This section of The Chief Joseph Wildlife Area is located at the confluence of the Snake and Grande Ronde Rivers. A healthy population of elk winter here and I saw many during my hike.
Instead of entering via Green Gulch, which I've done several times, I turned onto Rogersburg Rd after crossing the bridge over The Grande Ronde and parked at the base of a rocky ridge that drops down from Lime Hill some 2000' above. This is a section of state land that comes down to the road.
Though no trails exist, the land is open and little brush is present during the colder months. I gained the ridge at a low col and walked an old fence line and used grassy old roads occasionally. The going got steep higher up but games trails make it easy.
My goal was Lime Hill, which has a broad, open summit and views over the entire area. A through hike from Green Gulch can be arranged with two cars or by doing an in and out but I chose a shorter version straight up from the river.
Heading up from the Grande Ronde.
Starting up the north ridge of Lime Hill.
Deer at the start of the hike.
A pretty good trail on the ridge.
Lime Hill summit.
My ridge hike up. I'm parked at the curve in the river where two sand bars are visible.
Last bit to Lime Hill. It was over 2000' of climbing in 1.8 miles.
It's 5 or 6 miles to Green Gulch TH from here.
Elk and Mt Wilson.
Elk and Mt Wilson ridge.
2814 which I hiked from Green Gulch on an earlier visit.
I'm at least a mile away and they spotted me.
Lime Hill summit, 2922.'
Geocache on Lime Hill summit.
Craig Mtn across the Snake. This is an enormous wildlife area in Idaho.
4148 which I hiked in spring.
Puffer and Puffer Butte.
Jim Creek Butte in Oregon.
Mt Wilson, the highpoint in the area at just under 5000.' The Oregon/Wa border runs across the summit.
My ridge hike up to Lime Hill. The confluence of The Grande Rond and Snake Rivers below.
The Grande Ronde River.
Almost back to my car.
On the way back home I stopped by Swallow's Nest Rock on the Snake River between Clarkston and Asotin. This feature looks like a mini Rock of Gibraltar and has a trail going up to the top which has a sheer face that drops down to the road. A short and steep 1/4 hike with about 400' of gain gets one on top which leaves from the junction of Riverside Dr and Critchfield Rd.
This is private land but the owner allows foot traffic through. A sign states "keep the gate closed so the horses don't get out. Foot traffic OK."
A cave along the trail to Swallow's Nest.
Swallow's Nest Rock.
Swallow's Nest Rock.
The Snake River. The road continues to Asotin.
Clarkston and Lewiston.
Parking area below. My car on the right.
Swallow's Nest Rock near Clarkston, Wa rises about 400' above the Snake River. Some people refer to it as "Little Gibraltar."
So true! In my 5 trips in this area I have yet to see another person but I don't hike here in hunting season. State wildlife areas are growing, including 643 acres proposed for Green Gulch in 2020.
These areas offer yet another hiking option though trails in the traditional sense tend not to exist. More often than not there are old road beds and game trails to walk on though. It's more about making your own adventure and enjoying the wildlife.
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