Thursday, May 3, 2012

Here's an easy way to explore the new Big Jacks Creek Wilderness near Bruneau, Idaho

Here's Steve in the Big Jacks Creek Wilderness
Hi all,

It's going to be a bit wet heading into the weekend, but at least by Sunday, the weather appears very favorable for spring hiking.

As part of an ongoing series of sneak-peek blog posts about hikes and bike rides that we'll be including in a forthcoming guidebook on the Owyhee Canyonlands, I'd like to share an easy hike in the new Big Jacks Creek Wilderness, near Bruneau, Idaho.

The BLM has developed a trailhead and a marked trail to access Big Jacks Creek. It's called the Parker Trailhead. The hike is 2.5 miles out and back. There's a sweet campsite at the bottom of the creek, where a group could stay overnight.

Big Jacks Creek is a gorgeous canyon. Go see it and judge for yourself.

Driving map for Parker Trailhead
The hardest part of the whole trip, like many in the Owyhee Canyonlands, is finding the trailhead. A good 4WD vehicle or a high-clearance Subaru is recommended for the drive, once you hit the dirt roads.

How to get there: Take the freeway to Mountain Home. Take the first exit. Follow signs for Idaho State Highway 51 and Bruneau. After you reach Bruneau, take note of your odometer. Stay on Idaho 51 for approximately 25 miles. You'll be watching for a right-hand turn on a good dirt road, called the Wickahoney Road, just past milepost 45. The road is not signed, but it's a BLM public road.

Parker Trailhead 
Follow Wickahoney Road 4.9 miles to a T-junction by Wickahoney Creek. Turn right and go 2.8 miles to the Parker Trailhead. Park and hike from there.
Leo Hennessy follows the Parker Trail into the Big Jacks Wilderness

You'll follow a two-track road over to the rim of the canyon, walk over a barbed-wire fence via a wooden step-over gizmo, and descend into Big Jacks Creek. Take your time, take some photos and enjoy the scenery. There's a foot path going down into the canyon; it's marked by rock cairns along the way.

Once at the bottom, you can explore a little and eat lunch by the campsite area. Return the way you came.
Rock cairns help mark the foot path in Big Jacks canyon 

For more adventurous folks who like to walk down wet creek-bottoms, you might want to try starting the hike at Wickahoney Creek, follow Wickahoney down to Big Jacks, walk down Big Jacks to the Parker Trail and come back. That would be a longer loop, about 7 miles. Big Jacks has water in it in the springtime, so it'd be best doing that hike in Tevas or Chacos, or some kind of sturdy sandles. Flip flops would not work.

Have fun!
- SS

Steve shares his weekly outdoor tips with Ken and Tim on 94.9 FM The River each Friday morning in Boise at approximately 7:10 a.m. If you miss the program, you can hear the segments on 
River Detailed descriptions and color maps of Steve's hikes, bike rides and paddling trips are available for 99 cents each, plus the full ebooks and hard-copy guidebooks.

1 comment:

Greg D. Lind said...

thanks Steve, I was going to do this hike, if I could find the TH, last weekend, but weather was poor. So, I think this will be a good one to go. greg