Leslie Gulch Weekend

I find out about Leslie Gulch because the colorful volcanic tuff rock towers here once inspired the development of some sport climbs. New bolting is now banned, and the little bit of information I find on existing climbs makes me think they’ll be too hard for us, so we explore the area on foot rather than trying to climb the rocks.

Leaving Leslie Gulch

The obvious part of the landscape that has changed in the last century is the reservoir at the bottom of the canyon. In the early 1900’s prospectors upstream in Nevada reported pitchforking salmon from the river. Construction of the Owyhee dam in 1932 ended that, the last Nevadan salmon run. In exchange Oregon and Idaho got 120,000 acres of irrigated farmland, and now 12 megawatts of electric generation as well.

Owyhee Reservoir

It’s been a while since we stayed deep in the boonies, and this spot feels remote and deeply restful. The main attraction is boat access to Owyhee Reservoir, but it’s the terrain that lures us in for interesting hiking. The BLM information on this area highlights rare plant species found here and a population of California bighorn sheep. We enjoy seeing soaring raptors, wildflowers, and most of all vast untrammeled volcanic landscapes.

Slocum creek towers

Slocum creek campsite

Canoe on Owyhee reservoir

Slocum Creek Campground

Camel rock

Towers below


Lone yellow flower

Hiking the grassy ridge


Ann in the hills

Me above Leslie Gulch

Sour Clover

Flood Warning Sign

4 responses to “Leslie Gulch Weekend”

  1. wow. these are the best pics i’ve seen on her. that place is awesome. the BLM link is broken or something to that affect.

    so this is in Idaho? how is the rock, worth bolting?

    place is beautiful.

  2. It is a great place – just over the Oregon border from Idaho. Hard to say how worthy the rock is without touching more of it, but there is a lot of it. Just a cool, remote place – I’d go back just to wander around some more.

    Links seem fine to me, try em again.

  3. if it’s like Smith Rocks, probably very little worth bolting.

    but an amazing place nonetheless. just incredible. if it is as remote as you say it is, that just adds to it. i am totally intrigued.

  4. Access is at least 25 miles on dirt roads, and there are no big towns nearby. Camping is restricted to the free campground in the gulch, but there are a lot of open lands surrounding.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.