Hells Canyon, April 24-28

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Hells Canyon, April 24-28

Post by cunningkeith » April 30th, 2019, 11:35 am

Just finished a great trip with a buddy to Hells Canyon. This is my third trip here, and the place never fails--super tough, but super rewarding backpacking. And nobody was there, even though this is prime season.
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The grass around the Snake was the greenest I'd ever seen this time of year
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From the High Trail, looking down toward the Snake
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Here's what we did:

Day 1: Freezeout trail to High Trail to Log Creek (campsite on N. side of N. fork, below trail)
Day 2: Log Creek to Wisnor Place (the Temperance Creek crossing was difficult)
Day 3: Wisnor Place to Snake River via the Dry Gulch Trail (camp next to Rush Creek Rapids)
Day 4: Back to Log Creek via the Sluice Creek Trail and High Trail
Day 5: out

A few notes:

There is zero beta on the Dry Gulch Trail, but it is my absolute favorite way to access the Snake. No brush or poison ivy to deal with. The navigation is challenging, and the "trail" is definitely more of a boot path.

Coming back up to the High Trail, we used the Sluice Creek Trail. In a previous trip, I went up using the Saddle Creek Trail, and that was an absolute thicket with poison ivy and blackberries. I would avoid Saddle Creek at all costs unless you are sure that somebody has cleared the trail (unlikely as most of these trails get zero maintenance). In contrast, the Sluice Creek Trail was decent. It has been re-routed to stay above the creek (N. Side). The re-route was hard to find, but once you are on it you avoid a lot of overgrowth for the first mile or so.

Ticks were moderate (we saw none until Wisnor Place). Poison ivy wasn't much of an issue, except for a decent amount on the Sluice Creek Trail and a bit on the Snake River Trial.

We saw zero backpackers, one horse group, a few boats on the Snake, and a few day hikers on Freezeout as we were leaving.

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Re: Hells Canyon, April 24-28

Post by dperrymorrow » May 1st, 2019, 11:05 am

was super fun! Enjoyed bagging my first 20+ day with you.

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Re: Hells Canyon, April 24-28

Post by Chip Down » May 1st, 2019, 8:04 pm

dperrymorrow wrote:
May 1st, 2019, 11:05 am
was super fun! Enjoyed bagging my first 20+ day with you.
A debut post! Welcome!

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Re: Hells Canyon, April 24-28

Post by drm » May 5th, 2019, 3:55 pm

Nice top get those reports, I'm thinking of going this month some time. When I went down Saddle Creek some years ago, it wasn't too bad. And trail crews do sometimes visit the area. I saw one on the Temperance Creek trail once.

I'm thinking of trying to hike up to Hat Point on one of the trails that goes up there. The road doesn't melt out till July most years, but I'm thinking the trails might be melted out and at least some of the ground up there might be clear.

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