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We are looking to do the Lower Owyhee in May from Rome to Birch creek. From what I remember the road down to the put in is fine and the road out of Birch is more rugged. I also understand every year it can be different...
Will we need 4 wheel drive to get in and out? Could I make it with a 2 wheel drive sprinter?
Any insight would be great- from past years of once folks get in and see the conditions this year.
Thanks!
 

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Acess at Rome is paved. Birch creek road has numerous creek crossings and a steep climb out of the top of the canyon. I've rallied a 2wd sprinter around some back roads in Utah and they are fairly capable but I'm not sure I would try Birch in it. Depending on flow you could take out at Leslie and the road is much nicer and less steep.
 

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I think high clearance could climb out of Birch under normal conditions in the hands of skilled driver. If you are pulling a raft on a trailer I think that will make it much more difficult, but rear wheel drive would be better than front. If it rains, you will be pretty well hosed without 4wd, maybe even with.
 
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https://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/ramps/owyhee/owyhee.html

Owhyee lake level is very low and you should have current most of the way to Leslie. Leslie is a MUCH BETTER road. Be aware the that the lake mud can swallow trailers. We carry 4” pvc rollers to drag boats out of the water when the water is water is not up to the concrete ramp.
 

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Shapp
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https://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/ramps/owyhee/owyhee.html

Owhyee lake level is very low and you should have current most of the way
What you talking about willis? Run off will have significantly occurred by May and maybe even the peak depending on how the snow comes off. The reservoir will likely be full or near full sometime in May and you will have a ton of flat reservoir water to traverse to Leslie Gulch 100% guaranteed with the current amount of snow pack already built up in the Owyhee basin. Looking at the reservoir level in March is of no use to you for a May trip.
 

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I owned a sprinter and used it for pulling a trailer for rafting. If it was dry you MIGHT make it out, if it's wet no chance. Sprinters can get stuck on a wet cow pie on level ground. The place you will spin out is terrible, long steep single lane that either has loose gravel or bentonite like clay, with a precipitous drop off on one side. If you are lucky you get stuck before that in one of the creek crossings. Personally i wouldnt try it, ymmv
 

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In the summer when things are dry Brich is easy. But it gets super slick and muddy when wet in a few places. Things could be good going in. They drop your car. It rains and you're stuck!
 

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Has anyone run their own shuttle from Rome to Birch, any estimate of time? Trying to decide if it is worth to send some folks while we rig. Thanks.
 

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If you have chains, you could get out at Birch. I would not recommend rowing across the reservoir. I did it once and took 12+ hours (and we ran out of booze).
 

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So has anyone hit the Owyhee yet this season? We're watching the weather and the water levels in hopes of getting on during our Spring Break (last week of March).
 

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Shapp
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Has anyone run their own shuttle from Rome to Birch, any estimate of time? Trying to decide if it is worth to send some folks while we rig. Thanks.
Only when I was a super poor college student. It is over 3 hours round trip from the Rome Launch to Birch Creek and back depending on how you driver and what vehicle closer to 4 hours. If you have a trailer, it is over 4 hours.
 

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I drove into Birch Saturday 4/13...

...I would not drive a 2wd drive rig in there, especially pulling a trailer. You'd be asking for trouble. Also, I would not take a low clearance rig like a Subaru.

You'd want a very short trailer. There are a couple of creek crossings where with steep banks where a long trailer could get hung up.

If you don't have experience with 4x4 driving, its best not to attempt it. For example, what are you going to do if you meet another vehicle coming down the road with no room to pull off? Can you back a trailer down a steep, winding canyon?

You might get in there in a 2wd Sprinter van, but you probably wouldn't make it out.
 

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Shapp
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What you talking about willis? Run off will have significantly occurred by May and maybe even the peak depending on how the snow comes off. The reservoir will likely be full or near full sometime in May and you will have a ton of flat reservoir water to traverse to Leslie Gulch 100% guaranteed with the current amount of snow pack already built up in the Owyhee basin. Looking at the reservoir level in March is of no use to you for a May trip.
May 1 is tomorrow, reservoir is 90% full, peak is over, get some while it lasts.
 

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My name isn't Will
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Just back from five days to Leslie. This was my first time on the lower. Days 3 and 4 were the best. If/when I go back, I'll focus on spending more time in that part of the canyon.
 
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