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Wenaha River Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The Wenaha River (Cheryl Hill)


  • Start point: Troy TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out-and-back
  • Distance: 5.4 miles
  • High point: 1,900 feet
  • Elevation gain: 600 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Year-round
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

When the mountains are still buried in snow, the Wenaha River Trail makes for a good early season spring trek. In spring you may see balsamroot, desert parsley, larkspur, shooting stars, Dutchman's breeches, and ballhead waterleaf in bloom. Watch for bighorn sheep high on the canyon walls.

The hike starts out traversing the steep meadows on the north side of the river canyon where balsamroot and desert parsley bloom in April. Ponderosa pines dot the slopes around you. The lightning-caused Grizzly Bear Complex Fire swept through this area in 2015, but many of the trees survived and live on.

At 1.1 miles you will pass through a gate. Be sure to close it behind you. At 1.9 miles cross a decommissioned road. The old road descends from above, crosses the trail, and continues down to a large flat area along the river that makes for good camping.

The trail continues beyond the road, staying high above the river and offering dramatic views up and down the canyon.

At 2.7 miles you will reach the Umatilla National Forest boundary, marked only by an old weathered fallen-down sign. (If you start descending some switchbacks you've gone too far.) This is a great turn-around point for a day hike. There are rocks here for sitting and admiring the view across the canyon to where a creek flows in from Dry Gulch.

EXTENDING YOUR HIKE

6.5 miles from the trailhead you will reach Crooked Creek, which makes a good turnaround point for a longer day hike, or a destination for an overnight backpack. There is plenty of room for camping here. Although the Wenaha River Trail continues upstream for a total of 31 miles to the Timothy Springs Trailhead, the footbridge across Crooked Creek was badly damaged in the 2015 fire and had to be removed, making that stream crossing treacherous.

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Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • 100 Hikes / Travel Guide Eastern Oregon by William L. Sullivan

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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.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.