Know Before You Go: Most of the area is composed of Wilderness Study Areas. To preserve the wilderness values that make this area so remarkable, please remember: Camping and fires are limited to Slocum Creek campground. Camping is limited to 14 days. Overnight backpackers must camp outside of the Area of Critical Environmental Concern. All motorized vehicles and bicycles are limited to existing roads and parking areas. Horses and other domestic livestock are not allowed in the Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The collection of vegetation, rock materials, and firewood is not permitted. No drinking water is available. Portable toilets are distributed along the road and at Slocum Creek campground. Avoid wet road conditions. High-clearance vehicles are recommended. Large recreation vehicles are not recommended. Flash flood events and winter conditions can make the road inaccessible. Geology The most striking features of Leslie Gulch are the diverse and often stark, towering and colorful geologic formations. The Leslie Gulch Tuff (consolidated volcanic ash), makes up the bulk of these formations. It is a rhyolite ash that erupted from the Mahogany Mountain caldera (a large volcanic depression which encompasses Leslie Gulch) in a series of violent explosions about 15.5 million years ago. Much of the material fell back into the volcano as a gaseous deposit of fine ash and rock fragments up to 1,000 feet thick. About 100,000 years later, volcanic eruptions from the Three Fingers caldera, located several miles to the northeast, deposited another layer of rhyolite tuff in Leslie Gulch. Today, the tuff is beautifully displayed as steep slopes and vertical, honeycombed towers carved over time. Recreational Activities Slocum Creek campground has 12 campsites. Picnic tables are also available. A concrete boat ramp provides Owyhee Reservoir access for small water craft. Hiking, photography, plant and wildlife viewing are all popular activities in this unique canyon setting. Take caution and be prepared for ticks, rattlesnakes, and extreme weather conditions. Wildflowers The talus slopes and unique soils of Leslie Gulch support a number of rare plant species. Two annual species are found only in the Leslie Gulch drainage (Packard’s blazing star and Etter’s groundsel). Grimy ivesia, sterile milkvetch, and Owyhee clover are rare perennials found at a few isolated sites in the canyon. Wildlife In 1965, 17 California bighorn sheep were reintroduced into Leslie Gulch. The herd has expanded to over 200 animals. Mule deer and Rocky Mountain elk are also found in the area. Bird watchers can spot chukar, numerous song birds, raptors, California quail, northern flickers, and white-throated swifts. Coyotes, bobcats, bats, and many reptiles, including rattlesnakes, also live in Leslie Gulch. Cultural Native Americans fished, hunted, and camped along the Owyhee River in Leslie Gulch 5,000 years before Europeans came to the area. In 1882, a cattle rancher, Hiram E. Leslie, was struck by lightning while working in what was then known as Dugout Gulch; thus, the area was renamed Leslie Gulch. The original Leslie Gulch Canyon Road long served as a wagon and mail route between Rockville and Watson. Today, the town of Watson lies at the bottom of the Owyhee Reservoir. Directions to the Site The site is located east of the Owyhee Reservoir in Malheur County, Oregon. From Highway 95 in Idaho, go west 8 miles on McBride Creek Road to Rockville, then 1 mile north to Leslie Gulch Road and 15 miles west; or take Succor Creek Road from either Oregon Highway 201 or US Highway 95 to the Leslie Gulch Road junction. For more information contact: Vale District Bureau of Land Management 100 Oregon Street Vale, OR 97918 (541) 473-3144
Vendor: Bureau of Land Management - Oregon
Primary Category: Recreation
Secondary Categorization: Parks
Size: 2.0 MB
Maps purchased here can only be viewed in the Avenza Maps app on iOS and Android.
Get the app. Get the map. ®