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: 2013-04-25

Waterfall Latitude: 43.47717
Waterfall Longitude: -116.92512

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.

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.

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

Aside from one other pair of ladies who were on their way out, Julie and I had the falls to ourselves.

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.

The Short Hike to 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.

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

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).

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.

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

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.

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.

Jump_Creek_039_20130425 - Context of the surrounding cliffs and large boulders around the plunge pool for the Jump Creek Falls
Context of the surrounding cliffs and large boulders around the plunge pool for the Jump Creek Falls

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

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

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

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

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

After we were done with our trip and had read a little more about it, we would later find out that the high and dry path led to an overlook on a recently improved trail.

I guess we’ll have to come back here one of these days to check out the view from up there.

A Locals Waterfall

We said this was a locals waterfall because on our way out, we noticed there were people starting to head to the canyon itself.

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.

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

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.

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_002_20130425 - The unpaved trailhead parking lot for the Jump Creek Recreational Area
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
Jump_Creek_009_20130425 - Julie crossing Jump Creek in fairly low flow 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
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
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
Jump_Creek_042_20130425 - Last look across the plunge pool for Jump Creek Falls before we headed back out
Jump_Creek_050_20130425 - Back at the lower trailhead for the Jump Creek Recreational Area

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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.

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.

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

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

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 four-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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

The road would eventually lead to the mouth of Jump Creek Canyon.

I recalled there were a couple of confusing forks.

The first fork was just past a cattle guard by a “Pack In, Pack Out” sign, where we stayed to the left.

Jump_Creek_051_20130425 - The last fork where we kept left to continue towards Jump Creek Canyon, which you might spot up ahead in this photo
The last fork where we kept left to continue towards Jump Creek Canyon, which you might spot up ahead in this photo

The last fork was actually by a “No Shooting, Safety Zone” sign where we stayed left and descended a rutted road to the car park right at the mouth of the canyon.

Had we stayed right at the last fork, there was another parking lot that was probably for the Upper Overlook, which we didn’t do (though we wish we had in hindsight).

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_001_20130425 - On the unpaved road leading towards the beautiful Jump Creek Canyon
On the unpaved road leading towards the beautiful Jump Creek Canyon

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.

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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