Thursday, May 5, 2011

Try Succor Creek State Park for hiking, camping and exploring, near Homedale, Idaho

Drew Stuebner, 12, on top of the rim above Succor Creek State Park

Drew and Dad head back to the park

Steve and Drew

Wendy checks out the slot canyon

Slot canyon from below

Succor Creek was bank-full

There are lots of caves to explore in the rocks

Drew found a mysterious bone ...

Rhyolite spires punctuate the view

Downriver view of Succor Creek

The view approaching the park ...
Hi all,

I'm doing research for a new guidebook on the Owyhee Canyonlands this spring, summer and fall, so you will see occasional blog posts about my trips. Last Sunday, I took my son Drew and Wendy out to Succor Creek State Park, a natural area about 30 minutes from Homedale, Idaho.

The park is very scenic. It has hiking opportunities, caves to explore, campsites, a rest room and picnic areas. The area appears to be popular with off-highway vehicles as well. Camping is free, but it's a self-support situation. Bring your own water, food and supplies.

Succor Creek State Park lies in the bottom of an incised canyon, surrounded by cool rock features left over from rhyiolite and basalt lava flows that occurred many millions of years ago. There aren't many official trails in the area, but cross-country hiking is a great way to explore it. Kids will enjoy the caves, in particular, and playing around by the creek.

Directions: Take I-84 to the Idaho 55/Karcher Road exit (last Nampa exit). Go west on ID 55 to Chicken Dinner Road (before the big curve to the left and Sunnyslope wineries). Turn right and go one mile to Homedale Road. Turn left and drive through Homedale. Take Idaho Highway 19 six miles to a signed left-hand turnoff for Succor Creek Road. You'll see a sign for Succor Creek State Park. Go 16 miles on the dirt road to the state park natural area.

We started our outing with a casual walk along Succor Creek, which is raging right now! Snowpack levels were 178 percent of normal in the Owyhee Mountains this year, so there is plenty of water out there, that's for sure. We walked a half mile downstream before we got cliffed out and had to turn around.

Near the pedestrian bridge that goes across the creek in the campground, there is a small slot canyon you can explore. Because my younger son, Drew, isn't that skilled in scaling a slot canyon, we walked up a jeep trail a short ways up the hill, and then walked cross-country to the rim that lords above the campground. We could peer into the slot canyon and walk along the top of the rim as far as we wished. Up on top, you could climb much higher if you wanted to get a huge view of the Owyhee Mountains.

We saw at least 10 different caves that one could explore. A very large cave lies next to Succor Creek Road. It has a big dirt floor and there were some small animal bones and such that we found inside.

It also would be interesting to explore Antelope Springs Road by mountain bike. This is a dirt road that takes off up the hill from the state park natural area. Maps show that the road goes all the way back to Homedale. Maybe there's a loop that can be done?

If you go south of Succor Creek State Park, the Succor Creek Road connects to Leslie Gulch, Three Fingers Rock and some other areas worth exploring. Here's a video from one motorist. So, it's possible to camp one night at Succor Creek, camp the next night in Leslie Gulch, etc. The only catch is that Succor Creek is a dirt road, so be sure to watch the weather for wet weather. You could get stuck out there.


Steve shares his weekly outdoor tips with Ken and Tim on 94.9 FM The River each Friday morning at approximately 7:10 a.m. If you miss the program, you can hear the segments on River

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