The Owyhee Mountains were forced up by the Owyhee Batholith 40 million years ago. Some geologists believe that Owyhee Granite is part of the Idaho Batholith, isolated from the main batholith by the passage of the Yellowstone hotspot. Much of the range’s granite is covered by Miocene rhyolite that erupted as a result of a meteorite impact 17 million years ago. The range is surrounded by the younger volcanic rocks of the Snake River Plain, and is still covered in places by extensive deposits of older sedimentary rock. Where Owyhee granite has been exposed to the surface, it has formed impressive outcroppings and an occasional dome.
the Owyhee Crest looking east to Turntable Mountain (on the right) and Hayden Peak (at the far skyline).
Most climbers and peak baggers ignore the range because of its long history of mining and its attraction to off road vehicle enthusiast. Yes, there are a lot of mining roads and you may run into a dirt bike but the range is vast, three wilderness areas are enclosed within it’s boundaries and the mountains beyond the Silver City area are wild and usually empt.
The old mining town of Silver City sits in a basin on the south side of the range’s highest peaks. During the summer and hunting season the area will often be crowded on weekends.
Evidence of the mining era can be found through out the range.
The Owyhee Front from the Snake River Plain. Quicksilver an Hayden Peak.
This granite dome is located near Silver City. Despite its fine lines, I have not heard of any rock climbers trying to climb its faces.
The range even has its own granite badlands.
More granite above Silver City.
The northwest corner of the range is more volcanic in nature.
Another view in the northwest corner of the range.
Yet another northwest corner landscape.
Access in the range outside of the area around Silver City can be problematic as many roads are not well maintained and private property blocks a lot of areas. No Trespassing signs need to be heeded as the law is usually enforced.
This shot is from the Reynolds Creek area.
This is the view looking east from Quicksilver Mountain.
Owyhee terrain varies greatly over the ranges expanse. The highest peaks are clustered around Silver City.
Mountain Range: Owyhee Mountains