Forum Index > Trip Reports > Green Gulch (Chief Joseph Wildlife Area) Jan 7, 2019  (updated April 26)
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RichP
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PostTue Jan 08, 2019 7:07 pm 
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You can't get much further southeast in the state than this place. In fact, in just a few miles either south or east you are in Oregon or Idaho respectively.
The drive along the Snake River south of Asotin is almost as scenic as the hiking.

I stopped at the overlook before dropping down the grade to Lewiston some 2000' below. Moscow was cold and snowy but Lewiston was like entering the banana belt with temps 10-15 degrees warmer.

View before dropping down the Lewiston grade.
View before dropping down the Lewiston grade.

Once south of Clarkston, the road is right alongside the Snake.

The Snake River.
The Snake River.

In a while the road crosses The Grande Ronde River and one enters The Chief Joseph Wildlife Area.

This is very close to the confluence of the Snake and Grande Ronde Rivers.
This is very close to the confluence of the Snake and Grande Ronde Rivers.

At the trailhead for Green Gulch is an old one-room schoolhouse.

Old one-room schoolhouse at the trailhead of Green Gulch.
Old one-room schoolhouse at the trailhead of Green Gulch.
No more book learning going on here.
No more book learning going on here.
Joseph Creek.
Joseph Creek.
The trail starts..
The trail starts..
Walls along Green Gulch.
Walls along Green Gulch.
Green Gulch.
Green Gulch.

The canyon was dark and cold but the sun was out higher up. I tried to reach the highpoint in the area but slick, icy conditions on the steep slopes caused me to back down to the canyon floor.

Pleasant walking.
Pleasant walking.
Colorful little birdies. Goldfinches.
Colorful little birdies. Goldfinches.
Heading up the ridge to the highpoint in the area.
Heading up the ridge to the highpoint in the area.
The trail is visible below.
The trail is visible below.
Footing wasn't the best so I put on my micro spikes. I went to the second area of rocks above and it was too steep and icy for my liking. I discovered a better route later but will come back in spring when there is no ice and snow.
Footing wasn't the best so I put on my micro spikes. I went to the second area of rocks above and it was too steep and icy for my liking. I discovered a better route later but will come back in spring when there is no ice and snow.
I'll be heading to the 2814' point on the left when I get back down to the trail.
I'll be heading to the 2814' point on the left when I get back down to the trail.

I kept on the road/trail until I reached a pass and hiked up to a 2814' bump with good views of the area.

Point 2814, a gentle bump with good views.
Point 2814, a gentle bump with good views.
Along Green Gulch trail.
Along Green Gulch trail.
Headed to the pass above where I'll hike up the ridge to the left.
Headed to the pass above where I'll hike up the ridge to the left.
Looking down to the schoolhouse and my car across the road 1800' below from Point 2814.
Looking down to the schoolhouse and my car across the road 1800' below from Point 2814.
Good view from 2814. Even the trailhead is visible below.
Good view from 2814. Even the trailhead is visible below.
The Grande Ronde River below.
The Grande Ronde River below.
Puffer BM. This is over in Fields Spring State Park in Wa.
Puffer BM. This is over in Fields Spring State Park in Wa.
Mt Wilson, 4913.'
Mt Wilson, 4913.'
Green Gulch Trail.
Green Gulch Trail.

After heading back down to the trail I walked back to the empty trailhead. I plan to return in spring and check out the flower show and hike to a couple of high points.

https://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/chief_joseph/Chief%20Joseph/

I hiked 6.7 miles with 2800' of gain.
I hiked 6.7 miles with 2800' of gain.

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flatsqwerl
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PostTue Jan 08, 2019 7:56 pm 
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awesome photos. Makes me want to hike those hills..!
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puzzlr
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PostTue Jan 08, 2019 9:17 pm 
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Really beautiful country, at least in those conditions. It reminds me of the Umtanum / Manastash area a little.

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Mid Fork Rocks ē flickr
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Snuffy
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PostTue Jan 08, 2019 10:24 pm 
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I think I posted a comment on this trip on WTA but I love these pictures, Rich.  Makes me want to take a road trip to that side of the mountains!

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You don't find yourself standing at the top of a mountain without having started out in the valley.
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Anne Elk
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PostTue Jan 08, 2019 11:42 pm 
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That low winter light really makes for great pics, Rich.  You might even have found some solitude.  Looks like the little goldfinches were hangin' out at their lunch stop (notice the berries).  I don't know anything about eastern WA flora, so have no idea what the shrub might be.  Anybody know?

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"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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RichP
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PostWed Jan 09, 2019 6:31 am 
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It looks like it's some kind of rose.

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glenoid
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PostWed Jan 09, 2019 9:10 am 
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Thanks much for the report!! It actually looks about the same as in the spring. Maybe less snakes in the lower portions..... That is the Puffer Butte area in your photo. The pointy peak is Puffer (an ancient volcano) and up the snowy field to the right takes you to Puffer Butte itself. Fun skiing in winter, and great wildflower show in the spring.
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RichP
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PostWed Jan 09, 2019 9:30 am 
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Thanks Glenoid. Here's a better view of Puffer Butte.

