Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,856.00 ft (565.71 m)
Trail type
48.90 mi (78.70 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Pole Creek Road to Little West Owyhee is a 48.9-mile backpacking route located in Eastern Oregon within the Owyhee Canyonlands. This challenging route is ideal for experienced backpackers looking for solitude and breathtaking canyon scenery.

The journey starts on High Ridge Road and connects to Pole Creek Road. The trail takes you east through sagebrush and juniper, with open vistas as you make your way deeper into the backcountry. The route winds through varied terrain, offering stunning views of the high desert and glimpses of the Little West Owyhee River.

The confluence of the Little West Owyhee and the main Owyhee River is a hidden gem within Oregon's high desert. This junction is where the smaller tributary meets the wider and more powerful Owyhee River, creating a stunning blend of dramatic canyon walls and lush riparian zones. The surrounding landscape is rugged and untouched, with towering rock formations and colorful cliffs providing a striking contrast to the river's flowing waters. The remote setting and scenic vistas make this a prime spot for backpackers seeking solitude and natural beauty in one of Oregon's most captivating and lesser-known regions.

Leaving the river you’ll continue to hike along a dirt road path which parallels the Little West Owyhee River, providing glimpses of the winding river and its lush riparian habitat. Eventually you will reconnect with Pole Creek Road, head north, and reach a dirt road  junction. From the junction head west and retrace your steps back to the start. 


The high desert ecosystem presents a diverse array of flora and fauna, with sagebrush, juniper, and a variety of wildlife, including pronghorn antelope, mule deer, and various bird species.


Water sources along the route are limited, so carrying ample water for the entire journey is crucial. If you choose to collect and purify water from natural sources, always use a reliable filtration system to ensure safety.

Shade is sparse throughout the route, with little vegetation offering significant cover from the sun. The path traverses open desert terrain, making it essential to pack sun protection, including a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, and lightweight, breathable clothing to prevent sunburn and heat-related issues. Plan your hike to avoid peak midday heat, starting early in the morning and taking breaks in shaded spots when available. If the forecast predicts extreme heat, consider postponing your trip or shortening the duration.

The conditions of the dirt paths can vary with weather and may require careful navigation in some areas. Due to the remoteness, it's essential to inform someone of your hiking plan and be prepared with a detailed map or GPS. Dispersed camping is allowed in designated areas, but check the latest regulations before setting out.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round





Solitude. River Access. Canyon Views.


Lack of shade and reliable water

Trailhead Elevation

5,469.00 ft (1,666.95 m)

Highest point

5,469.00 ft (1,666.95 m)


Backcountry camping
Near lake or river
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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