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Hiking Jump Creek Falls Trail

Hiking Jump Creek Falls Trail

Just north of Marsing, about an hour-long drive from Boise, there is a surprising riparian environment covertly hidden within the dry heat of the Owyhees. Those who make the short .25 mile hike to Jump Creek Falls are rewarded with the paradise of a 60-foot waterfall and lush dipping pool nestled within an intimate alcove. It’s the perfect getaway on a hot day, so pack a picnic and bring your furry four-legged friend! 

Here’s what we found on our recent trip to Jump Creek and what you need to know before visiting yourself!


What is the Drive Like to Jump Creek Falls?

Driving along the dusty steppe roads, it may be hard to believe you are in search of a waterfall in the Southwestern desert, but it does exist. As you approach the Jump Creek site, you’ll find signs directing you to free parking in an upper and lower lot. If you aim to view the falls from a vantage overlook or venture advanced climbing areas, you’ll want to take the upper trail. However, since this trail meanders along the edge of the canyon and requires peak physical endurance, it is less than suitable for the very young or those who are out of shape.

jump creek falls, idaho, outdoor recreation

Image Credit: Amber Hawton-Hill


Totally Boise suggests parking in the lower lot and following its trailhead for the most direct path to soak in the open creek and enjoy the natural waterfall. This trailhead features picnic tables, fire rings, and a bathroom. It is fairly consistent in elevation making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear to best navigate the short quarter mile hike over the rocky, sometimes wet, terrain.

jump creek falls, idaho, outdoor recreation

Image Credit: Amber Hawton-Hill


Which Trail Should You Take?

You’ll begin by descending from rolling sagebrush into a canopy of Water Birch and Red Osier Dogwood trees. Keep your eye open for the state flower, the Syringa, which peaks in season May through June. Also be mindful that poison ivy is native to the area by following the old saying “leaves of three… let it be!” 

jump creek falls, idaho, outdoor recreation

Image Credit: Amber Hawton-Hill

Continuing along the trail, you’ll be prompted to cross a peaceful stream. The water level varies depending on the time of year. Someone has thoughtfully left a breadcrumb trail of circular stepping stones to assist with safe footing and assure guidance to the splendor ahead.

jump creek falls, idaho, outdoor recreation

Image Credit: Amber Hawton-Hill

In little time, the trail opens to a breathtaking view of the falls, which feels unexpected and extremely rewarding after driving through miles of sagebrush. Fed by Sands Basin, ribbons of water fall from 60 feet above. The volcanically formed rhyolite surrounding the area is pink in color and raises up to 600 feet above the canyon floor. This offers a shaded respite from the sun. A few boulders that have fallen into the creek offer fun climbing obstacles as well as opportunities for photo shoots. 

The floor of the creek is made up of loose rocks, some sharp and none of them well-anchored, so you’ll be most happy if you’ve worn some type of sturdy water shoes. There are shallow rocky areas for kids to safely explore and catch crawfish. Braver swimmers will face the cool five-foot pool in order to jump from a rock next to the falls for the full experience.

jump creek falls, idaho, outdoor recreation

Image Credit: Amber Hawton-Hill

What We Loved About Jump Creek Falls

If you make the trek early in the morning or on a weekday, you’ll be most likely to have the place to yourself or a smaller crowd. This will allow you to appreciate the relaxing sounds of the mist spraying and the plunging water. There are several shallow caves which allow for people to gather in separated spaces. Everyone there seemed to share a respectful and friendly vibe and the dogs were well-behaved. It seemed everyone was united and humbled in the majestic beauty of this natural formation.

Whether you are a Boise native or an out-of-town visitor looking to explore one of the beautiful recreational amenities offered in this amazing state, Jump Creek Falls is a must experience excursion. As a steward of any Idaho outdoor adventure, remember to pack out what you pack in to keep this treasured experience beautiful for future generations.

What to Know Before You Go

Here’s some helpful information to know about Jump Creek before you go:

Phone: 208-896-5912
Address: Jump Creek Falls, ID 83639
Latitude/Longitude: 43.48277778 / -116.9230556
Lower Trail Distance: A 0.25 miles (0.5 miles round trip) hike.
Distance From Boise: Situated just north of Marsing. A 45 mile, 1 hour drive from Boise.
Hike Difficulty: 🌲
Time To Complete: Allow 1.5 hours to hike in, enjoy the areas/explore/picnic and hike back out.
Time to Go: March to October.
Site Hours: 6am to 9pm, Sunrise to Sunset.
Pet Friendly: Dogs are welcome.
Fees: Free parking and no permits required.
 

Directions

  •  Jump Creek is southwest of Marsing, Idaho. To drive there from Boise: 
  • Take Interstate 84 West to the Nampa exit for Highway 55 (Exit 33A). 
  • Follow Highway 55 through Marsing and on to the junction with US-95. 
  • Continue 1 miles past the junction and turn left onto Cemetery Road. 
  • Turn left at the T-intersection with a STOP sign. 
  • The road becomes Jump Creek Road as it continues south. 
  • Just after passing under power transmission lines, the road curves right, through private land. 
  • Stay on the roadway as it curves back to the left toward the entry to the recreation area.

(Directions courtesy of the BLM website)

What To Do Next

Consider visiting Celebration Park to see 10,000 year old petroglyphs in Idaho’s only archeological state park.

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