Today on the Land Use Trail: Owyhee River Canyonlands

​We’re continuing our tour of our Land Use Trail. Today, January 8: The Owyhee River Canyonlands, one of Oregon's most hidden gems.

About: Located in the southeast corner of Oregon, Owyhee Canyonlands--"Oregon's Grand Canyon"--take up over 1.9 million acres of vast desert land. These canyons are vital to the local economic activity of Malheur County as they attract tourism and recreational activities such as rafting, hiking, hot springs, and hunting. The region is also home to over 200 species of wildlife, from bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope to the endangered sage grouse.

Key Fact: The Owyhee River was designated a National Wild and Scenic River, but most of this exceptional region, largely under federal ownership, is not yet fully protected. The Oregon Natural Desert Association and other conservation partners are advocating to create hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness in the area.

Another Cool Fact:  Key cultural resources are also present in the region, including over 500 known archeological sites, from Native American petroglyphs to 19th-century trails.


Much of the Owyhee Canyonlands region is remote and difficult to access. Only a few good roads traverse the region, making the Owyhee River itself the most reliable way to travel in many areas.

  • The Oregon Owyhee Canyonlands Campaign's website is a great place to start planning a trip. Visit to learn more.

Learn More:

Going to the Owyhee Region? Share your photos with us! We'll pass them on.

See the whole Land Use Trail, featuring exceptional Oregon natural places, communities, and working lands from every corner of our state.

Help us protect Oregon’s iconic natural places at

Photo credit: BLM Oregon, via Flickr. Creative Commons.