Leslie Gulch 1971

Leslie Gulch in 1971. Photo taken by I. Cox.

One of the favorite places to ride!

Leslie Gulch, in the Owyhees, is a beautiful place for riding!  The scenery is awesome with the different colors, shapes and sizes of the rock formations!  The photo on the left was taken by my parents in 1971.  We used to take Sunday rides to Leslie Gulch. The scenery hasn’t changed much…maybe formations have decayed more over the years and the road is certainly wider…still an interesting area.  Each time you come to this area you always see something different.

Leslie Gulch Road 2008

Leslie Guich in 2008. Photo taken by P. Jones.

This past year, I have been wanting to write a story about Leslie Gulch, but now, I don’t have to! Roger Phillips, an outdoor writer for The Idaho Statesman, recently wrote a great article about the Leslie Gulch and the Succor Creek area that includes information about parks, picnic areas, camping, map, etc. Thanks Roger!  See link below.

Riding Requirements in Oregon:  By the way, Leslie Gulch and much of the Succor Creek area is in Oregon.  In order to ride ATVs and motorcycles in Oregon, you must carry with you Oregon’s All-terrain Safety Education card, and definitely have an All-terrain Vehicle Permit (ATV sticker) posted on your equipment. Oregon does accept other state OHV registration permits and state education cards/certificates.

Nice ride between the canyon walls!

Nice ride between the canyon walls! Photo taken by P. Jones, 2005.

Riding Requirements in Idaho:  It is not mandatory for adults to take the OHV safety course and carry a OHV Education certificate, i.e. “card”—however, it is recommended!  (Side note: After I got my new ATV, I took Idaho’s ATV safety course and it provided me with a better understanding on how to handle my ATV and ride the trails—if a beginner, I recommend the class.)

WORD OF CAUTION: If you live in Idaho and don’t have Idaho’s certificate/card, you better take Oregon’s on-line course, and receive their All-terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety Education card if you are planning to ride anywhere in Oregon—or be ready to pay the fine if you get caught without it!  For more information about Oregon and Idaho requirements, scroll down the page to the end of this Leslie Gulch article.

How was this gulch created?

Three Fingers Butte

Three Fingers Butte. Photo taken by P. Jones.

As stated in the Bureau of Land Management brochure: “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), make 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 1,5 million years ago. Much of the material fell back into the volcano as a gaseous deposit of ash and rock fragments up to 1,000 feet thick.  About 100,000 years later, volcanic eruptions from the Three Finger plum located several miles to the northeast, deposited another layer of rhyolite tuff in Leslie Gulch.”

How did Leslie Gulch get its name?

The gulch was named after a local rancher, Hiram E. Leslie. In 1882, he was moving cattle up the gulch towards Cow Creek when he was struck by lightning and killed.  The gulch was previously named “Dugout Gulch” and was later referred to by the locals as “the gulch where Leslie was struck by lightning”!  Later, the name was changed to Leslie Gulch.

How do you get there?Leslie Gulch Map

Leslie Gulch is located east of the Owyhee Reservoir in Malheur County. There several ways to get to Leslie Gulch:  1) from Homedale, go west on Hwy 19 to Oregon Hwy 201, south to Leslie Gulch Road; or 2) from Marsing, go west on Hwy 55 south to U.S. 95 to junction, then north on Succor Creek Road (Oregon Hwy 201) to Leslie Gulch Road. Depending on which way you come from, make sure you top off your gas tank in Homedale, Marsing, etc. or bring extra fuel!  Also be sure to bring water, lunch, etc.; and always, remember what you bring in, please take out…no trash cans available!  See map on right or additional links below.

When is the best time to ride in the area?

Anytime, depending on the type of vehicle you are riding, weather, road condition and fire restrictions.  Summer might be quite warm because of all the rocks radiating the absorbed heat from the summer sun.  In the spring time, you might not be able to get too far up the trail if the Owyhee River is too high.

Links to more information about the Leslie Gulch area:

Want to come and ride with us?  Join one of the Southwest ATV/UTV clubs today!  


= = = Oregon & Idaho Requirements = = =


Oregon All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Education Card & ATV Permit (Sticker) Required

Oregon Education Card:

Oregon State Parks and Recreation (OSPR):  Effective January 1, 2014, all operators of Class I (ATVs i.e. Quads) and III (motorcycles) must carry an ATV Safety Education Card. Link to description of Class I, II, III & IV.

