Day Hike - Leslie Gulch & Juniper Gulch Trail


Day Hike - Leslie Gulch & Juniper Gulch Trail

Explore and photograph spectacular high desert scenery, wildflowers, wildlife, dramatic unique eroded rock formations in Leslie Gulch within an ancient volcanic caldera and night sky viewing in SE Oregon's Owyhee Canyonlands (remniscent of NV Red Rock SP and UT canyonlands).

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Tue, May 28, 2019 — Fri, May 31, 2019
  • Seattle Photography Committee
  • Exploring Nature, Photography, Day Hiking
  • Adults
  • Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 15.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,400 ft

Updated 5/13:

Meet at Slocum Creek campground - Tues  1pm (or 8:30am for optional AM hike); Sat & Sun 8am.

Best local road access is from Rockville T-shaped junction at the Rockville School, where you will head left toward Succor Creek for another 1.8 miles. Then turn left on the gravel for Leslie Gulch. It descends through stunning rock formations to the Owyhee River roughly 14.5 miles in.   Medium clearance or higher vehicle recommended.

Do not drive road south from Succor Creek State Park, which may be difficult driving or impassible when wet conditions; OK if dry road 

Updated 5/13/19:  Rescheduled to 5/28-31 (sunny, no precip!) from 5/17-19 due to poor weather forecast.

Leslie Gulch brochure (overview & map):

For members only. Minimum 3 participants.

Email leader with recent moderate hiking experience and interests in this trip (photo, naturalist, hiking only).  Leader will email pre-trip details to participants at least a week prior to trip.

Leisurely pace group hikes for short to extended photo opp stops and nature enjoyment of dramatic scenery, unique eroded rock formations (spires and honeycombed welded volcanic tuff), rare and abundant spring wildflowers, and wildlife (birds, bighorn sheep, snakes, lizards, insects) in the ancient Mahogany Mountain caldera created by  the "Yellowstone Hotspot."  Options for early and late light photography near camp.   If you're looking for a faster paced hike or solo hiking, please consider joining a trip that better matches your expectations.

Primitive camping at Slocum Creek CG (Leslie Gulch) or at Succor Creek State Park.  Pack in vehicle 1 gal water per person for each day for trail and camp use.

Be aware of approx travel times to Leslie Gulch:  from Boise 2 hours; from Seattle 8-9 hours (via I82, I84, ID95); from Portland approx  7-8 hours (via I84, ID95).

Day hikes approx 5-7 miles/day (partial to full day):  Juniper Gulch / Yellow Jacket, Upper Leslie Gulch, Timber Gulch, Dago Gulch trails (or routes),Slocum Creek Gulch and more.   If time and interest on Friday or Monday, options for half-to full day hikes  at other nearby trails/routes (in/near Leslie Gulch or S of Jordan Valley):  Sage Creek, Succor Crk SP, Steamboat Rock, North Fork Owyhee River Wilderness (S of Jordan Valley).

Option for Saturday (or Friday):  Chalk Basin 5-mi 600' gain loop (near Rome, OR) in Owyhee River Canyon, if interest and bone-dry roads/weather with AWD hi-clearance vehicles.  Explore and photograph Chalk Basin's multi-colored badlands in fantastically eroded shapes (pinnacles, hoodoos, domes, goblins, painted cliffs), colorful spring wildflowers (red paintbrush, yellow balsamroot, purple sage and vetch) amid sagebrush.  Driving distance from Rome (south of Leslie Gulch and Jordan Valley via hwy 95) and  25-30 miles via gravel and dirt road. 

Link to Chalk Basin hike description:

Please review desert safety tips (for Leslie Gulch & Owyhee area):

Leader will have trail descriptions from recommended guidebooks:  The Owyhee Canyonlands - An Outdoor Adventure Guide (Stuebner & Lisk); The Hiker's Guide to Greater Boise (Marchand); 100 Hikes / Travel Guide Eastern Oregon (Sullivan).

Oregon Natural Desert Assoc links (Leslie Gulch & Owyhee Canyonlands)::

Juniper Gulch trip report (from Idaho Alpine Zone):

 Upper Leslie Gulch hike description (from Hiker's Guide to Greater Boise):

 Hiking Oregon Geology (Elliott & Bishop) book recommended for geology hike information on Leslie Gulch.




Leslie Gulch & Juniper Gulch Trail

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

  1. Navigation
  2. Sun protection
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination
  5. First aid supplies
  6. Fire
  7. Repair kit and tools, including knife
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter
Trip Reports