Puffer Butte and Puffer.
Puffer Butte and Puffer.

I'll be heading over there for the MLK weekend and am looking forward to checking out Fields Spring State Park. It looks like very little snow for skiing though I may be trying my hand at it for only the second time in my life.

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Nancyann
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PostWed Jan 09, 2019 11:58 am 
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Beautiful pictures, Rich. Have fun skiing on your upcoming trip!
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glenoid
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PostWed Jan 09, 2019 5:08 pm 
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Enjoy your skiing. The conditions there can be quite variable. They do not groom for classic cross country skiing, just a corduroy surface up the road. Snowshoeing is an option up the hiking trail. You might check there website for info. (I believe you need a snopark pass or a discovery pass with a one day snow permit to park there) If I am up there next week I will give you a heads up.
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RichP
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PostWed Jan 09, 2019 5:25 pm 
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I rented one of their cabins for two nights. Very reasonable rates and I'll definitely have my snowshoes.

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glenoid
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PostWed Jan 09, 2019 7:10 pm 
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RichP
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PostFri Apr 26, 2019 6:03 am 
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I returned a couple of times since the original post; once on March 16 when it was still snowy and again on April 24. Flowers are starting strong. Oddly enough, in my three trips here I've never seen anyone else.

This is quickly becoming my favorite place for spring hiking and it really is green.

