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  • Patrick Stoll

Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway

Updated: Jun 14, 2019

One of my favorite springtime adventures involves a multi-day drive on the Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway (aka, Mud Flat Road). I usually drive this 100 mile mostly gravel road from east to west, starting near Grand View, Idaho and coming out at Jordan Valley, Oregon.

This year I left Boise on Sunday morning, May 12, 2019. After topping off the gas tank of my 1990 Isuzu Trooper (purchased new in November 1990!) at Grandview Gas, I drove the short distance east on Highway 78 before turning right onto Mud Flat Road and the start of the Byway drive. At about the 20 mile mark, I stopped briefly at the Poison Creek Recreation Site (one of two developed areas along the entire drive) to change into my hiking boots. Sitting at one of the few picnic tables at the site, I soon noticed a very active nest of yellow jacket wasps in a hollow section of an adjacent cottonwood (the large tree just to the left of center in the image below). I quickly finished lacing my boots and bugged out.

Poison Creek Recreation Site, Mud Flat Road

I drove a couple more miles down the road and pulled off at the Perjue Canyon trailhead to take the short 2 mile hike (marked as the "Purjue Canyon"). With all the rain we've had this spring, the wildflowers along the hike were spectacular.

The trail was in very good condition (obviously a 2 wheeled wagon track at one time) until the 2 mile (approximate) point where it reached the old "Homesteader's Cabin".

After spending time around the cabin the the nearby canyon, I returned to the Trooper and continued west on Mud Flat Road. Along the way I made a number of other exploratory stops before driving onto a ridge about Hurry Back Creek where I had camped on previous occasions. Hiking along the ridge that evening, I saw wildflowers just about everywhere I looked.

The next morning I was back on Mud Flat Road heading west. I made many side trips along the way before deciding to camp near Deep Creek Canyon. The decision to camp near Deep Creek provided me with many opportunities to make evening and morning photographs.

Deep Creek Canyon riparian areas

On the morning of the 14th, just as it was started to get light, I hiked back to the top of the rim above Deep Creek Canyon to make a sunrise photo. After that, I did more exploring on the drive back to Boise.



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