Bruneau-Jarbidge River System

Quick Facts

Bruneau-Jarbidge River System


(208) 736-2350

Map Directions

Things To Do


Rhyolote canyons, towering 1,200 feet above the river, have sliced through the plateau of the Owyhee Uplands. The rivers offer challenging whitewater boating in an isolated setting. The canyons and plateau provide ample opportunity for those who wish to explore the area on foot. Sportsmen will find excellent fishing for trout and hunting for upland birds and some big game. The Bruneau Canyon Overlook offers an outstanding vista. The truly adventurous can explore 180,000 acres of pristine lands in two nearby Wilderness Study Areas.

The upper canyon is the most scenic part and the easiest floating. Boaters can take out near the scenic overlook at Rogerson, but you have to climb out of the steep canyon. The second half, through Five Mile Rapids and Hot Springs Creek is rocky and requires a lot of maneuvering. Only experienced boaters should attempt the lower part of the Bruneau, especially at high water. The drive to the put-in is an experience in itself, and you should be prepared. Go with someone who knows the way, or hire a shuttle driver in Bruneau. From the confluence of the two rivers to south of Bruneau is 56 miles of class II-IV rapids.

Map of Bruneau-Jarbidge Rivers Rec. Area

Latitude, Longitude: 42.074909, -115.176201



  • Boating

    The primary float season generally runs from April through mid June, and the Bruneau River flows usually peak in mid to late May. Optimal flows for rafting the Bruneau are between 800 and 2,000 cfs on the Bruneau River gauge. Due to its narrow, rocky channel, and one or more portages, the Jarbidge is primarily boated by kayakers. At some flows, the Jarbidge is passable for small rafts and catarafts. Depending on flows, both the Jarbidge and Bruneau Rivers may also be kayaked in late June and early July. The rivers are not recommended for boating in any craft when the Bruneau gauge reading exceeds 2,500 cfs. Contact the field office for more details and regulations.

  • Camping

    Dispersed camping is popular and enjoyed by visitors to the region. Visitors often camp along the west side of the Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir and find unique fishing holes along the Snake River. In addition, once proper precautions are taken, visitors can explore the expansive Idaho scenery without borders or restrictions. Visitors are also encouraged to explore off the beaten path and camping is allowed in non-designated areas on BLM land. But if you choose to do this, please remember to stay on established roads and trails, "leave no trace," and "pack out, what you pack in."

  • Fishing

    The area provides wonderful fly fishing opportunities.

  • Hiking

    Hiking is one of the many great recreational opportunities in the area. Once proper precautions are taken, visitors are also encouraged to explore off the beaten path.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Although no designated Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) areas exist, usage of OHVs is one of the fastest growing recreation opportunities within the field office. Two trails, the Idaho Centennial Trail and the Roberson Trail, do run through the area. The Idaho Centennial Trail is entirely motorized, but is located in remote terrain with difficult access. The Roberson Trail, in the Bruneau Canyon, is primarily for non-motorized use and is frequently used in the spring and early summer by whitewater boaters accessing the Five Mile Rapids, a series of Class IV rapids on the Bruneau River.


Be prepared for wide temperature changes and dry conditions in this arid, high desert climate, and be alert for fire/fuels conditions and seasonal restrictions.



Take Highway 51 from Bruneau. If traveling West, take the Grasmere-Rowland Road. The preferred East Route can be accessed by the Bruneau-Three Creek Road. These roads are rough and a four-wheel drive with high clearance is required.

Phone Numbers


(208) 736-2350