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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
and Etter’s groundsel). Grimy ivesia, sterile milkvetch, and
Owyhee clover are rare perennials found at a few isolated sites
in the canyon.
Know Before You Go
District Contact Information
Burueau of Land Management
100 Oregon Street
Vale, OR 97918
Public Lands USA:
Use • Share • Appreciate
dert hu and
years form the
landscape of this
More than 11,000 acr bounded by the
watersheds of Leslie, Slocum, Juniper, Dago,
and Runaway Gulch are managed by the
Bureau of Land Management as an Area of
Critical Environmental Concern to prote
the outstanding scenery and habitat of
California bighorn sheep and several rare