Wallowa Mountains Hells Canyon Trails Association

Wenaha River Access Trails

May 25-28, 2018

On Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28, 2018, a crew of seven WMHCTA volunteers worked on two of the access trails that drop from Hoodoo Ridge and Elk Flat on the south side of the Wenaha Breaks down to the Wenaha River. The crew was accompanied by family members who tended camp and prepared food. The crew gathered tools and other equipment at the USFS barn in Enterprise on Friday afternoon, May 25, and then traveled to the Elk Flat trailhead via Boggan’s corner, Troy, and USFS road 62. Skies were threatening all afternoon, but the rain held off until camp was set up and dinner was finished. This was the same evening that very heavy rains caused flash floods, landslides, and washouts on the Imnaha Highway east of Joseph, which illustrates how localized this sort of severe weather can be.

On Saturday morning the crew drove from the camp at Elk Flat to the Hoodoo Trail (USFS #3244) and started down. The weather was mostly dry with a few showers, but the trail-side brush, heavily encroaching the trail, was saturated from the previous night’s rain. The crew descended the entire 1500 ft. of elevation and 3.2 miles to the river, removing over 80% of the brush and 10 downed trees along the way. The trail is now open and in good condition.

On Sunday morning the crew worked down the Elk Flat trail (USFS #3241), which they found to be heavily wooded with minimal brush, since, unlike the Hoodoo Trail, the area had not burned in 2015. They descended the entire 2000 ft. of elevation and 4.5-5 mile length of the trail, removing 33 trees, some 20-30″ in diameter, along the way.

On Monday morning the crew broke camp and returned to Enterprise. The tally for the weekend was 121 volunteer work hours, 7.7 miles of trail cleared, and 43 logs removed. Even on Memorial Day weekend, the crew encountered only one other person, a trail runner, on either of the two trails.

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