The Owyhee Mountains are home of many interesting rock formations, and one area worthy of a visit is the Jump Creek Canyon southwest of Marsing. This short canyon is burrowed into the north side of a mountain and is decorated with rocks in fantastic shapes. Small trees and a trickling stream add to its charm.
The Bureau of Land Management has built hiking trails, parking lots, toilets and a picnic area at the site. The picnic area would be navigable by wheelchair but the trails are not. Upper and lower parking lots are separated by a very steep road that is suitable for use by nothing larger than a pickup truck. The picnic area, toilets and trail into the canyon are at the lower parking area. There is no fee to use the Jump Creek facilities.
The canyon trail is short and not very steep, though there are rocks to climb over. It is a nice place for kids, but both poison ivy and snakes are factors to bear in mind. At some points the trail is damp, so wearing shoes with non-slip soles is a good choice. The area is pleasant on warm days because of shade provided by trees and numerous large caves.
To visit Jump Creek Canyon, drive west on State Highway 55 through Marsing to the junction with US 95. Turn south on US 95 and drive one mile, turning west on Pershall Road. Follow Pershall until it terminates at Jump Creek Road. Turn south on Jump Creek Road. Where the pavement ends, two narrow gravel roads diverge. Choose the right hand road and drive through the cattle guard. Drive on the gravel 1.4 miles to the upper parking lot or ease down to the lower lot if you dare.
While driving on Jump Creek Road, note the last cross road before the pavement ends: Poison Creek. West on this road is the 1887 Poison Creek Stage Station. This was a way station on the original 1886 Idaho-Oregon-Nevada Highway (“I-O-N”) that connected Caldwell, Idaho with Winnemucca, Nevada. The revised I-O-N route is US 95 through Jordan Valley.

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