Mount Misery Trail


Forest Service Trail #3113

Why? Fantastic Wenaha-Tucannon open high country

Season: July through September

Ease: Moderate. It’s 7.2 miles from the Melton Creek end of the trail to Indian Corral, 3.3 from there to Oregon Butte.

I can’t think of any place I’d rather be that in the high country of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness, and this trail spends more time there than any other I’ve hiked.

What makes that country special to me is its openness, especially the 4 miles roughly east of Dunlap Spring. It’s grasslands with trees here and there, often those wonderful, tall ponderosa pine. Its small patches of woods now and again, just often enough to remind you that the openness and views shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Luckily, for most of the distance, the grades are gentle or level. The exception, of course, is right near the start, for maybe a mile or two, where for some reason the trail builders forgot that switchbacks are wonderful things.

Along the way, you’ll have views. Most are south, into the body of the wilderness toward the Wenaha. Near Clover Spring the view includes Oregon Butte. In late fall, if you hit it just right, the larches might be turning and dropping their yellow needles on the trail for you to walk on.

Springs are many, which means that camping is more than just theoretically possible. There’s Diamond and Sheephead and Bear Wallow and Clover and Bullfrog plus one unnamed plus Dunlop just off the trail at Indian Corral (see note below).

From Indian Corral to Oregon Butte, the trail is more up and down, often just below the ridgeline, and it crosses a couple of saddles. The trees are more numerous in this section of trail, the open areas less frequent. However, if you detour to the ridge tops, you’ll get nice views into the Trout Creek Drainage and the eastern part of the wilderness.

Trail Notes: There is a false right or two as you approach the turn off down to Oregon Butte spring and Teepee Trailhead. They peter out fast. The correct turn has an old sign and is almost out in the open rather than in the deep woods.

This trail actually continues past Oregon Butte to the Teepee Trailhead, but that portion of the trail is covered in the Oregon Butte hike.

When I hiked this entire trail in one hike in the fall, we found some springs were dry: Diamond, Sheephead and another that was not on the map. We found water at the unnamed spring between Sheephead and Bear Wallow Springs.

Directions: The Melton end of the trail is about 1 mile west of the Diamond Peak Trailhead. The Oregon Butte end of this hike is 2.2 miles from the Teepee Trailhead.

Information: Pomeroy Ranger District, UNF, (509) 843-1891

Maps: USGS Diamond Peak, Stentz Spring, and Panjab Creek, Washington; the Forest Service Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness Map.

Connections: Indian Corral is a junction point for three other trails, Crooked Creek, Panjab, or Rattlesnake. Any one of them makes for an alternative entry into or exit from the Mount Misery Trail and suggests alternative long hikes.