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Big Jacks Creek Wilderness Guide (Owyhee County, Idaho)

ATV, UTV and 4X4 guide through some of the most desolate, inhospitable, wild, and rough terrain in the United States.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 130 miles
Duration: Multiple days
Family Friendly

Overview :  The United States Congress designated the Big Jacks Creek Wilderness in 2009 and it now has a total of 52,684 acres. All of this... more »

Tips:  This area is isolated and no services are available. Anything you might need should be brought with you. There is no cell phone... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Wickahoney - Battle Creek Road & Hwy. 51

This is the main access road into the Wilderness area.

It is a graveled, crowned, dirt road that is wide enough for passing for most of its length. It changes to a two track road where it intersects the gas pipeline.

When wet, there are several spots where you can easily get stuck, especially near Blue Creek.

It is usually graded in late April... More

2. Shoofly Road & Hwy 51

This road is paved for a distance. After about 1.1 mile you will turn left (south) on Vaught Road (dirt) and continue to the unloading area. It is 3.8 miles to the unloading area.

3. Bob Tindale Road & Hwy. 51

This is a graveled road. It does not have a street sign, but is the only nearby road with power lines paralleling it on the south side. It is 1.1 miles to the unloading area.

4. ATV Unloading Area

The dirt road changes to a two track just before this point. The unloading area is on the left (south) after crossing a cattle guard. It is after the second cattle guard.

I would advise not taking a trailer or automobile past this area. The road narrows and is very washed out in spots.

This is an impromptu parking area.

5. Tent Camping Area

This is a possible tent camping area next to Big Jacks Creek. The creek is normally dry.

The road leading to here is very washed out and will require judgement as to your vehicle's capabilities.

6. ATV Unloading areas

This is an impromptu parking/unloading spot.

7. Camping Area- ATV Unloading Area

This is a clearing where cattle have been watered. This is not a good camping location if cattle are present.

If the water tanks are gone, so are the cattle.

8. Camping Area-Cell Phone Elevation: 4920 feet

There is cell phone service here. This location is in a saddle where cattle have been watered in the past, usually in the winter. This is also an impromptu camping location.

If the water tanks are gone, so are the cattle.

There is room for several camping trailers.

9. Wilderness Sign Board

The rough road to the right (north) borders the wilderness area.

The main road (Wickahoney-Battle Creek) continues and bears to the south and part of it is the Wilderness boundary.

10. Wickahoney Crossing - Private Land

There are stock pens and some outbuildings here. There is a buckaroo camp in the early spring and summer with wall tents, travel trailers, stock trailers, a UTV or two, and horses.

11. Dirt Road to Buncel Place

This road to the north from the Wickahoney - Battle Creek Road leads to the Buncel Place. After about a mile it becomes a corridor open to mechanized traffic through the Wilderness.

12. Buncel Place - Private Land

This is private land, but public access is allowed. It is accessed by a corridor through the wilderness. The corridor continues on to the Holman Cabin and to Harvey Place-Zeno Falls and back to the Battle Creek-Wickahoney Road.

Duncan Creek flows through here.

A geocache is here.

13. Holman Cabin - Private Land

This is a must visit location and very scenic viewpoint.

It is private land, but public access is allowed.

It overlooks Big Jacks Creek and its scenic canyon. We have seen Bighorn Sheep here. The Holman Cabin ruins are in the canyon and are a pile of boards.

There is a hiking/horse trail to the bottom of the canyon and it continues up the... More

14. Harvey Place - Private Land

Public access is allowed.

There was a Mountain Bluebird nest inside the cabin.

Harvey Spring is here. The cabin is used as a line/hunting camp.

There is a geocache here.

15. Zeno Falls

The parking area for ATVs is at Hicks Springs. It is on private land. Public access is allowed. It might be advisable to park a full size vehicle on the hill before arriving at the boggy spring area.

There is no marked discernible trail. We avoided the boggy area by hiking on the uphill side of it. We brush popped on the side hill on the south... More

16. Zeno Falls Road junction with the Wickahoney-Battle Creek Road

The road to the right(west) leads to the Potholes road turnoff.

Turning to the left (east) and returning to the Wilderness Signboard (POI #8) makes a good day ride loop.

17. Dirt road to the right (north) to the Potholes

Leaving the crowned Wickahoney - Battle Creek Road and turning north on this road will get you back to the Wilderness border in a couple of miles.

Two photos are of the Morrow Ranch Road. This is the wrong road.

The Potholes Road is pictured in the other two photos and is the next road past the Morrow Ranch Road. This is not a road for... More

18. Potholes

These are a series of water holes in Big Jacks Creek.

We crossed the Potholes on ATVs on 5-31-13. It was very boggy from springs and a full size vehicle would have been stuck to the axles. We drove along the creek bank to a drier area, an option not available to a full sized vehicle.

It may dry up enough to cross later in the summer.

19. The Falls

I have not been here. Some friends on horses visited here in 2011 and furnished the photo. Looks to be about a mile hike from the nearest road.

A waypoint for this POI is listed on several of my maps, but I have found maps to be inaccurate on some waypoints.

20. West Side Overlook #1

The rough road borders the Wilderness. There are scenic views of the Big Jacks Canyon.

This area may have burned in a range fire in the summer of 2012.

21. Comical Turn

There is a waypoint on the map here. I don't know why or how it got named.

This area may have burned in a range fire in the summer of 2012.

22. Conners Spring - Private Land

This is a major stock watering spring. It is on private land.

23. Edge of Wilderness

This road ends at the Wilderness boundary. Some interesting views on the way.

The road (closed to vehicles) continues for several miles to the canyon rim.

24. West Side Overlook #2

There is a mechanized corridor to get to this overlook.

25. West Side Overlook #3

The last part of this road is a mechanized corridor.

26. Big Horse Basin Gap

This is not in the Wilderness, but is a very scenic canyon through a ridge. It is about a mile long. There are towering rock walls and scenic views everywhere.

We have seen more Bighorn Sheep through here than anywhere else in the area, usually when we did not have a camera available.

This is a must visit.

27. Water Cave Overlook

This is a long drive from the main road, but is a scenic viewpoint into the Wilderness canyon and Big Jacks Creek.

28. Al Sade Ranch Ruins - Private Land

This is private land, but public access is allowed.

29. Big Jacks Creek Crossing - Private Land

The gas pipeline crosses here. This is private land, but public access is allowed.

There is an abandoned eagle's nest on the cliff.

We have been here when the creek is dry and when water is flowing. Even when it is dry, there is usually water in pools upstream.

There is also Poison Ivy along the creek.

30. East Side Overlook - Big Jacks Creek

Requires a short hike, but there is a great viewpoint here.

There is a stock/game trail leading down into the canyon in the draw just south of this viewpoint.

31. Hole in the Rock

There usually is water pooled inside the "hole'.

There are also red colored pictographs on the rock walls.

A geocache is here.

32. Antelope Wintering Area

We have seen over 150 antelope at a time in this area in the winter. It is on the Wilderness edge.

33. Parker Trail Head

The wilderness designation blocked the road to the canyon rim. It is about a mile hike to the rim and there is about a 1/2 mile trail to the canyon bottom.

There is info with photos on the Parker Trail (Also Zeno Falls, Duncan Creek) in the Upland Idaho link.

34. Stone Survival Markers

These stone cairns were placed to help keep travelers from getting lost. Emergency food was also cached.

They are on a high point overlooking Duncan Creek and can be seen for quite a distance.

There is a geocache here.