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Home  >  Must-See Attractions  >  Idaho  >  Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway

Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway

Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway image

Viewscape from the Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway

The Owyhee Uplands National Back Country Byway , known locally as the Mud Flat Road, is the primary access to central Owyhee County.  From there, many rough roads and hiking routes enter more remote areas. Due to the fragile nature of the soils and vegetation, Idaho BLM asks that travelers keep all vehicles on the roadway and to be plan ahead by preparing for the desert when driving this byway.

The Byway is a graveled road that is mainly one and one-half lanes wide.  It can be traveled by most passenger vehicles during the summertime.  The road traverses relatively flat to gently rolling topography, but short grades of up to 12% are encountered in a few places.  The Byway is usually impassable from late November through March due to snow.  Precipitation can make the road treacherously slick, so use caution during inclement weather.
The Byway can be reached through Jordan Valley, Oregon (80 miles southwest of Boise) or from Hwy 78 near Grand View, Idaho (70 miles southeast of Boise). The Byway is primarily a gravel road: 92 miles within Idaho and 12 miles within Oregon.  A round-trip excursion on the Byway from Boise takes a full day.  There are no services along the Byway.  Services are available in Jordan Valley and Grand View.
Idaho BLM has an excellent online  brochure about this byway which includes mile-by-mile attractions and commentary. The brochure can be downloaded here .

Remember......due to the fragile nature of the soils and vegetation, keep all vehicles on the roadway.

As this route covers desert-like geography, it's important to have the following supplies before commencing travel on this byway: 

  • Ensure that you have plenty of gasoline
  • A properly inflated spare tire, lug wrench and jack
  • Bottled water; don’t drink from streams without treating the water
  • Extra food and clothing for inclement weather
  • Camera, binoculars and field guides
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Surface Management Status Map (Triangle 1:100,000 scale, available from BLM, showing land ownership) 

Please be aware that there are many parcels of private land along the Byway. Please respect private property by having the right maps and equipment to avoid trespassing.

Alert! There is no cell phone coverage along most of the route.  It is smart to let someone know about your travel plans.