Oregon Safety Courses:

Safety courses are the only options for obtaining the ATV Safety Education Card that is required for all operators. Once obtained, the ATV Safety Education Card is good for life.

Age 16 and over (Adults):

Under age 16:

Oregon Operator requirements(applies only to public OHV riding areas):

  • All operators must hold a valid ATV Safety Education Card (Cards can be obtained via on-line training course.)
  • Youth under 18: must wear a DOT approved helmet with the chin strap fastened.
  • Youth under 16:  must be supervised by an adult who is at least 18 years old and holds a valid ATV Safety Education Card and can provide immediate assistance and direction to the children.

Oregon ATV Permit for Vehicles

Oregon Vehicle Permits (Stickers):

As stated on OSPR’s website:  You must display an all-terrain vehicle permit if you are operating your ATV, UTV or motorcycles on public land (and even then, the land must be specifically designated for ATV use).  Additionally, all 4x4s need a permit as well.  The Permit Fee is $10 (most permit agents charge an extra .50) and expires every two years.  See the latest OSPR’s permit agent list.  

Reciprocal States

As stated on the OSPR website:  “An ATV/OHV operating permit that is issued in another state shall be honored in the State of Oregon if the issuing state also honors an Oregon ATV operating permit. Regardless of the class of all-terrain vehicles, an operator must have a resident state ATV/OHV operating permit or a State of Oregon ATV operating permit to operate the ATV on public lands in Oregon. An Oregon ATV Operating Permit may be issued to any class all-terrain vehicles owned by a resident of another state.
As of October 2014, Oregon honors permits from the following states:
These states currently have an OHV registration program that can issue a plate or decal (or both) that serves as their ATV permit to operate on or off-road. This plate may or may not make the OHV street legal to be operated on public roads and highways. Oregon recognizes other states’ OHV plates or ATV permits in lieu of the Oregon ATV permit when operating off-road.

 Idaho Requirements

Idaho OHV Education Certificate:

According to Idaho Department Parks & Recreation’s (IDPR) website:  “Idaho law requires that any person without a valid driver’s license who wishes to operate an off-highway vehicle (OHV) on US National Forest service roads must take an IDPR-approved OHV safety course.   Riders 15 years and younger who wish to operate an OHV on roads must also be supervised by an adult.  Idaho recognizes OHV education certificates from state-issued programs only.  To be valid, the certificate must display a state/program logo to be valid.”

Idaho OHV Safety Course:

IDPR offers a free one-day course. Classes are offered throughout the state for anyone who will be operating an OHV including an all-terrain vehicle (ATV), utility type vehicles (UTV) or a motorcycle.  The course includes training on safe riding, proper machine sizing, responsible and ethical riding, proper handling and shifting, riding within your ability, understanding the machine’s capabilities and rules of the road. Classes include home study, a written test, and three-hours of rider active training.

Idaho Off-Highway Vehicle Registration Sticker:

The Idaho Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Registration Sticker has an annual $12 fee per machine which funds education programs, trail clearing and maintenance projects throughout the state, as well as support valuable ATV/UTV and motorbike safety courses for all ages.

OHV Laws, Rules and Guidelines:

  • All OHV’s must display a current OHV registration sticker when operated on public lands or roads. Click here to register your vehicle.
  • Non-residents are required to have either a valid OHV registration from their home state of residence or a valid IDPR OHV registration sticker.
  • Non-residents must purchase an Idaho restricted vehicle license plate with a valid IDPR OHV registration sticker if they don’t have a plate and wish to operate on Idaho’s local jurisdiction roads (i.e. county roads).
  • Riders and passengers under age 18 must wear a helmet.
  • Any person without a valid driver’s license who wishes to operate an OHV on US National Forest service roads must take an IDPR-approved OHV safety course and carry their completion certificate while operating their OHV.
  • Riders 15 years and younger who wish to operate an OHV on Idaho roads must also be supervised by a licensed adult operator.
  • It is illegal to drive an OHV while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • A brightly colored “whip flag” must be attached to OHV’s when riding in sand dune areas.
  • Lights must be used between sunset and sunrise.
  • Ride only in OHV designated areas.
  • Ride on the right side of the road or trail and in single file.
  • Be alert to oncoming traffic, especially on blind curves or in dips and crests of hills.
  • Be sure your brakes will control and stop your OHV.
  • Mufflers with an approved spark arrestor are required on all OHVs

Oregon and Idaho Requirement Links: