The Leslie Gulch area near the Owyhee Mountains is a designated “Area of Critical Environmental Concern” and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. This desert environment is home to many fragile and rare plant species including the sterile milkvetch and to raptors and animals like bighorn sheep.
What Makes It Great
The rugged landscape can appear quite barren but the volcanic rock of this area has been carved into beautiful and awesome canyons, rock spires and slots. The Juniper Canyon trail hikes along a dry streambed below an overhanging rock face. Its not long before views open up to the surrounding basin which is covered in tons of juniper trees. Duck under one for a small dose of shade on a hot afternoon.
The trail is fairly moderate until the last mile or so that climb more steeply up to the open ridge and the top of Yellow Jacket. From here the views are absolutely magnificent and stretch far and wide in all directions. Look down into the Juniper Gulch Basin, across to Lake Owyhee and to the cliffs about Carlton Canyon and Painted Canyon. Be sure to hike out with plenty of room on your camera or phone to take lots of pictures.
Take caution if it looks as if it might rain. A sudden, heavy rain can turn this area into a torrent of rushing water if a lot of precipitation dumps. Be aware of potentially changing weather conditions.
Who is Going to Love It
The trail is moderate, but doable for just about anyone if you take your time. It's worth it for the pictures you will take!
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Check out the BLM website for more information and directions.