If rock hounding, exploring geologic formations, and viewing wildlife all sound appealing, Oregon has the perfect place for it. Located between Adrian and Jordan Valley, Oregon, the Succor Creek State Recreation Area features spectacular scenery and an abundance of the thunderegg. Designated the Oregon state rock on March 30, 1965, the thunderegg is prevalent in several areas of the state, including here. In addition, the geologic formation scenery is astounding, particularly in the Leslie Gulch area. Finally, opportunities abound to watch deer, bighorn sheep, and a variety of birds and reptiles. One word of caution, though…in the warmer months, this is rattlesnake country. Be vigilant while exploring the rock formations.
Our journey started in Adrian, a small ranching community located 25 miles south of Ontario. From there, we continued south on Oregon Highway 201 for 8 miles to the turn-off for Succor Creek Road (map). From here, the rest of the trip would be on gravel road.
After several miles across the sage steppe and winding through small buttes, we reached the final approach to Succor Creek Canyon. Our reward for making it this far was amazing, awe-inspiring scenery.
After a few more bends in the road, we arrived at the beginning of the canyon. The space was quickly getting more narrow and the rock formations much taller and impressive. We could tell things would quickly get interesting.
As we emerged from the canyon, we spotted a mule deer doe escaping the heat of the day in the perfect spot. With plenty of shade and the creek close by, this girl was living the good life and had no concerns with us stopping to check her out. The kids and I enjoyed watching her, but the day was already getting hot, so we moved on.
Upon reaching the southern end of the canyon, we arrived at the Succor Creek State Natural Area. There are drive-up campsites next to the road, walk-in campsites on the other side of the creek, and a pit restroom. The area does not have potable water, so you will need to bring your own or filter and treat water from the creek.
After we finished exploring the Succor Creek State Natural Area, we continued south towards Leslie Gulch. As the road climbed out of the creek canyon, we stopped one last time to enjoy the view.
On we went. The road meandered past agricultural fields maintained by the AC Ranch. As I travel through areas such as this, it never ceases to amaze me just how remote the country is in this part of Oregon. Despite that, the appearance of rancher fields are a reminder that even out here, civilization has its touch.
10 miles south of the campground, we arrived at the turn-off for Leslie Gulch. We didn’t know it at the time, but this would turn out to be another incredible adventure. In fact, it was so much so that a second post is needed to give Leslie Gulch the attention it rightly deserves.
Be sure to return and check for Part 2, where we explore Leslie Gulch. Coming soon!
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