Squaw Creek Canyon

Squaw Creek Canyon is in southwest Idaho near Marsing. It is a challenging hike in a canyon with a small stream. It could be done as a one way trip with a car shuttle. The description below is an out and back hike from the canyon mouth.

From Marsing drive west on Route 55 for two miles, and turn left on Route 95. Go south for 5.5 miles to Sommercamp Road. There is a weigh station at the intersection. Turn left and drive on Sommercamp Road for 2.3 miles. Turn right onto a 4 wheel drive road with a cattle gate and an old tire on each side of the gate. This road splits in two. The two tracks are parallel and go over a small hill. It doesn’t matter which one you take, since they both end up in the same place. After driving over the hill, bear left and drive across the creek. Bear right at all subsequent intersections until the road ends. This is 0.8 mile from Sommercamp Road.

A pretty good trail goes up the left side (looking up canyon) to the canyon mouth. There are several gorges in the canyon. The first is the most impressive one and is quite nice. Be prepared for some easy wading in the stream. It is easy to avoid brush in this first part. About two thirds of the way through the first gorge there is a seven foot waterfall at the end of a short pool. It is difficult to climb this waterfall without an assist from someone. You can bypass it on the right (looking up canyon) by scrambling up ledges to a point above the waterfall and down climbing to the creek. The last 12 feet of this downclimb is steep and awkward. There is a boulder from which a rope can be anchored for a handline or short rappel. When going down the creek you can use the bypass or downclimb and slide the last few feet of the waterfall. The water is not deep enough to jump. The canyon widens out. A little further on you enter a second gorge. There is a beautiful narrows at the end of which there is a 12 foot waterfall and a pool. The waterfall would be pretty hard to climb. You can bypass it on the left (looking up canyon). Climb fourth class slabs and ledges up about 80 feet bearing right. When you can see the upstream area well, make a descending traverse on exposed easy ledges back to the creek. When you are descending the canyon you can skip the bypass and rappel the waterfall, anchoring from a boulder on the right. Eventually the creek makes a 180 degree turn around a large rock projection. It gets pretty brushy in this section. Sometimes it is easiest to wade in the stream, and sometimes it best to stay away from the water course. The canyon widens out. When going through this open area, stay on the right (looking upstream) to avoid most brush. You will see old black plastic pipes on the ground, the apparent remains of an old pot growing enterprise. Follow the pipes, as they provide the best route through. The creek goes through a third gorge which is quite short. This makes a good turn around point. Allow eight hours round trip. Bring a 120 foot rope and 10 feet of webbing.

Map: USGS Opalene Gulch Quad