Shoofly Creek in Owyhee Wilderness Area Oct 10 - 11, 2014

My friend Jim invited me to explore some areas in the Owyhee Wilderness Area. We went to the Shoofly Creek area. It is high desert with lots of sage brush and grass and few trees. There are many wide canyons topped with basalt cliffs and some interesting, narrow canyons only a few tens of feet wide and a hundred or more feet deep.




Here are a few good links:

Here is map of the driving route from Boise to the trail head. The end point shown on the map is not the actual trail head, but the point along Mud Flat Road where you must turn east along a dirt road for about two miles. The road requires somewhat good ground clearance. Drive east until you come to a fence line. That is the trail head.


From the parking area we hiked south west to the top of the plateau. We could have also hiked up the canyon that was to the north because it ended right where we came out from our route.

We continued hiking south west until we came to a large box canyon. We hiked down into the canyon intending to follow it to the west fork of Shoofly Creek.
When we reached the bottom of the canyon where it joins the creek, it was dry. We followed down the west fork until it joined up with the east fork and that is where we camped for the night.

At the confluence of the east and west forks is a small, old shack with a corral. The shack was interesting, but it stunk of rot and mildew and was full of nests and who knows what kind of animal homes. There was a small amount of water flowing in the east fork of the creek. It was a beautiful setting for a campsite.

The next day we hiked southwest up the east fork of the creek until we saw an interesting box canyon and then headed north up that canyon.

We came out at the end of the box canyon and looped back around to our campsite from the top of the plateau

On our way back to the trailhead, we followed Shoofly Creek north east until it came to a deep, narrow canyon.
We crossed the creek at the end of the canyon, but did spend a while exploring the bottom of the canyon and hiked back up into the narrow part. It had a kind of magical feel to it. The creek was flowing through the narrow canyon and it was often as narrow as 20 feet with virtical walls going up a hundred feet in some places.

After that we hiked north west along the plains back to the trailhead. I had hoped to see a bit more wildlife than we did. We saw a few jackrabbits, but no big game animals. I wanted to see a rattle snake, but had to settle for something smaller. We do know why the area is called Shoofly creek - there were always hundreds of flies buzzing around our heads. The were not as bad as mosquitos, but still annoying.


If you like the desert, you will like this place. It was a fun trip.

Useful links

Leave No Trace.