Wenaha River Trail Backpacking

Enterprise, Oregon 97828

Wenaha River Trail Backpacking

Wenaha River Trail (Backpacking) Professional Review and Guide

"For countless thousands of years the Wenaha River has been carving a canyon into the lava tablelands of Oregon’s Blue Mountains. The result of these relentless efforts is a spectacular 2,000-foot-deep chasm.

The scenic mix includes a clear rushing stream, open ponderosa-pine forests, steep grasslands covered with wildflowers, and rugged rock outcroppings. The best way to appreciate the river’s handiwork is to hike the full length of the Wenaha River Trail—one of Oregon’s classic wild-river and canyon tours."

More Wenaha River Trail (Backpacking) Professional Reviews and Guides

"The rushing waters of the Wenaha River have carved an impressive, 2000-foot-deep canyon into the uplifted tablelands of the northern Blue Mountains. The canyon is a scenic masterpiece, with rocky ledges and grassy slopes perfectly mixed with groves of pines and firs that add touches of green to the dry surroundings. At the bottom of the canyon, the clear river flows in glassy eddies and rushing rapids that serenade the visitor with the constant sound of “river music.” But excellent scenery is only one reason to hike the Wenaha River Trail.

Anglers can try their luck at snagging some of the river’s large trout, while wildlife lovers will delight in the better-than-average chance of seeing elk and bighorn sheep. In April and May, botanists will have fun examining the wide variety of flowering plants, including species that prefer dry, semi-desert slopes and moisture-loving varieties along the river. Keep an eye out for the twin hazards of rattlesnakes and poison ivy."

Wenaha River Trail (Backpacking) Reviews

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This is a beautiful trail with lots of options. I chose it because my family and I could do an easy out and back without the need to get to any one particular spot. With a five year old and a 17 month old we needed the convenience to set camp when the energy or patience of our little girls wore off. We didn't make it far from the Troy trailhead, but we had a great time and found the perfect spot along the river. The girls had fun spotting a lizard, a very small snake, deer, crawdads, and what I think were wild turkeys. We had planned on two nights, but learned that just wasn't going to be pleasant due to our 17 month old. This was our first time camping with her and our first time backpacking in a long time. We're glad we did it, we had fun and we learned the limits of our little girl. Our five year old did great.
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This wilderness is always amazing, especially if you get off the trail and scramble up to the ridge/mesas that make up the canyons. We started at Elk Flat and intended to cross the river at Three Forks but the river was too high from lots of rain so we hiked back out and started from Troy instead. We go to this location on Memorial Day weekend because if you hike far enough in (from Troy, that means past Crooked Creek) you often have the place to yourself. Nice!
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This is a beautiful trail, with a breathtaking view around every corner. It is not for the mildhearted however. the trail has become overgrown and has many steep climbs, you must also be willing to get a little wet, especiallt if you plan on doing any good fishing. I would have rated it at 5 stars, except for the poor maintenance, but it is still early in the season, that may not be a problem too much longer.

Wenaha River Trail (Backpacking) Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
2,800 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
3-4 days
Usually open April to November; best May / October
Pomeroy Ranger District
Local Contacts
USFS - Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness
Local Maps