Jump Creek Falls

Sands Basin / Marsing / Nampa, Idaho, USA

About Jump Creek Falls


Hiking Distance: 1/2-mile round trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2013-04-25
Date last visited: 2021-04-03

Waterfall Latitude: 43.47717
Waterfall Longitude: -116.92512

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Jump Creek Falls was seemingly a locals’ kind of waterfall, especially since we had to navigate through a maze of private property to even find this gem not far from Boise, Idaho.

What really made this waterfall stand out in our minds was the combination of the overhanging, colorful, and narrow walls of Jump Creek Canyon.

Jump_Creek_011_20130425 - Jump Creek Falls
Jump Creek Falls

Such walls surrounded the falls itself as well as along the short hike to get there.

Indeed, the waterfall was merely the sideshow to the short but attractive canyon that very much reminded us of something we would have expected to see in the deserts of the American Southwest instead of Southwestern Idaho.

Jump Creek Falls itself was said to be around 50ft tall.

We happened to see it in moderate to low flow during our late April 2013 visit on a pretty hot day in the mid 80s.

Jump_Creek_026_20130425 - Looking back at Jump Creek Falls backed by some impressive cliffs
Looking back at Jump Creek Falls backed by some impressive cliffs

So the shadiness of our late afternoon visit to the falls certainly provided us with some kind of relief from the heat in the otherwise dry, dusty, and desolate canyonlands.

Aside from one other pair of ladies who were on their way out, Julie and I had the falls to ourselves during our first visit back in late April 2013.

So the only sounds we heard (besides the ones we’ve made walking about and snapping photos) were that of some local pidgeons and the white noise of the Jump Creek Falls itself splashing into its calm plunge pool.

Unfortunately, as time went on, when we returned to Jump Creek Falls in April 2021, it seemed like the secret was out and this place really blew up in popularity.

The Short Hike to the Base of Jump Creek Falls

Jump_Creek_005_20130425 - Julie starting on the hike into Jump Creek Canyon in pursuit of the Jump Creek Falls
Julie starting on the hike into Jump Creek Canyon in pursuit of the Jump Creek Falls

The walk from the mouth of Jump Creek Canyon to the Jump Creek Falls was merely about a quarter-mile.

We had to cross the creek once, but given the tame waterflow, we only needed to rock hop to get across without the risk of getting our feet wet.

In fact, when we came back here on our second visit (8 years after our first visit in late April 2013), some of thes rocks were actually replaced by stepping stones!

Speaking of the waterflow, apparently early to mid Spring would be the most optimal times to view this waterfall because it could be trickling or dry by Summer (depending on the snow pack and melt).

Jump_Creek_Falls_015_04032021 - Traversing the stepping stones as we crossed Jump Creek en route to the base of Jump Creek Falls
Traversing the stepping stones as we crossed Jump Creek en route to the base of Jump Creek Falls

Many of the canyon walls seen during the hike seemed to feature some holes, alcoves, or even some tiny natural arches.

I recalled seeing one on a cliff above Jump Creek Falls that appeared to be a pinhole type of arch.

Meanwhile, there was an arch shaped like a jug handle above the walking trail as well.

Given the height of the cliff walls and their close proximity around us, it almost felt as if these vertical walls were closing in on us as we were at the base of the falls.

Jump_Creek_048_20130425 - Julie making her way back from Jump Creek Falls where we spotted this interesting jug handle arch high up on the cliffs
Julie making her way back from Jump Creek Falls where we spotted this interesting jug handle arch high up on the cliffs

That was how tight this short but gorgeous canyon was.

Of course with such beauty, we also spotted large boulders strewn about the alcove at the base of Jump Creek Falls.

They probably fell from the cliffs above us, and there was even a part of the fallen rocks where there was a tunnel-like hole leading to the rest of the alcove for a more direct view of the falls.

Nonetheless, the presence of these fallen rocks reminded us of the inherent danger of vertical cliffs shedding themselves over time.

Jump_Creek_007_20130425 - Julie walking within the confines of Jump Creek Canyon
Julie walking within the confines of Jump Creek Canyon

So as much as we wanted to stick around here for a while, we were always cognizant of the rockfall danger.

