Jump Creek Canyon and falls is a small State Recreation site in Owyhee County. It’s just a few miles from Marsing and about a one-way hour’s drive from Boise. With it’s relatively close location it has become one of my favorite spots to spend a half day or whole day. My friend Trevor Schultz introduced me to this area about three years ago. Since then I’ve gone back 20 times (judging by the folders I have in My Pictures). Some times I would go hiking with another friend but a good majority of these trips were done by myself.
Though the waterfall is the highlight and only about a half mile hike, there are many sites to see if you hike up above the canyon on the West Rimrock Trail. There were a few times that I would go strictly for scouting things out and aimlessly wander about the sage and bunchgrass, descending steep hills and then ascending. When I heard of another waterfall further back in the canyon I became determined to find it. I don’t know that I ever did find it but that led me on some longer hikes (around 5 miles) back from the parking area and countless cascades and narrows. I use the term narrows loosely. This isn’t going to rival the Virgin River or and slot canyon in the Southwest but this area did well to sate my desert appetite.
Two years ago in December there was a very frigid week where temperatures didn’t get out of the low 20s. I figured it would be a good idea to see if the falls were frozen. It was a spectacular site! The following December also brought a cold snap for a week which along with a few inches of snow made for another round of interesting photographs.
Undoubtedly my favorite spot became the Triple Falls area. This moniker is due to the three falls (two very small) that fall over a rock ledge about five feet in height. The whole area was quite nice with two waterfalls and a very short narrows preceding the scene. Also, hiking to the end (or beginning) of the canyon was very rewarding due to the short section of narrows there too.
Moving to Moscow, Idaho, I’ve already decided to make Elk Creek Falls my new Jump Creek. It’s located about an hour from Moscow and has three beautiful falls with great columnar basalt. However, the environment is much different being more akin to the lush Pacific coast rather than the Great Basin in which Jump Creek resides. I’m an admitted desert rat so being in such a different environment, though photogenic, will be difficult. Nonetheless, Jump Creek has provided me with many excellent days of hiking and photography. Hopefully others in Boise will recognize the desert beauty that lies in the Owyhees and take advantage of it’s easy access.