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Grizzly Bear Ridge - Wenaha River - Slick Ear Loop

Eastern Washington > Palouse and Blue Mountains
46.0638, -117.8028 Map & Directions
Length
20.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
1300 feet
Highest Point
5400 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hard
Fording the Wenaha River. Photo by Froof_D_Poof. Full-size image
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Good for kids

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

Explore from ridgelines to river in a remote corner of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. Continue reading

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Hiking Grizzly Bear Ridge - Wenaha River - Slick Ear Loop

Explore from ridgelines to river in a remote corner of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.

From Twin Buttes trailhead, take the Grizzly Bear Ridge Trail along an old road bed for 1.9 miles to meadows overlooking the Wenaha River canyon. The road bed transitions to lightly used trail and meanders along the ridge through open ponderosa pine forests and dry parklands.

At 6.7 miles, switchback down a steep hillside on rocky but well-graded trail with striking views and reach the Wenaha River Trail at a sign for Grizzly Bear Ridge 9 miles from the trailhead. Campsites with easy water access are immediately available by continuing straight past the sign and walking a few hundred yards downsteam along the Wenaha River. If you’re not camping here, take a right at the sign, ford Rock Creek and follow the Wenaha River Trail for 3.9 miles to a crossing of Slick Ear Creek and the junction with Slick Ear Trail at 4 miles.

A handful of forested camps are available in the flats within the last half mile before reaching Slick Ear Creek. If you have time, explore another mile upriver at this junction toward Timothy, to Wenaha Forks where the north and south forks of the Wenaha meet in braided river flats.

Back on route, take a right at the Slick Ear Trail junction toward Twin Buttes and head uphill on the overgrown Slick Ear Trail through shady dry-side forest. The trail crosses Slick Ear Creek five times in the first two miles past the junction, passing a few campsites.

At the fifth crossing, fill your water bottle because the way steepens as you climb out of the drainage and switchback to a sharp ridge with views 3.7 miles from the Wenaha trail junction. Continue along the ridge to the Slick Ear trailhead and walk the road 1.5 miles back to the fork to return to the Twin Buttes trailhead.

WTA Pro Tip: The remote upper Wenaha watershed is a natural haven for wildlife. Absolutely bring binoculars to scan the hillsides and ridge tops for black bear (both black or brown in color), cougar, deer, elk, moose, and the Wenaha wolf pack (the largest pack in Washington and Oregon).

Hike Description Written by
Kyle Pomraning, WTA Correspondent

Grizzly Bear Ridge - Wenaha River - Slick Ear Loop

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.0638, -117.8028 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Dayton, head southeast for 21 miles on North Touchet River Road (becomes FR 64) following signs for Bluewood Ski Area. Stay right at the ski area gate and drive uphill 2.8 miles. Take a left onto Kendall Skyline Road (FR 46) and go 5 miles to a right on FR 300. Follow FR 300 4.8 miles to a fork and stay left to the Twin Buttes trailhead in 0.2 mile. Going right at the fork leads to Slick Ear trailhead in about 1.5 miles. The trailhead has a privy and primitive campsites.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Eastern Washington > Palouse and Blue Mountains

Grizzly Bear (#3103)

Umatilla National Forest, Pomeroy Ranger District

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Grizzly Bear Ridge - Wenaha River - Slick Ear Loop

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