Life off Interstate 84 - Idaho

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(19 April 2014)  My name is Tim Bondy and the owner of this website.  As of Jan 1st, 2014 we moved to a different domain.  Please head over to the Bondy Blogs Website at  Different address, different system but same type of great articles, photos, stories and information. 

You are here: Mtn Home Outdoor Not so local Outdoor News Big Jack's Creek Canyon Trip Report

Big Jack's Creek Canyon Trip Report

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Easter in the Church of Jack
Easter Sunday or April 12th, 2009 saw me headed south into the Owyhee Desert once again. This time it wasn't mainly a mountain biking trip but a trip were the mountain bike was used to get to a destination. That destination was Big Jack's Creek and it's associated canyon.

Big Jacks Creek Idaho

I left Mountain Home at 11:15AM with a temperature around 57F and bright blue skies. It took about 1:15 to get to my predetermined parking spot at the intersection of Wickahoney Road/Battle Creek Rd and some unnamed dirt road. The temperature had dropped to 53F by the time I stepped out of my truck at 12:25PM likely due to the increase in elevation. I pulled my crusty 18 year old Cannondale mountain bike out of the back of the truck and headed north.

Owyhee Wilderness

I was armed with electronics...a GPS unit, my cell phone and a my trusty digital camera. The ride north on the dirt road was quite enjoyable. The recent rains packed the dirt down pretty good but it certainly wasn't muddy at all. Just plain old soften hardpack with no dust trails. My first stop was about 2 minutes into the ride where a sign indicated the land to the west was a "wilderness study area" but as I'm sure most of you know, this land it now likely classified as official "Wilderness".

I stopped at about the ¾ way mark to the canyon rim to check out a shallow wash. I ended up calling this wash "Cemetery Wash" for a couple reason. The first reason was because a wide swatch of land near the wash was trampled by cattle. The grass was gray and so were the hundreds of cow patties spread across this portion of desert. But once I got on the far side of this dead zone, the view to the west was quite nice. As I was walking back to my bike, I spotted some white stuff hanging on some sage brush. I had to find out what it was. The stuff hanging from the sagebrush was a partial skeleton. A thigh bone in one and a jaw bone in another were just hanging there. I understood when I got closer that someone was using the bones for target practice as there were old tin cans laying around full of bullet holes.

Cemetery Wash Idaho

I continued on and made it to the end of the road and the rim of the canyon. I was surprised to find a BLM Registry table at the end of the road so I signed in. I then walked my bike into the canyon a little way to a spot I could park it out of sight and mind. The trail into Big Jack's Creek Canyon become rather faint in places the further down you go but there is no mistaken where you're headed...straight down to a high bench in the canyon. And one really doesn't need a trail to go straight down.

I spent about one hour oohing and ahhing at the incredible sights in this very special place. I was impressed with the whole geology of the canyon but there were a lot of cool rocks also. I saw some "almost" obsidian, a few chucks of what I think was opal and maybe even some petrified wood. The 100-250 foot sheer drop off down to Jack's Creek was spectacular if not scary. For a guy that has somewhat of a fear of heights I certainly picked a place that would challenge that fear.

The Real Jacks Creek in Idaho

Some day I'd like to further challenge myself by making it all the way down to the bottom of this canyon and try my luck at catching some fish in Jack's Creek. It looks possible but I think I'll wait until mid March 2010 before attempting it. If anyone has ever made it "safely" to the bottom of Big Jack's Creek at the place I was I'd like to hear from you.

The Map

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Distance from Mountain Home, Idaho to the canyon rim: About 50 miles
Dirt road mileage: 8.3 miles...most of which is negotiable by a regular car if you take it easy.
Type of person: Any person in reasonably good shape could make it down and back out of the canyon.

Many more photo's of my Jack's Creek visit can be found at:

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