BEST AREAS FOR WILDERNESS CAMPING
WALLOWA-WHITMAN NATIONAL FOREST
2,383,159 acres. This major National Forest consists of two huge tracts in northeast Oregon, along with some lands in western Idaho. Located here are the Wallowa and Blue Mountains, with snowcapped granite peaks and other rugged terrain. Highest elevation is the Matterhorn, which stands at 9,845 feet.
Part of the 652,488-acre Hells Canyon National Recreation Area lies within the National Forest boundaries. Included are 6,600-foot-deep Hells Canyon, said to be the deepest river canyon in the country, and the Snake National Wild and Scenic River.
WallowaWhitman also has other gorges along with steep ridges, rock walls and talus slopes, glaciers, and many lakes and streams. There are pon-derosa pine and Douglas fir forests, with spruce and larch. Among the wildlife are elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, cougar, and coyote.
Four designated wilderness areas are found here: the 358,461-acre Eagle Cap Wilderness, and portions of the 215,000-acre Hells Canyon Wilderness, the 121,800-acre North Fork-John Day Wilderness, and the 19,600-acre Monument Rock Wilderness.
Activities: Backpacking and hiking are available oh more than 2,070 miles of trails. Difficulty ranges from easy to strenuous. Trails at high elevations are likely to be snow-free from July through October.
Many trails are open to horseback riding. Mountain bikes are allowed on some trails outside of wilderness areas. Cross-country skiing is possible on trails during the winter.
White-water rafting is available on the Snake River in Hells Canyon. This activity requires a permit from late May through mid-September. Fishing is also possible in the region. Hunting is permitted in season.
Camping Regulations: Camping is allowed throughout the National Forest, as are campfires, except where otherwise prohibited. No permits are necessary.
In wilderness areas campsites should be at least 200 feet from lakes, and campfires are not permitted within one-quarter mile of some lakes. Maximum group size in wilderness areas is 12, but numbers are limited to eight in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and six in a portion of the Eagle Cap Wilderness.
For Further Information: Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, P.O. Box 907, Baker, OR 97814; (503)523-6391.