The Owens River, although relatively short at 183 miles, compared to the major rivers of the USA, has a long and legendary history. It flows through two of the major valleys of the southwestern Great Basin, Long Valley and the Owens Valley ending in the closed basin of the Owens Lake which is now largely dry. It is fed from its origin to its terminus by the enormous drainage of the Sierra Nevada.
The entire system is world renowned as a premier fishing destination; from the sweeping bends of the river along the valley floors, to the high-altitude streams that tumble down the mountainside, to the reservoirs that hold the constant flow of water. Over 95% of the region through which this river flows is protected and has remained sparsely populated. The Eastern Sierra is a mecca for outdoor recreation and the Owens River is central to its status.