Speaking of dangers, the slopes around the far side of the plunge pool area of Jump Creek Falls was quite slippery with loose gravel.

We noticed many people slipping and falling here (especially since the vast majority of them didn’t wear proper hiking shoes), and one woman bloodied up her knee pretty badly when she took a spill.

Luckily, we gave them some wipes and a bandage that they didn’t come prepared with, but it just goes to show you that you really have to respect the hazards in the area in order to avoid more serious problems and have a better experience.

Jump_Creek_Falls_011_04032021 - Looking up at some people not making smart decisions as they chose some steep and eroded paths in improper footwear to access some side caves along the Jump Creek Falls Trail
Looking up at some people not making smart decisions as they chose some steep and eroded paths in improper footwear to access some side caves along the Jump Creek Falls Trail

Overall, we spent about an hour here to encompass the walking and photo taking.

Hiking to the Jump Creek Falls Overlook

Back at the trailhead, we noticed that there was a trail that went higher up the canyon.

This was actually the trail leading to the West Rim Overlook as well as the Jump Creek Falls Overlook.

So after an initial ascent out of the overflow parking area, I then encountered a trail junction, where I took the left path to remain within Jump Creek Canyon.

Jump_Creek_Falls_100_04032021 - Context of the informal use-trails going beyond the sanctioned Jump Creek Falls Overlook
Context of the informal use-trails going beyond the sanctioned Jump Creek Falls Overlook

After about 1/4-mile, I reached the sanctioned overlook for the Jump Creek Falls as well as some signage urging visitors to remain on the maintained paths.

The presence of unofficial use-trails have resulted in dangerous erosion that would undermine visitor safety.

That said, I have seen use-trails going a little further past the sanctioned overlook to improve upon the views of the Jump Creek Falls further up ahead.

A Locals Waterfall?

We said this was a locals waterfall because on our way out of our first visit in late April 2013, we noticed there were people starting to head to the canyon itself.

Jump_Creek_020_20130425 - Looking directly across the plunge pool at the Jump Creek Falls
Looking directly across the plunge pool at the Jump Creek Falls

There were a few young men smoking and chilling out by some ugly graffiti in one dark alcove near the mouth of the canyon when we were leaving.

And given how tricky it was to even find the correct access roads to get to the Jump Creek Falls, it would make sense that only locals would have the confidence of knowing which roads to take to get here quickly.

Indeed, it felt as if we had stumbled into some secret place back then.

However, when we returned 8 years later, it seemed like this place was no longer such a secret as it was quite busy with many people.

Jump_Creek_Falls_003_04032021 - Looking down at the many cars parked at the Jump Creek Falls Trailhead in early April 2021, which indicated that this place was no longer the locals' secret when we first came here in late April 2013
Looking down at the many cars parked at the Jump Creek Falls Trailhead in early April 2021, which indicated that this place was no longer the locals’ secret when we first came here in late April 2013

Such is the nature of natural places like this, and I guess it was only a matter of time before the availability of free information accessed on the internet would blow up a place like this, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Authorities

