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Succor Creek Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

At the bottom of the Succor Creek Canyon (bobcat)
Tufted evening primrose (Oenothera caespitosa), Succor Creek (bobcat)
Looking back to Succor Creek from the jeep road (bobcat)
Succor Creek in the upper canyon (bobcat)
The hike on jeep tracks in yellow; the cross-country loop in dashed orange (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Succor Creek Trailhead
  • Ending point: Succor Creek Canyon Viewpoint
  • Hike type: In and out or loop
  • Distance: 3.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 650 feet
  • High point: 3,190 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

Succor Creek begins its long and meandering course in the remote mining country of southern Idaho, entering Oregon and flowing north through a pretty basalt canyon before reentering Idaho and joining the Snake River near Homedale. One of the most interesting sections is where the creek has carved its way through layers of rhyolite and basalt, forming a shady canyon crowned with fanciful formations, part of Oregon’s Succor Creek State Natural Area.

There are no trails here, but there are plenty of options given the wide open nature of the country. You can see caves (many of them actually the old zeolite mines for which the area was famous) and little slots that are worth scrambling around and into, but this description details two routes: (1) a pleasant in and out hike using jeep roads that gives you a view over Succor Creek Canyon; (2) a more adventurous loop which descends into the canyon and involves close encounters with poison ivy and, perhaps, rattlesnakes. (If the creek is raging and running high, you will not be able to do the loop.)

From the day use area, walk over the narrow vehicle bridge that spans Succor Creek. Turn left to follow a rough dirt road (Antelope Spring Road) north, taking time to admire the rhyolite spires, columns, and walls on both sides of the canyon. You’ll cross Trimbly Creek, which spills out of a slot canyon on the right. As you rise up a slope, you’ll get a view into the very brushy slot canyon. At the top of the rise, take a track leading left. The track branches, both routes offering views into the lower canyon. In spring, balsamroot, paintbrush, little sunflower, and hoary cress will be blooming in the area. While there is invasive cheatgrass about, there are some plots where native bunchgrass has been reseeded.

Return to Antelope Spring Road, and bear left. The road curves uphill, and you’ll see a cave off to the left. When you arrive at a junction on a bunchgrass plateau, go right for viewpoints from the rocky ramparts down into the Trimbly slot canyon. Back on the main track, you’ll come to another junction, where you should go right to descend past a state park boundary marker. You’ll cross willow-choked Trimbly Creek and then follow the road up until it gets close to the rim of the canyon. Head right here to get great views down to the canyon floor and the campground as well as across to fantastic rhyolite formations. Succor Creek itself flows along a fault line, with the ramparts on the west side of the canyon formed from the Three Fingers caldera about 15.4 million years ago. The steeper eastern cliffs upon which you stand are part of the Jump Creek Rhyolite, formed about 10.6 million years ago. Marmots live in the rocks below, vultures and golden eagles might be soaring, and canyon wrens will be delivering their cascading song. Use binoculars to scan the cliffs across for bighorn sheep. If you’re doing the in and out version of the hike, turn back here.

Loop option (4.3 miles total; 610 feet in elevation gain):

For the loop (adventurous off-trailers only), you can keep quite close the rim on a faint cow trail. At any time, you can go right for more views into the canyon, now passing above the very narrow steep-sided upper gorge. At a couple of places Succor Creek has cut under vertical cliff faces. Pass over a barbed wire fence and, for the easiest route down into the upper canyon, continue walking about 300 yards until you can use cow trails to descend down to your right.

Now you can follow a defined cow trail along the floor of the narrow canyon. (Again, don’t attempt this route if the creek is high; there are places in the canyon which you won’t be able to negotiate at high water. Flood debris indicates that the creek can rapidly rise more than four feet above its normal level.) The path becomes rougher as you clamber up and over a rock fin. Also, poison ivy overhangs the path and grows on it; rattlesnakes are also common here. There will be a couple more scrambles where the creek has undercut the cliffs opposite and you reach a big overhang and then a swimming hole. The path becomes very well-defined from here as it crosses a wide bench. Then the creek braids in a willow thicket, and you pass another cliff undercut. Thin-leaf alders offer patches of shade. After this, the canyon opens wide, and you’ll hike across a broad sagebrush flat to reach a gate and fence at the campground. You can go left or right to pass around ends of the fence and hike back to your vehicle.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Campground, picnic area, restrooms
  • Dogs on leash in campground area


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Pacific Northwest Recreation Map Series: Malheur River Country

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • The Owyhee Canyonlands: An Outdoor Adventure Guide by Steve Stuebner & Mark Lisk (other options described)
  • Boise Trail Guide: 95 Hiking and Running Routes Close to Home by Steve Stuebner
  • The Hiker’s Guide: Greater Boise by Scott Marchant
  • The Hiker’s Guide: Exploring Greater Boise by Scott Marchant
  • Oregon State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide by Jan Bannan

More Links

Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.