Rocks–both big and small–draw folks to Succor Creek (2010)


Succor Creek campground is an oasis in the sagebrush. The creek’s fresh water saved early travelers in the Snake River Basin. They named it Succor, a corruption of the Spanish word socorro, meaning help or aid.

Rockhounds know that Succor Creek State Natural Area is a great place to find thundereggs and gem stones.  And, anyone interested in geology can’t help but be impressed with the towering rock bluffs and deep canyons. Wildlife watchers may glimpse an elusive chukar (an upland bird) and see pronghorn antelope, mule deer and coyotes (watch out for rattlesnakes, too).

Getting to the 1,900-acre park is part of the adventure. Be prepared to take it slow on Succor Creek Road, 17 miles of gravel and dirt that takes off from Oregon 201 south of Adrian. If you come in from Jordan Valley to the south, consider a detour to Leslie Gulch along the Owyhee River to see unusual rock formations and possibly California bighorn sheep. A long day-trip to Jordan Craters, a 27-square-mile lava flow, is also worth the effort in good weather (50-mile roundtrip on a rough, dirt road).

Camping at Succor Creek is seasonal, primitive and free. Tents and small, contained RVs can fit in six camping sites on the east side of the creek. Walk over a pedestrian bridge to 14 more walk-in tent sites. If you’re lucky, you might snag one of the single camp spots along the creek before reaching the campground. Bring your drinking water. None is available in the park. The campground has a vault toilet.

If you go:
Seasonal, free camping is first-come, first-served.

Summer can be blistering hot. Bring plenty of drinking water and sunscreen.

You can collect limited-souvenir rocks for personal use, away from the campground and developed areas. Use only hand tools, such as picks, shovels or hammers. Power tools are not allowed.

For more information about the park, directions and other attractions, visit the links below.

Succor Creek State Natural Area

Thundereggs (Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries)

Chukar (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)

Leslie Gulch (Bureau of Land Management )

Jordan Craters (Bureau of Land Management )

Jordan Valley (town)

The road and rock pinnacle inside Succor Creek State Park.

Looking south into the Succor Creek canyon.

Posted on July 21, 2010, in state parks and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. The best way into this Park from a viewpoint standpoint is from the Jordan Valley direction. The road to the park takes off from US 95 just before it disappears into Idaho. The road is not to be taken lightly -either from the north or south with wet weather – but it is doable even with low clearance cars. The roads are washboarded gravel, much rougher if you approach from the south. That said, as I began, the viewpoint over the Succor Creek Canyon as you enter is magnificent. You don’t only need to be a rockhound to enjoy this marvel. On the morning I visited I saw hawks, antelope, coyote, range cattle and snakes – ok, they were squashed by earlier cars on the road. The campgrounds are magnificently placed with Idaho license plates outnumbering Oregon ones. Go for the thundereggs or just the magnificence of this desert canyon!

  2. Natalie Stone

    I would love to go to Succor Creek!! I’m an AVID Rockhound! Natur AMAZES me!

  3. Succor Creek is an Oregon State Treasure ,but is not being managed properly by the blm or Oregon State Parks ! After spending several weeks camping there in late Sept. and early Nov. of 2012 , i am apalled by the attitudes of people who also visited and camped there . We were overrun with 30 to 35 foot travel trailers with generators running for hours on end so they could watch television .Also there were so many ATV’S and noise that they scared away all of the wildlife . People were rude and noisy and left their garbage . One night someone knocked on my trailer door at 10 pm , waking me up , asking when i was leaving because they wanted my camp spot .The last straw was a large group of about 45 people , all camping together . They proceded to take over the whole park for several days , had huge bonfires all day and night , blocking most access in and out of the park . At times there were up to 150 people camping in Succor Creek Canyon at the same time . The area has become too well known and popular with ATV riders and campers . It may be time for the State Of Oregon to start charging a fee and have someone moniter the site before it is destroyed . If you like peace and quiet , i don’t recommend staying in the campground , find your own quiet spot ! Maybe the state should charge a fee to ride an ATV in the canyon to help pay for road maintence and garbage cleanup .As for finding thundereggs , don’t waste your time , their mostly already picked up.

