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Tucannon River Canyon

Eastern Washington

Location

Eastern Washington -- Palouse and Blue Mountains
View map below

Length

8.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 1200 ft.
Highest Point: 3680 ft.

Rating

2.20 out of 5

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The Tucannon River drains the north side of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness through a deep forested canyon. Its low elevation and mellow grade make it accessible early in the spring when higher trails are still covered in feet of snow. From the trailhead, cross a well-built bridge over Sheep Creek and enter the wilderness for the first 0.5 miles. A side trail detours around the wilderness boundary allowing access to mountain bikes but motorcycles are not permitted.

The trail begins above the Tucannon with views south toward the wooded side of Horse Ridge. The first 2 miles meander in and out of forest that has been disturbed by fire and often covered in blow-down early in the spring.

As the trail makes its way further upstream it spends more time under the cover of trees and dazzling hikers with its ever present babble. A couple of pleasant creek-side camps can be from 2 to 4 miles from the trail-head making it a great first-time backpacking trip. At four miles climb a short distance from the river to the junction with Bear Creek Trail 3110. This makes a great turnaround point for those enjoying a day hike.

Following Bear Creek Trail south takes one past Jelly Springs toward Diamond Peak and the beginning of one of the many epic loops that the Blue Mountains offer for adventurous backpackers.

WTA Pro Tip: Sheep Falls makes a fun side trip. Head upstream just before crossing the bridge at the trail-head for 0.5 miles on a path that parallels Sheep Creek to find the small waterfall in a fern lined canyon full of blow-down.

 

Tucannon River Canyon

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.1886, -117.6253 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Eastern Washington -- Palouse and Blue Mountains

Tucannon River Trail (#3135)

Umatilla National Forest, Pomeroy Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Best Desert Hikes: Washington (Bauer & Nelson - Mountaineers Books)

USFS Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness map

Getting There

From Highway 12, 13 miles north of Dayton or about 23 miles west of Pomeroy, turn south on the Tucannon River Road. Drive this road for 32 miles to a fork in the road. 30 miles in, the road becomes gravel. Take FR 4712 (the left-hand fork) for 4.5 bumpy miles to the the parking area at the end of the road. The parking area has room to park about a dozen vehicles and a privy. 

It is also possible to access the Tucannon River valley via Hatley Gulch to the Kendall Skyline Road and then down NF-4620. However, it is often blocked by snow until mid June and not recommend for passenger cars.

 

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Tucannon River Canyon

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