Inland Northwest offers early backpacking options

SUNDAY, MAY 29, 2011

Here are three more top picks for early-season Inland Northwest backpacking trips:

Kirkwood Ranch: Hells Canyon National Recreation Area:

No place in Hells Canyon packs so much great hiking, scenery and history into a small package as Trail 102, which heads up the Idaho side of the Snake from Pittsburg Landing west of Whitebird. A campground is developed 6 miles upstream at Kirkwood Ranch, an excellent historical site worth hours of exploration. Be sure to save some gas to go the extra 2 miles up the trail to a great view from Suicide Point.

• Info: Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, Riggins office, (208) 628-3916.

Rapid River: south of Riggins, Idaho: Hike up to 7 miles in early season below the Seven Devils Mountains and along Rapid River, ranked as one of the coldest, clearest streams in the National Wild and Scenic River System. Enjoy blooming flowers and old-growth ponderosa pines.

• Info: Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, Riggins office, (208) 628-3916.

Wenaha River: near Troy, Ore.: Hike upstream into the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness up to 22 miles one way with the river your constant companion.

• Info: Umatilla National Forest, Pomeroy Ranger District, (509) 843-1891.

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