Trailhead.
Trailhead.
Joseph Creek and the mouth of Green Gulch.
Joseph Creek and the mouth of Green Gulch.
A lone tree on the way down from Point 2814.
A lone tree on the way down from Point 2814.
The ridge I'm walking back down to the mouth of Green Gulch.
The ridge I'm walking back down to the mouth of Green Gulch.
Point 4148.
Point 4148.
Across Joseph Creek.
Across Joseph Creek.
The Grande Ronde River.
The Grande Ronde River.
Mt Wilson.
Mt Wilson.
Point 2814.
Point 2814.
Green Gulch.
Green Gulch.
On the way to Point 2814.
On the way to Point 2814.
A side canyon off of Green Gulch.
A side canyon off of Green Gulch.
The trail quickly became snow covered so I opted to walk up one of the side ridges.
The trail quickly became snow covered so I opted to walk up one of the side ridges.
Ranch at the mouth of Green Gulch. I believe this is now part of the state wildlife area.
Ranch at the mouth of Green Gulch. I believe this is now part of the state wildlife area.
Green Gulch Trail, Chief Joseph Wildlife Area.
Green Gulch Trail, Chief Joseph Wildlife Area.
I'll be hiking up the ridge right of center. It seemed steeper than it looks on the way up.
I'll be hiking up the ridge right of center. It seemed steeper than it looks on the way up.
This is the south rim of the gulch. It will be more than 4000' of gain to reach Mt Wilson via this ridge. I haven't gained that much elevation in one day since hiking in the Cascades. Yes, I was tired afterward, then I did another peak.
This is the south rim of the gulch. It will be more than 4000' of gain to reach Mt Wilson via this ridge. I haven't gained that much elevation in one day since hiking in the Cascades. Yes, I was tired afterward, then I did another peak.
Ranch at the mouth of Green Gulch. This is part of the wildlife area.
Ranch at the mouth of Green Gulch. This is part of the wildlife area.
Moving on up.
Moving on up.
Pleasant hiking though steep in places.
Pleasant hiking though steep in places.
Balsamroot and other flowers are showing on the ridge.
Balsamroot and other flowers are showing on the ridge.
Getting some elevation now.
Getting some elevation now.
First paintbrush.
First paintbrush.
Shooting star.
Shooting star.
Point 2814  which I hiked twice earlier. Green Gulch below.
Point 2814  which I hiked twice earlier. Green Gulch below.
Looking back toward Joseph Creek.
Looking back toward Joseph Creek.
The ridge ascent thus far. I started right at the farmhouse.
The ridge ascent thus far. I started right at the farmhouse.
What is left. Mt Wilson summit not in view yet.
What is left. Mt Wilson summit not in view yet.
The final hike up to Mt Wilson. Summit not in view yet.
The final hike up to Mt Wilson. Summit not in view yet.
Blue bells near the warm rocks.
Blue bells near the warm rocks.
More blue bells.
More blue bells.
The closest I've gotten to a chukar. These birds are eurasian partridges of the pheasant family and were originally brought for sport hunting. They thrive in dry areas and do the good deed of eating invasive cheatgrass seeds.
The closest I've gotten to a chukar. These birds are eurasian partridges of the pheasant family and were originally brought for sport hunting. They thrive in dry areas and do the good deed of eating invasive cheatgrass seeds.
Spring beauty.
Spring beauty.
Phlox growing in dry rocky spots.
Phlox growing in dry rocky spots.
The summit of Mt Wilson sits back a bit from the main slopes and is not visible from below.
The summit of Mt Wilson sits back a bit from the main slopes and is not visible from below.
Point 4148 is my next peak and I'm a tad concerned about the terrain between here and there though.
Point 4148 is my next peak and I'm a tad concerned about the terrain between here and there though.
View from near the summit of Mt Wilson.
View from near the summit of Mt Wilson.
Mt Wilson summit, finally. This is my third try to get his one. It was too icy to hike the steep slopes on my other two attempts so I went to some lower points. It feels good to get'er done!
Mt Wilson summit, finally. This is my third try to get his one. It was too icy to hike the steep slopes on my other two attempts so I went to some lower points. It feels good to get'er done!
A light and cairn on Mt Wilson.
A light and cairn on Mt Wilson.
The Snake River 4000' below.
The Snake River 4000' below.
Summit view Mt Wilson.
Summit view Mt Wilson.
Looking south from Mt Wilson. The Oregon/Wa border crosses the summit.
Looking south from Mt Wilson. The Oregon/Wa border crosses the summit.
Heading to my next peak below.
Heading to my next peak below.
Blue bell.
Blue bell.
Dogwood?
Dogwood?
Some sidehilling but a nice game trail made it easy.
Some sidehilling but a nice game trail made it easy.
More shooting star.
More shooting star.
Almost to the false summit of 4148. I was fooled into thinking this was the top.
Almost to the false summit of 4148. I was fooled into thinking this was the top.
Phlox on a rock.
Phlox on a rock.
4148. It turns out the traverse was easy with no steep spots at all.  In fact, it was quite enjoyable.
4148. It turns out the traverse was easy with no steep spots at all.  In fact, it was quite enjoyable.
Down toward The Snake. I believe that's Wapshilla Ridge, part of the Craig Mtn massif. I'm hoping to hike out there as soon as access opens.
Down toward The Snake. I believe that's Wapshilla Ridge, part of the Craig Mtn massif. I'm hoping to hike out there as soon as access opens.
4148. This peak is positioned in an excellent spot for views.
4148. This peak is positioned in an excellent spot for views.
Some elk grazing below. It must have been a rough winter for them.
Some elk grazing below. It must have been a rough winter for them.
Elk.
Elk.
Enjoying the view.
Enjoying the view.
Looking back to the traverse from Mt Wilson.
Looking back to the traverse from Mt Wilson.
View north from 4148. The Grande Ronde in view.
View north from 4148. The Grande Ronde in view.
A sliver of The Snake. A peak of the Seven Devils can be seen above.
A sliver of The Snake. A peak of the Seven Devils can be seen above.
Mt Wilson. Glad to have been there.
Mt Wilson. Glad to have been there.
The Grande Ronde.
The Grande Ronde.
There is one more peak called Lime Hill to do on this ridge but I'll save that for another trip later. It's the rounded bump after the point with a steep east face. Views of the confluence of the Grande Ronde and Snake are said to be good from there.
There is one more peak called Lime Hill to do on this ridge but I'll save that for another trip later. It's the rounded bump after the point with a steep east face. Views of the confluence of the Grande Ronde and Snake are said to be good from there.
South from 4148.
South from 4148.
Jim Creek Butte, 5152,' I think.
Jim Creek Butte, 5152,' I think.
Relaxing on 4148.
Relaxing on 4148.
Mt Wilson is the high point in this area at 4913.'
Mt Wilson is the high point in this area at 4913.'
The ridge I'll be walking down to Green Gulch. It's about a 3000' descent. Ow.. my knees!
The ridge I'll be walking down to Green Gulch. It's about a 3000' descent. Ow.. my knees!
Looking back up to 4148.
Looking back up to 4148.
Almost down to upper Green Gulch.
Almost down to upper Green Gulch.
Poplars along the creek.
Poplars along the creek.
Balsam root.
Balsam root.
The green of Green Gulch.
The green of Green Gulch.
Green Gulch Trail.
Green Gulch Trail.
This area was a ranch but the state acquired it for the wildlife area.
This area was a ranch but the state acquired it for the wildlife area.
Dropping into the lush lower area of Green Gulch. Poison ivy is said to flourish here but I didn't see any.
Dropping into the lush lower area of Green Gulch. Poison ivy is said to flourish here but I didn't see any.
More flowering dogwoods?
More flowering dogwoods?
Canyon walls of Green Gulch.
Canyon walls of Green Gulch.
Deer.
Deer.
Wildlife in the wildlife area.
Wildlife in the wildlife area.
At the mouth of Green Gulch and completing a 10-mile loop with about 5000' of gain.
At the mouth of Green Gulch and completing a 10-mile loop with about 5000' of gain.
Balsam root near the parking area.
Balsam root near the parking area.
Interesting basalt outcrop near parking area.
Interesting basalt outcrop near parking area.
Joseph Ck is raging. Normally this is a small stream.
Joseph Ck is raging. Normally this is a small stream.

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Nancyann
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PostFri Apr 26, 2019 8:23 am 
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Thatís an awesome scenic loop. It is interesting to see the changing seasons, love the spring green and wildflowers!
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glenoid
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PostFri Apr 26, 2019 1:56 pm 
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Green Gulch (Chief Joseph Wildlife Area) Jan 7, 2019  (updated April 26)
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