Bruneau River - White Water Paddling

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Cutting deep into a canyon of the same name, the challenging Bruneau is incredibly scenic and incredibly remote, with sheer walls coming straight out of the water.

Written by

Teresa Bruffey


0.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

92.9 miles


4 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

2 days

2 - 3 Days


Spring and Summer

April through mid-June

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits


Yes, self-issue



A trip down the Bruneau River is a truly remote experience as the river carves through the steep, sheer walls of this deep canyon in the isolated Owyhee wilderness. The incredible and powerful geology of the narrow canyon is colored with the browns and greys of that rock and many shades of green and orange of plant life. At times only a few rafts wide this river is seen by very few people. There are places along this river where even SAT phones won't work. Boaters should be experienced and prepared for all contingencies.

What Makes It Great

The BLM has a great map of the river including campspots. In the last 12 miles of the run, the Roberson Trail marks the start to the best of the Bruneau’s whitewater and includes 5 miles of class IV technical boulder gardens. *The Roberson Trail to take-out section can be done in a single long day. Hike down the steep, challenging trail watching for snakes and poison ivy to the put-in.

Who is Going to Love It

The rapids are mostly straightforward but will provide a serious challenge to intermediate boaters. 

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

The road to the put-in at Indian Hot Springs is extremely rough and the last 10 miles to get to the put in take 2 hours. Do not attempt the road if it is wet or muddy. As one Bureau of Land Management river ranger put it, “it’s highly recommended to use your buddy’s truck."

Self issue permits can be obtained at the put-in or downloaded online.

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Bruneau River

Bruneau, ID,
42.340202, -115.64427

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