The hike begins by walking across the Snake River on the historic Guffey train bridge, constructed in 1897 and used for about 50 years to transport supplies and people from Murphy into Nampa. The bridge was restored and pedestrian access constructed in 1990. This is a prime birding area, and year-long residents and water birds will be some of the rare wildlife you will see in the winter season, though you might spot a Mountain Cottontail rabbit or a coyote. Celebration Park is site SW19 on the Idaho Birding Trail, and you can spot herons, eagles, kestrels, and hawks. The plants (and wildlife) you spot here are true year-long high-desert survivors; they tough out the harsh winter conditions while most everything else migrates or dies off.
After crossing the bridge, a steep scramble down the berm gets you into a short section of sagebrush/saltbrush steppe before peeling upward to the right for a steep ascent up to a higher plain. Be sure take the ascent to the RIGHT, this will get you on the path up Guffey Butte, instead of toward the left butte, with steep cliffs. After the brief, steep ascent, a level section precedes another steep portion straight up the side of Guffey Butte. The side of the slope is the remnant of a prehistoric volcanic eruption back when the Yellowstone hotspot used to be positioned under southwest Idaho. As you summit the “saddle” of the smaller butte with all the gnarly tuff cones and spires, the terrain under your feet will change to gravelly lava rock where someone has created a “geoglyph” (a rock arrangement visible from above). The saddle area is a false summit, but scramble around to your left in the rock formation to climb through the circular hole that has been weathered through the rock (“window” rock). At this point you’ve ascended the steepest part, but you’re only ¾ mile in and halfway to the actual summit. Already, the views to the north are majestic, across the Snake River and Guffey Bridge to other prominent geological features (Hat Butte, Walter’s Butte, White Butte, and Initial Point).
Descend the north slope of the ridge, and the trail will continue to the right, past the volcanic spires, and swoop up another steep slope. You can’t see the summit from the trail… but it is there… due North from the trail, which peters out at the base of the slope. You can follow the faint trace of the trail up to the ridge and toward the right… but any ascent you take will get you closer to the actual summit of Guffey Butte. Technically you are ascending a second, higher volcanic peak, through a maar formation created rising magma that mixed with water and erupted, causing more shallow, sloping craters.
You’ll know you’re at the true peak at 3123 feet when you encounter a towering rock cairn with an American flag in it, likely shredded to bits by the violent winds on the top of the butte, with a summit log inside a toolbox cache. You’ll also have a beautiful scenic panoramic view, this time including the Owyhees: Hayden Peak and War Eagle Peak towering above the rest. You’ll also have spectacular views down into the town of Murphy (the historic terminus of the railroad crossing the Guffey Bridge).
If the wind hasn’t blown you off the butte, return the way you came or explore some of the side trails that loop around other parts of the volcanic butte or cross over to the other plateau to the east. If you’re into geocaching, search for some of those as well.