish stream-bottom gravel and boulders. While spring stream flows can be reasonably high (depending on the amount of snowmelt) Red Canyon Creek is not floatable at any time of the year.

A product of extensive volcanic activity during the Miocene Epoch (24 to 5 million years ago), the region is part of the largest concentration of sheer basalt/rhyolite canyons in the western United States. Other rivers in the Owyhee Uplands drainage area also designated Wild and Scenic include Battle Creek, the mainstem of the Owhyhee River, South Fork of the Owyhee River, Dickshooter Creek and Deep Creek.

Photos courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management

Owyhee River Wilderness Wild and Scenic Rivers

Map showing the locations of designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in the Owyhee Wilderness area

Related Pages

Map courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management