Pttsburg Landng near White Bird provides a great hike. The Snake River National Recreation Trail # 102 is 26 miles long going upriver, best in May, June and July or fall, takes you up the river to the Historic Kirkwood Ranch after just 6 miles. Just a short hike along the Snake River gives you a majestic view of Hells Canyon. A moderate hike great for kids of all ages. About 1 mile into the hike you will find a flat area where the kids can put their feet in the water and search for their favorite stone from Hells Canyon.
This l;anding also provides a boat launch ramp into Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America and access to the 652,488 acres of Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. A campground, restrooms and trail head complete the site. The gravel road from Hwy. 95 to Pittsburg Landing is narrow and winding but is frequently maintained. It offers spectacular views into the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.
More Pittsburg Landing and hiking info:
Pittsburg Landing Boat Launch
Upper Pittsburg Landing Picnic Area
Description: Pittsburg Landing is located deep in Hells Canyon near the mouth of Kurry Creek along the Snake River. At a much elevation than surrounding areas, the lower canyon of the Snake River in Hells Canyon is topographically isolated and is relatively warmer and often snow free during the winter. It supports several endemic plants as well as many others disjunct from more southerly latitudes. Hells Canyon holds some the largest contiguous bunchgrass communities in the Intermountain West. The slopes support vast stands of bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoreigneria spicata) and Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis). Smaller communities of warm-season grasses, such as red three-awn (Aristida longiseta) and sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus) are also prevalent. Notable are vast communities of prickly pear cactus (Opuntia polyacantha) amid sparse stands of bluebunch wheatgrass.
Viewing Information: Pittsburg Landing is a good destination for people looking for signs of spring early in the year. During March, yellow bells (Fritillaria pudica) dot the grasslands. These are quickly followed by wild onions (Allium spp.), Douglas’ Brodiaea (Brodiaea douglasii), and desert parsleys (Lomatium spp). From late April through May one can find the endemic and showy Snake River phlox (Phlox colubrina), fuzzy-tongue penstemon (Penstemon eriantherus), native thistles (Cirsium undulatum, Cirsium utahense), locoweeds (Astragalus spp.), clustered broomrape (Orobanche fasciculata), hoary aster (Chrysopsis villosa), shaggy fleabane (Erigeron pumilus), paintbrushes (Castilleja spp), white-stemmed Frasera (Frasera albicaulis) and blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata). The prickly pear bloom peaks early June as it accentuates grassy slopes with yellow to magenta colored flowers. Near the Pittsburg saddle dependable displays of the Venus penstemon (Penstemon venustus) are seen. A wildfire that burned through this area in 2007 has stimulated abundant wildflower displays that should continue for the next several years.
Safety First: Be prepared in spring, summer and autumn for rapid changes in weather as thunderstorms may develop rapidly. Western diamondback rattlesnakes may occasionally be present so please stay alert. The western diamondback rattlesnake is not aggressive but will defend itself if stepped on or threatened at close range. Keep a watchful eye as you walk and you should not have any problems. The gravel road descending to Pittsburg Landing is narrow and very winding above; keep your eye on the road and watch your speed. Please use the pullouts if you wish to photograph the panoramic view or wildflowers. Summer temperatures can be high, easily exceeding 100º F. Carry water, bring plenty of sunscreen and wear a ventilated brimmed hat. Western poison ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii) is common along streams and in dense patches on lower slopes; remember leaves of three let it be.
Directions: From Idaho highway 95, drive about 20 miles south from Grangeville (or 30 miles north from Riggins) to the small community of Whitebird. From here, take Idaho county road 493 about 15 miles to the saddle between the Salmon and Snake Rivers. As you descend the saddle 5 miles to Pittsburg Landing, many opportunities exist along the road for wildflower viewing. At the landing there is a campground and boatlaunch. Water is available from Memorial Day through Labor Day. At the Upper Landing, trail #102 runs along the Snake River south 27 miles to Granite Creek. About 1 mile before the campground, two very primitive spur roads (4-wheel drive recommended) run north. These are suitable for walking as traffic is usually absent.
Seven Devils Look out Another great place to hike is in the Seven Devils. One of the more spectacular lookout sites is Heavens Gate on the Idaho-Oregon border. It's located at an elevation of 8400 feet and has striking views of Hells Canyon, the Seven Devils Mountains, and other peaks in the area. Current Heavens Gate lookout Michael Oliver enjoys his job with a view. He's happy to still be part of a firefighting team and also feels lookouts still have a valuable role to play today.The Seven Devils are notable peaks in west central Idaho in the Hells Canyon Wilderness. They are above the east bank of the Snake River, which forms the Idaho-Oregon border. The mountains are part of the Rocky Mountains, and the tallest peaks are 7900 vertical feet (2408 m) above the adjacent Snake River, with few trees in between. There are several marked and unmarked trails and cleared camping areas throughout the mountains. It has several water falls and streams as well as numerous lakes.
Immediately southwest of Riggins, the Seven Devils are accessible from U.S. Highway 95 by a gravel road which climbs over 5000 vertical feet in 17 miles.
Description: The rocky alpine peaks of the Seven Devils climb skyward from the Snake River to over 9,400 feet and are often snow-capped in July. They provide excellent habitat for mountain goats, best viewed from July to September. Heavens Gate lookout offers an incredible view of portions of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Several hiking trails lead to over 90 alpine lakes.
Viewing Information: The open subalpine forests and high elevation grasslands offer spectacular wildflower blooms in July with lupine, phlox, penstemon, buckwheat, stonecrop, Indian paintbrush and phacelia to name a few. On the drive up, watch for elk, white-tailed deer, and ruffed and blue grouse. Also, watch for golden eagle, yellow-bellied marmot, Columbian ground squirrel, pika, and the tracks of black bear and coyote.
Safety First: Always be prepared for inclement weather. Bring appropriate clothing and footwear. Bring water on hikes.
Directions: From Riggins, Idaho, head south on US 95 for 0.75 miles. Turn right onto Forest Road 517 and go 17 miles to the Seven Devils Campground (just west of Windy Saddle Campground). From the parking lot, scan the cliffs for mountain goats. Heaven’s Gate Lookout is 1.25 miles further down road 517. The open slopes in the vicinity of Windy Saddle to Heaven’s Gate as well as the trail to the lookout support the best wildflower viewing. Maps of the area are available at the USFS office, which is well signed from the highway to the south of Riggins.
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service: Administered by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in Oregon (Pacific Northwest Region). Site located in Idaho on the Nez Perce National Forest within the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, (202) 628-3916.