Jump Creek Falls resides in the Jump Creek Recreation Area near Nampa in Owyhee County, Idaho. It is administered by the Bureau of Land Management. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Jump_Creek_Falls_001_04032021 - Arriving at the very busy Jump Creek Recreation Site during our early April 2021 visit
Jump_Creek_Falls_002_04032021 - I had forgotten that there was this driveway ramp down to a lower parking area so most of us would up walking this ramp down to the trailhead for Jump Creek Falls during our early April 2021 visit
Jump_Creek_Falls_007_04032021 - Entering Jump Creek Canyon and its interesting cliff formations along the way in early April 2021
Jump_Creek_Falls_012_04032021 - The crew descending towards the crossing of Jump Creek in early April 2021
Jump_Creek_Falls_013_04032021 - Dana and Julie descending towards the crossing of Jump Creek in early April 2021
Jump_Creek_Falls_016_04032021 - Checking out some interesting formations alongside Jump Creek during our brief hike to the base of Jump Creek Falls in early April 2021
Jump_Creek_Falls_019_04032021 - Justin enjoying the scenery beyond the crossing of Jump Creek during our early April 2021 visit
Jump_Creek_Falls_024_04032021 - The crew finally approaching the Jump Creek Falls during our visit in early April 2021
Jump_Creek_Falls_026_04032021 - Unlike our first visit 8 years prior to our early April 2021 visit, there were a lot of people around Jump Creek Falls
Jump_Creek_Falls_047_04032021 - Jump Creek Falls looked pretty much like it did in early April 2021 as it did in late April 2013
Jump_Creek_Falls_068_04032021 - The kids really enjoying themselves at the plunge pool before Jump Creek Falls in early April 2021
Jump_Creek_Falls_080_04032021 - Direct look across the plunge pool at the Jump Creek Falls in early April 2021
Jump_Creek_Falls_083_04032021 - Checking out this jug handle arch on the way back from Jump Creek Falls
Jump_Creek_Falls_085_04032021 - Another look at some interesting overhangs undercut by Jump Creek near the crossing of its creek
Jump_Creek_Falls_091_04032021 - Looking up at one of the confusing series of false trails leading up to the upper trail for the Jump Creek Falls Overlook
Jump_Creek_Falls_092_04032021 - Looking back at the parking lots for the Jump Creek Falls from the upper trail to the Jump Creek Falls Overlook
Jump_Creek_Falls_094_04032021 - Following some steps up to the Jump Creek Falls Overlook Trail
Jump_Creek_Falls_096_04032021 - Approaching the sanctioned overlook for the Jump Creek Falls Overlook
Jump_Creek_Falls_097_04032021 - Closeup look at signage urging visitors to stay on the maintained trails at Jump Creek Recreational Area
Jump_Creek_Falls_098_04032021 - Use-trails continuing beyond the sanctioned lookout for Jump Creek Falls
Jump_Creek_Falls_101_04032021 - Context of one family that did the scramble beyond the Jump Creek Falls Overlook in early April 2021
Jump_Creek_Falls_109_04032021 - This was as far as I went to experience the upper perspective of Jump Creek Falls in early April 2021 before heading back to rejoin the gang
Jump_Creek_Falls_117_04032021 - Closer look at the degree of erosion caused by the unmaintained use-trails around Jump Creek Falls
Jump_Creek_Falls_118_04032021 - Looking ahead towards where the upper trail became even less defined and sketchier
Jump_Creek_Falls_126_04032021 - Descending the trail junction between the Jump Creek Falls Overlook Trail and the West Rim Overlook Trail
Jump_Creek_002_20130425 - The unpaved trailhead parking lot for the Jump Creek Recreational Area as seen in late April 2013. This photo and the remaining photos in this gallery took place on this visit
Jump_Creek_003_20130425 - Julie and I finally made it to the mouth of Jump Creek Canyon and were about to start the short hike in late April 2013
Jump_Creek_009_20130425 - Julie crossing Jump Creek in fairly low flow in late April 2021 so it was an easy traverse without getting wet
Jump_Creek_010_20130425 - Even though the walk was only 1/4-mile each way, we thoroughly enjoyed the canyon scenery of Jump Creek Canyon.  Indeed, it was short, but oh was it sweet!
Jump_Creek_019_20130425 - Finally making it to Jump Creek Falls in late April 2013
Jump_Creek_013_20130425 - Wedged between a couple of giant boulders that had already fallen was this little opening to get to a different part of the alcove in front of Jump Creek Falls. But we really had to beware of the slippery footing on the other side of this passage
Jump_Creek_038_20130425 - Jump Creek Falls falling into the calm plunge pool at its base as seen from the far side of its alcove in late April 2013
Jump_Creek_042_20130425 - Last look across the plunge pool for Jump Creek Falls before we headed back out in late April 2013
Jump_Creek_050_20130425 - Back at the lower trailhead for the Jump Creek Recreational Area, which was pretty quiet during our late April 2013 visit


Jump Creek Falls was probably the closest waterfall excursion that we could find from the city of Boise, Idaho.

That was the main reason why we chose to do it.

Jump_Creek_053_20130425 - Approaching a stop sign where Poison Creek Road and Jump Creek Road intersected
Approaching a stop sign where Poison Creek Road and Jump Creek Road intersected

From Boise, we drove on the I-84 west to the Nampa exit (Exit 33A).

