Nez Perce National Historic Trail #1727

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

This section of the Nez Perce (Nee Mee Poo) National Historic Trail begins approximately 2 miles past the Cow Creek bridge, on Forest Road #4260 and ends at Dug Bar, on the Snake River. There is no formal trailhead parking area but visitors can park on the right side of the road near the small rock cairn.

The trail commemorates the flight of Chief Joseph and his people. The journey began the spring of 1877 when Chief Joseph led about 700 of 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.Their journey covered approximately 1,800 miles. More historical information is also available about the trail.

The view from Lone Pine Saddle of the Snake River Canyon and the Imnaha River drainage is outstanding, adding a dimension of space and beauty for hikers. The trail offers an opportunity to view elk, deer, and bighorn sheep, as well as other kinds of wildlife. The prickly pear cactus is abundant along the Nez Perce Trail and is generally in full bloom during the spring. People often let a part of their party off to hike the trail while the driver joins them at Dug Bar.The trail basically parallels the Dug Bar Road. At times it is hard to follow because it is located in active range country and cow trails intersect the main trail.

Advisory: Most trails in Hells Canyon are in rattlesnake and poison ivy country! Water on the trail is scarce and unsafe to drink if not previously treated.
Difficulty level: Easy

Hells Canyon National Recreation Area

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Current Conditions
Fees No fees are required for this site
Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Light
Restrictions: General rules of use and restrictions apply for this developed recreation site. Motorized vehicles, bicycles, carts, hang glider and other mechanical equipment is prohibited in the Wilderness area. Motor vehicle use is prohibited on all of the trail.
Closest Towns: Joseph, Oregon (52 miles), Imnaha, Oregon (23 miles)
Water: No
Restroom: No
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Wallowa Mountains Office

General Information


From Imnaha, Oregon travel north on the Lower Imnaha River Road (County Road 755) for 6.5 miles; As the road continues it becomes Forest Road 4260 also known as the Dug Bar Road; Continue on Forest Road 4260 for 22.5 miles to a rock cairn marker along the right side of the road.

To get to Imnaha from Enterprise, Oregon travel south 6 miles on Highway 82 towards Joseph; In Joseph turn left on Highway 350 and go 30 miles to Imnaha. This is a 36 mile trip.

NOTE: The road is usually open all year, but Forest Road 4260 can be slippery when wet or frozen and is not recommended for trailers. Recommend only high clearance vehicles, but passenger cars could travel this road under dry conditions. There is limited parking and no facilities available at the trailhead until you reach Dug Bar.



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  Area/Length : 
7.0 miles

  Elevation : 
1050 - 2700


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