4 Miles – Easy – Some Route Finding
Starts on Little Sheep Highway
Devils Gulch (Valley) is located in Clear Lake Ridge, Wallowa County, OR
This day hike is perfect during the winter or spring. It is at a lower elevation and as a result has little or no snow most of the winter. It is owned and maintained by The Nature Conservancy.
The hike’s trailhead is 7.7 miles from Imnaha and 15.9 miles from Joseph. To get to the trailhead you drive approximately 15.9 miles east on the Little Sheep Creek Highway (toward Imnaha). When you see the Wallowa Whitman National Forest sign on the right side of the highway, pull over at the next tributary and park on the south side of the highway.
The trail begins after crossing a foot bridge which crosses the Little Sheep Creek. You then go through a gate which goes through a pole fence (remember to latch the gate).
The trailing gradually goes up the valley. There are a variety of basalt rock formations on both sides of the trail. In about 1.5 miles the trail goes to the left up around some thicker under growth. If you do not take the trail to the left along the hill side you will end up along the drainage and in some brushing areas. The route along the drainage is interesting since the water appears and disappears in the drainage most notably during the fall and winter. You will also likely to see several grouse which seem to live throughout the drainage.
After returning from the hill side down into the drainage again you will travel along the stream once again. You will enter a small stand of Ponderosa Pines and you will see a valley that goes off to the left. It looks like a fun place to explore though there is no trail. Shortly after this side canyon you will come to an abandoned shack. This is at the 2 mile point and a good place to turn around. Another option is to gain the ridge behind the cabin. Another option is to continue further up the canyon which leads to a Devil’s Gulch, a 3,000-foot high canyon and the top of a plateau. From the plateau you get a 360-degree view that includes Idaho’s Seven Devils and the peaks of the Eagle Cap Wilderness. This basalt plateau, hosts three shallow lakes amid native grasslands.
For more information about this area, contact Jeff Fields, the Preserve Manager at (541) 426-3458. CALL THIS GUY BEFORE LEAVING HIS NAME AND PHONE NUMBER.
No dogs. Preserves harbor ground-nesting birds and other wildlife that are extremely sensitive to disturbance.