That exit put us on the Hwy 55, which passed through the bustling suburb of Nampa.

There was some traffic in the Nampa area due to merging lanes before Hwy 55 passed through the Snake River Valley Wine Region between Nampa and Marsing.

We followed Hwy 55 on through the town of Marsing, where the highway eventually junctioned with the Hwy 95.

Jump_Creek_054_20130425 - A key landmark for us was the intersection of Poison Creek Road and Jump Creek Road. We turned left at this intersection to go onto Jump Creek Road
A key landmark for us was the intersection of Poison Creek Road and Jump Creek Road. We turned left at this intersection to go onto Jump Creek Road

Next, we turned left onto Hwy 95 and drove for about 2.5 miles to the easy-to-miss Poison Creek Road on our right.

Then, we followed Poison Creek Road passing between lots of farms for about 3.5 miles or so until we reached a stop sign at a three-way intersection with Jump Creek Road.

We turned left onto Jump Creek Road and briefly followed it until the pavement ended where we were confronted with a fork.

At this fork, one road went straight into someone’s ranch and another road turned right past a cattle guard onto a sign that indicated there was a single-lane bridge.

Jump_Creek_052_20130425 - One of the confusing forks where we kept left to go through the cattle guard to continue towards Jump Creek Canyon
One of the confusing forks where we kept left to go through the cattle guard to continue towards Jump Creek Canyon

I didn’t recall seeing this, but the Bureau of Land Management’s website indicated there were power transmission lines here.

So we took the fork on the right, crossed over the single-lane bridge, and avoided the private driveway on the left.

Shortly thereafter, the unpaved road we were following did a curve that went left towards the Jump Creek Recreation Area.

It was at this point that we started to notice some Jump Creek signs to help us stay on the correct roads so as to not trespass.

Jump_Creek_051_20130425 - The last fork where the road was actually now a loop going through the spillover parking lot for Jump Creek Recreational Site
The last fork where the road was actually now a loop going through the spillover parking lot for Jump Creek Recreational Site

The road would eventually lead to the mouth of Jump Creek Canyon, where we encountered a one-way loop as the unpaved road entered a spillover parking area.

If available, there was a ramp that led down to a lower parking lot right at the Jump Creek Falls Trailhead, where there was some limited parking down there.

Overall, the drive was roughly an hour from Meridian and a little over an hour from Boise.

Alternate Directions from the BLM

It’s worth noting that the directions we followed largely followed Gregory Plumb’s guidebook about waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest.

Jump_Creek_Falls_132_04032021 - Context of the spillover parking area at the Jump Creek Recreation Site
Context of the spillover parking area at the Jump Creek Recreation Site


The Bureau of Land Management’s website had a slightly different route where instead of taking Poison Creek Road south of the junction of US95 and Hwy 55, they advocated taking Cemetery Road 1.5 miles west of that junction on US95.

That road would eventually lead to a T-intersection with a stop sign where you turn left, and then continue as the road becomes Jump Creek Road.

The part where the paved road becomes unpaved still follows the same directions as we gave it earlier.

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Checking out the falls from the far side of its plunge pool and then scrambling towards a more fontal view of the falls


360 degree sweep examining the cliffs surrounding the plunge pool area before panning along the drop of the falls


360 degree sweep from as far as I would go for the Jump Creek Falls overlook before panning down its drop


nearly 360-degree sweep starting with a peek-a-boo hole or arch above the falls, then panning down along the falls before sweeping over and around as the camera was pointing at the surrounding cliffs closing in on the cove we were in. The movie ends with a little tunnel or arch right next to us.



360-degree counterclockwise sweep along the cliff tops towering over us. In the sweep is a bottom up panning of the falls itself.

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Tagged with: sands basin, marsing, nampa, boise, idaho, waterfall, owyhee, sunnyslope, wine region



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Jump Creek after the Soda fires October 20, 2015 10:53 pm by Louis Ruth - In July and August the Soda fires burned over 300,000 acres from Jordan valley to Marsing Idaho. One of the areas I visit as a photographer is Jump Creek Falls outside of Marsing. I thought it was spectacular that the trees survived the fires that follow the Canyon and the Fall colors show through brilliantly. ...Read More

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