Best Canyoneering in Idaho

Trying to find the best canyoneering in Idaho? Bivy has great hiking, biking, paddling, climbing, skiing, riding and more, with hand-curated trail maps, as well as detailed driving directions.


Idaho, Owyhee County

09 :22 hrs
9.6 mi
296.30322 ft

This route follows a central section of Sheep Creek is a tributary of the Bruneau River. The overall canyon cut by the creek is very deep and over twenty miles long and very isolated. There are various tight passages in this section of the canyon, but the water flow is a light current if done in the fall. Access to the canyon is on primitive roads and thus, high clearance vehicles are recommended.


Idaho, Owyhee County

01 :02 hrs
2.7 mi
352.57867 ft

This exciting canyon cut by Poison Creek has multiple small pools and requires a few rappels to descend through the canyon. The canyon has many down-climbs and then the first rappel is 20 to 25 feet down a steep cascade into a pool. Unless using a lot of webbing, rocks will have to be gathered to build an anchor in the water at the top of the rappel. lt is possible to bypass this rappel by climbing onto the wide but slanted moss covered ledge on the right. Following the rappel and pool, the canyon descends a narrow chute and then a second rappel. This mandatory rappel is probably about 50 feet high down a waterfall in a narrow chute with a large pool at the bottom. Immediately downstream is another small waterfall that can be rappelled or lt can be bypassed by climbing across a narrow exposed ledge on the left. Continue down the canyon until it begins to open up more and climb out before the bridge. This is a one-way trip.


Oregon, Malheur County

10 :51 hrs
10.5 mi
254.57349 ft

Where three branches of the Owyhee River come together in Eastern Oregon is a gorgeous convergence of canyons that seem to be straight from the southwest. The hike starts out down a steep hill to where the rivers meet. High clearance vehicles could descend here. The hike then follows the canyon made by the Middle Fork, which has the deepest canyon of the three. There are hoodoos, narrows, small waterfalls and arches. You can return the way you came. In spring there may be substantial flowing water. By September it will probably be reduced to pools. From the base of the hill, each of the forks can be explored and each cut out their own canyons through these dry hills.


Idaho, Owyhee County

01 :39 hrs
1.8 mi
20.157227 ft

Consisting of rugged canyons, streams and plateaus, Big Jacks Creek is in a very remote area. The basin provides a habitat for redband trout, mountain quail, sage hens, mountain lions, mule deer, antelope, bobcats, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. This route follows the creek through a section of canyon that is cut out from the basin. The water level is rarely high and you could continue further in the canyon if desired, as this is an out and back route. Due to the heat in the summer, the best times to visit the canyon are in late fall and in early spring. It is also a rattlesnake habitat and they are out in late spring and are starting to den in early fall.


Idaho, Owyhee County

01 :27 hrs
1.1 mi
110.77051 ft

In a very remote location, Zeno Canyon is reached along the typically rough and mostly unmarked desert roads south of Big Jacks Creek. This route follows a rough trail down into the canyon as the walls get higher and the hiking more difficult. The final approach to Zeno Falls is a scramble down a steep slope of loose rocks. At the bottom of the slope and behind a tangle of bushes and trees is Zeno Falls, a thirty-foot waterfall that is a rare find in the Owyhee Desert. The route continues through the canyon for a little while and then is an out-and-back course.


Idaho, Owyhee County

01 :00 hrs
2.1 mi
43.00891 ft

Located on the east fork of Camel Creek, Camel Falls is located about three miles south of the Mudflat Road. This route begins along a dirt road that goes south from Mudflat Road, but you could also hike from the paved road. There is no trail, but the route follows the top of the short gorge to the back of Camel Falls, a high, but seasonal waterfall. After spring runoff the falls are reduced to a trickle or disappear altogether. Rappel the falls into the large pool at its base and then follow the gorge back out to the dirt road. Some people have spanned the gorge with ropes and made a Tyrolean traverse from one rim to the other.


Idaho, Owyhee County

01 :31 hrs
3.8 mi
174.66278 ft

Hart Creek, located near Oreana, has a gorgeous slot canyon with fun boulder caves. The route is one-way, but can be shortened or lengthened and made into an out-and-back. The canyon is very narrow with overhanging walls in many places. It is a good idea to bring a 50 foot rope to provide a belay or handline for the inexperienced.


Idaho, Owyhee County

06 :31 hrs
13.7 mi
379.62878 ft

Exploring the gorge of Jarbridge River is a multiday backpacking trip in a remote corner of southwestern Idaho. The canyon walls have been eroded into spires and buttresses with small caves. Wildlife include elk and mountain lions. The canyon can be done from spring - fall, but early fall is recommended with the water level low and the temperatures not as hot. The river bottom consists mostly of very slick cobbles. Use caution, as there is poison ivy on the banks.


Idaho, Gooding County

02 :50 hrs
5.4 mi
265.4281 ft

Little City of Rocks is noted for its wonderful hoodoos and rock formations. It is located in a very dry climate in southern Idaho. About a quarter mile past the parking area there is the remains of an old dam. This route follows the old road which becomes a trail and leads into the canyon. Some small waterfalls can be easily bypassed. In addition to this route, there are interesting side canyons for exploring as well.


Idaho, Gooding County

00 :33 hrs
1 mi
59.016907 ft

Running directly under Interstate 84 between Hagerman and Glenns Ferry, Malad Gorge is a state park with a 250 foot deep river canyon. This route descends down the ridge of the canyon into the canyon bottom. Further west, there is a road that runs next to the river in the bottom of the gorge. Following the river east as it goes under the interstate, the water can be very rough and is known as Devil's Washbowl. It is advised to only descend into this area when water levels are low in the fall.

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