    • Reply from the Succor Creek park manager:

      Thank you for contacting us regarding Succor Creek State Natural Area. The abundant wildlife, unique geological formations and isolation from populated areas make it a celebrated retreat. It is evident that Succor Creek’s popularity is on the rise.

      The park is a challenging area to manage. The very thing that attracts visitors makes it difficult to closely regulate – distance from population centers. While we recognize this as a challenge, we also do our best to commit staff and resources in order to provide recreation in the area while striving to protect its charm. This past camping season is an example of that. We literally doubled our patrol and maintenance efforts at Succor Creek even though that cost us some presence at other properties we manage.

      It is unfortunate that people chose to disturb you and others while sharing space in an outdoor camping experience. This is a challenge for any campground manager, even in parks with the highest levels of staffing and closest proximity to law enforcement. Those who are rude to other users or uncaring about potential damage to resources tend to behave in that manner regardless of location.

      As you may imagine, we cannot dampen enthusiasm for camping at Succor Creek. There is simply no way to remove the park and its experiences from the consciousness of the people who have visited. The popularity of Succor Creek Canyon and Succor Creek State Natural Area will continue to grow, especially as people look to recreate closer to home. Our main focus is to provide as much presence as staffing and budgets allow, and to educate guests as we encounter them engaging in disallowed or damaging activities.

      The road that winds through Succor Creek Canyon is under the jurisdiction of neither the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department or the Bureau of Land Management as it is a county road. As such, we have no authority to regulate ATV use on the road, including any damage ATV use may cause. We also have no authority to charge use fees on that road.

      The issue of use fees at the OPRD campground has come up before and will be examined again. We are hopeful of providing more infrastructure, limited in nature to preserve the wilderness feel of the area, in the future. Steps like these take careful planning and consideration prior to being implemented.

      If you would like further information, please contact the Farewell Bend Management Unit office at 541-869-2365. We are happy to listen to ideas and provide any additional information you may need.

  4. Naseem Rakha

    Generators should be banned in all but RV parks. You want to have electricity, stay home. Let people who come to get away from it all have the peace and quiet they came to the wilderness for.

  5. Just got back from Succor Creek and apparently had a much better time than some.Although this late in the year it got down into the 40s at night, and a fire ban made it colder.

    The camp site was well taken care of, there were only 3 other groups. One was a married couple, one we never saw, and the last was a group of 5 older men. There were absolutely no other people for at least 15 miles. The bathroom was clean and had toilet paper. Considering that, loosely speaking Succor Creek is right outside the Boise-Nampa-Caldwell cluster which might be the only place to find a Starbucks. In that corner of Oregon there is barely gas and groceries…

    Succor Creek Road, coming from the north along 201, was mostly smooth as far as gravel roads go. A couple of spots with ruts and pot holes, but this is only about 40 ft out of 15 miles. Gentle sloping hills all the way. When we went thru the washboarding was minimal.

    The road between the camping area and Jordan Valley is actually pretty good, except!!! if you have a fear of roads that run along the tops of very large drop offs. I do, and the first couple of miles south of the camp area are 1-lane gravel no guard rail I pee-d a little… then it gets easy. Sure, a little wash-boardy at spots but not as bad as some we traveled.

    This year was so dry that there was little wildlife except birds to see. I did hear a coyote trying to figure out my tent at about midnight.

    Yes, this area has been worked by thousands since the 1920’s, it is definitely NOT played out. You just need an eye trained to see the difference of what to pick up and what to ignore. While I and my friend, both inexperienced rock hounds, only found some partial bits (some pretty large bits) the married couple had found a good spot and had pulled a couple dozen eggs. To be fair, we were only halfheartedly looking. I am not a thunder egg enthusiast, and my friend isn’t interested in making rocks a serious hobby. BUT! And this is an important “but”, there are other very nice rocks to find. I broke a large rock that was not a thunder egg and found an interesting vein of creamy yellow chalcedony as if it was a thunder egg. Of course the next two rocks I broke had nothing like it. And according to “Gem Trails of Oregon” there are other things to find in the area..

    Anyway, despite the cold night and couple of scares on the road, we both want to thank the State of Oregon for keeping the area in solid shape, and most importantly, open to the public despite some of them being messy jerks. This is a great park.

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