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Owyhee Mountains
Area/Range

Owyhee Mountains

 
Owyhee Mountains

Page Type: Area/Range

Location: Idaho, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 42.98184°N / 116.65862°W

Object Title: Owyhee Mountains

Activities: Hiking, Aid Climbing, Canyoneering

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

 

Page By: SawtoothSean

Created/Edited: Feb 16, 2006 / May 22, 2010

Object ID: 172850

Hits: 17547 

Page Score: 88.74%  - 29 Votes 

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Mountains

 

Quicksilver Mountain
Quicksilver Mountain
 
Idaho Rattlesnake
Rattle Snake

The 4 major peaks are in the area just south of Silver City: Other interesting Peaks include South Mountain (the site of a bloody battle between the US Cavalry and the Bannock), Rooster Comb Peak, Rough Mountain, Whiskey Mountain, Red Mountain, Black Mountain, Sugar Loaf, Captain Butte, and Bald Mountain. Hundreds, if not thousands of interesting rock outcroppings exists in the lower canyon country of this region.

 

 

 

 

Overview

 

Quicksilver Mountain
 

The Owyhee Range of extreme southwestern Idaho was one of the last explored areas in the lower 48 states. The terrain in the region is rugged and varies from 2000 feet to over 8000 feet. The true beauty and wilderness of the region lies in it's lower canyons, some of which have probably only seen a few visits, ever. The peaks are often visited in the summer by off road vehicles and very few hikers. Still, it's extremely easy to not see a single soul on many of the peaks in the region.
  • The name Owyhee comes from Captain Cook's name for the Hawaiian Islands. The name was attached to this area after several Hawaiian trappers in the region vanished in 1818.
  • Exploitation has been ever present in the region from the 1860's until now. The world's largest open pit silver mine is active and thriving in this area- De Lamar
  • The historic mining town of Silver City was the largest settlement in the region. In the 1860's silver was discovered on the nearby mountains and the area has never been the same since. Like many of the boom and bust towns, Silver City sprung up very quickly. At the time, War Eagle Mountain mines had richer ores and larger initial production than any other mining area in the world. The area produced over 60 million dollars worth of ore and boasted a population of 2500 residents.  Today, Silver City and the War Eagle Mountain area is home to a few summer time residents, and usually none in the winter. 
  • Most of the region is managed by the BLM, so virtually anything goes here- off road vehicles, hunting, mining, heavy cattle grazing.
  • The War Eagle Mountain area has been the site of many bloody battles and deaths. Along with the documented Stage Coach robberies and murders in the region, there was at least one major uprising amongst miners against management in the late 1800's. The workers were fed up with conditions and payment terms and shot and killed several supervisors.  During the Bannock Indian uprising, the U.S. Calvary was called down from Boise and slaughtered a portion of a group of natives near South Mountain.  The Indians had also ambushed and killed settlers and travelers along the nearby roads.
  • The Owyhee uplands are part of the Basin and Range region.. The mountain range runs north to southeast separated by broad basins. Geologically the Owyhees extend southeast into Nevada and the Ruby Mountain region.
  • The lower slopes of War Eagle Mountain contain some of the most impressive rock outcroppings in all of southwestern Idaho.  The rock is mostly granite with a patina covering. Agates, Petrified Wood, Garnets, and Crystals are commonly found in the canyon portion of the region.
  • The Swan Falls Dam on the Snake River was built exclusively to generate power for Silver City. The dam still remains and is a short drive from Boise,ID. Summertime visitors to Silver City will notice that the electricity in the historic buildings is all 12 volt based and dim. This makes for an appropriate atmosphere if you stay overnight in the old hotel.

  • Silver City remains one of the best living ghost towns to visit in the U.S.- isolated, rugged, and no commercialization.
 
Red Naped Sapsucker
Red Naped Woodpecker

 

Hayden Peak Red Mtn
Hayden Peak

Getting There

 
Bruneau Canyon-Southwestern Idaho
 
Road Approach The Silver City Stage Road from ID-78 is closed due to heavy snow each winter. In late 2005, the road was completely washed out during a heavy rainfall. The area can be approached from Jordan Valley and the Oregon side also.

ID-78 runs along the northern edge of the Owyhees and can be accessed from Nampa or Mountain Home, Idaho. Just south of Murphy on ID-78, follow a well signed dirt road that leads from desert and canyon to sub-alpine Juniper. This road can be crowded on summer weekends and the area in general receives tons of off-road vehicles.  It is 18 long, winding miles from ID-78 to Silver City.

Other Road approaches include: The Bachman Grade Road, Triangle Road, Reynolds Creek, and Rooster Comb Road, and the De Lamar Road from Jordan Valley.

External Links


Silver City Photos and History


Idaho Conservation League Owyhee Info


Owyhee Canyonlands


Ghost Town Information on Silver City


Silver City History, Pictures and Family Information

 
Mountain BlueBird
 

Additions and Corrections

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brendonGeology

brendon

Hasn't voted

I just read that the basement geology of the Owyhees was part of the Idaho Batholith and was seperated by Basin and Range faulting, as well as covered in volcanic rock from the Yellowstone Hotspot (see the Snake River Plain page.)
Posted Mar 10, 2006 4:57 am

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