Panjab Creek


Forest Service Trail #3127

Why? Great open country at the top

Season: April through November at the low elevations, May through October nearer the top.

Ease: Difficult. It’s 5.6 miles and 2,200 feet in elevation change from the trailhead to Indian Corral.

If you’re as crazy about the high country in the Wenaha Tucannon Wilderness as I am, you’re going to love the trail up Panjab. While it’s not the shortest hike up to the top, it’s straightforward and it has the easiest-to-reach trailhead. That it follows a lovely creek through some fine woods is just a bonus. That the flowers, especially when you reach the top, can be fantastic in mid-July is certainly something to keep in mind when planning to do this hike.

The first mile of trail out of Panjab also serves the trail up Turkey Creek. It’s also about the only part of either trail that has any down in its up, so to speak, and visa versa. Once you pass the point where the Turkey Creek Trail takes off to the right, you’re in for an only uphill experience until you reach the top. Then you can enjoy relatively level hiking until you reach Indian Corral, where the trail ends.

There’s a fair amount of fire damage along Panjab from fires in 2006. But except in a couple spots, the fire damage is mixed with green – sometimes the green of large standing trees in the same area, sometimes the green of the low understory, sometimes both. It doesn’t feel depressing to walk through, for either way you can see that plant death and life exist together and that the former nourishes the latter.

As for the the trail itself, it can be a bit rocky, especially in a couple of talus areas, and it’s fairly well removed from the creek. Water would never be an issue, but you might have to climb down a steep slope to get it. The country above is more open on the north side with the neighboring ridge top sometimes visible, probably because this creek runs largely east west so has a south-facing slope.

All in all, it’s an enjoyable hike to the high Wenaha-Tucahhon. I’ve loved it up there since I first saw it years ago, the openness of the grasslands and the seclusion of the scattered woods. As for the flowers up there in July – they’re well worth the uphill hike, too.

Trail Notes: There’s a fork in trail about 1 mile from the top. Either works. The straight ahead brings you out on top sooner and hooks up with the trail from Rattlesnake before reaching Indian Corral. The sharp right stays a bit lower on the ridge and spends less time out in the open on top.

Directions: Turn left off Highway 12 onto the Tatman Mt./Linville Gulch Road about 4 miles west of Pomeroy at milepost 399. In 6.3 miles, turn right onto the Blind Grade Road. When it ends 2.3 miles later, turn left along the Tucannon Road. In about 12 ½ miles, go straight along Panjab Creek. The trailhead is on the left in about 2.5 miles.

Information: Pomeroy Ranger Station, UNF, (509) 843 1891

Map: USGS Panjab, Washington; Forest Service Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness Map

Connections: From Indian Corral, you can head toward Oregon Butte either to hike south into the wilderness or back along Turkey Creek to the Panjab Trailhead, toward Diamond Peak along the Mt. Misery Trail or down Crooked Creek toward the Wenaha River. You also could hike down Rattlesnake, an alternate route back to Panjab Creek that is quite steep in spots and ends about 2 ½ miles down that creek from the Panjab trailhead.