Nez Perce Historic National Trail
The Nez Perce (Nimíipuu or Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail stretches from Wallowa Lake, Oregon, to the Bear Paw Battlefield near Chinook, Montana. The trail follows the 1877 flight of the Nez Perce from their homelands while pursued by U.S. Army.
Led by Chief Joseph, Chief Looking Glass, Chief White Bird, Chief Ollokot, Chief Lean Elk, and others, nearly 750 Nez Perce men, women, and children and twice that many horses endured over 1,170 miles through the rugged mountains and canyons in Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. Their journey lasted from June to October of 1877.
National Trail Designation
The Nez Perce (Nimíipuu or Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail was designated by Congress as a National Historic Trail in 1986 under P.L. 90-543 (amending the National Trails System Act of 1968). Although many sections of the trail are managed by the other agencies, the National Forest Service is the official administrator. The Forest Service is currently revising the Comprehensive Management Plan through a public involvement process.
National historic trails were established by Congress for the purpose of identifying and protecting the historic route and its historic remnants and artifacts for public use and enjoyment. The Act directs the route to follow as closely as possible and practicable the original trails or routes of travel of national historic significance.
Interpretive and Hiking Opportunities
As you travel through northeast Oregon and Idaho near teh Snake and Clearwater Rivers you will several great opportunities to explore and learn more about this historic trail and the tribal people that endured it's hardships.
National Park Service - Nez Perce National Historic Park Sites
The National Park Service manages 38 sites Nez Perce National Historic Park Sites in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana. The Nez Perce National Historic Site in Idaho include sites up the near Lewiston, Lapwai, Spalding, Cottonwood, Whitebird and other locations.
Nez Perce National Historic Trail - Dug Bar Crossing
A small but significant section of the Nez Perce Trail is located on the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest along the Snake River. The journey began the spring of 1877 when Chief Joseph led his people across the flooding Snake River near Dug Bar. Following U.S Army orders to move from the Wallowa Valley to the Lapwai Reservation in Idaho. Women, children and the elderly were crossed on horsehide rafts pulled by swimming horses with no losses. However several thousand head of horses and cattle were forced to swim the river with considerable losses.
Today visitors can hike the 7 miles of the Nez Perce National Historic Trail (#1727) on the Wallowa Mountains segment on the Forest from the Dug Bar road over Lone Pine Saddle to the Snake River. An interpretive sign at Dug Bar summarizes their journey.
For more information about the entire trail, please visit these websites: