Wild Cat Canyon

Wild Cat Canyon is a challenging hiking and scrambling route in southeast Idaho near Marsing. The lowest section of the gorge has some impressive pinnacles and rock formations. In winter and spring there is a small stream. By summer the stream is reduced to an occasional pool or small trickle. There is very little brush. There are actually two canyons which are next to each other. This description is for the eastern canyon, which appears to be larger and is the one labeled on the map.

From Marsing drive west on Route 55 for two miles to Route 95. Turn left, and head south. In 5.6 miles you will reach Summercamp Road and a weigh station. Go a half mile past the road and turn right onto a 4 wheel drive road. Go through a cattle gate. In 0.2 mile you will bear left at an intersection. Go another 0.2 mile through a second cattle gate. (Be sure to close it behind you.) Drive another 0.9 mile to the end of the road which is very close to the canyon mouth.

Hike up through the impressive gorge. The canyon walls widen and fall back after a half mile. Keep going. The canyon alternates between narrow and broad sections. It narrows up, and you will enter a short narrow slot. There are thigh deep pools to wade and some challenging scrambling. Above the slot the canyon opens up and then narrows again. Eventually you come to a fork. The left branch (facing up canyon) goes through a narrows and then peters out. The main canyon is the right branch. It narrows and then opens up. You might be tempted to turn back at this point, but it is worth while to continue. Follow the open easy slopes of the water course. The canyon walls close in. There are narrows, some hard scrambles, a short brushy spot, and a steep section to climb. Good route finding skills are helpful. Push all the way through until the canyon peters out. You will know that you are near the end when you see a fence on the right canyon rim (facing up canyon). Return the same way. While a rope is not necessary on this route, it is a good idea to bring a short rope to belay the inexperienced. Allow five to six hours.

Map: USGS Jump Creek Canyon Quadrangle