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Chief Joseph Mountain

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Looking at Chief Joseph Mountain from the Hurwal Divide (bobcat)
Snowpatch buttercup (Ranunculus eschscholtzii), Chief Joseph Mountain (bobcat)
The colorful southwestern face of Chief Joseph Mountain (bobcat)


Chief Joseph Mountain looks over the town of Joseph and its summit, Point Joseph, is the northern high point on the high ridge that extends from the Matterhorn and then along the Hurwal Divide. The mountain is most often ascended using the Chief Joseph Trail, which intersects with the West Fork Wallowa Trail although there are several connectors coming up to the former trail from Wallowa Lake. The Chief Joseph Trail gives access to scramble routes that will take you to the summit. A second approach is via the Thorp Creek Trail. You can head cross-country from the high point on this trail to the saddle between Chief Joseph Mountain and the Hurwal Divide or scramble up to Hurwal first from Thorp Creek Meadows and then hike the two-mile ridge to Point Joseph.

Chief Joseph Mountain's geology is complex and it offers examples of all five main strata that make up the Wallowas: bands of dark reddish Hurwal shale, limestone from the Martin Bridge Formation, the granodiorite of the Wallowa Batholith, Clover Creek greenstone, and the summit cap of Columbia Basalt. The hike along Chief Joseph's ridge is colorful indeed and you may encounter the goats and bighorn sheep that sometimes graze here.

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bobcat (creator)

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

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