Sacajawea Peak

Date of trip: 08/04/2018

Mileage: 14.2 Miles

Elevation Gain: 5000 Feet

Time: 8 Hour(s) and 39 Minutes

Class: 2

Partners: Carrie, John

GPS Track: View Here

Peaks Climbed on Trip:
Peak Name Elevation Prominence Range Close to County highpoint Range highpoint Map
Sacajawea Peak98586393WallowaEnterprise, OregonNoYes45.2451, -117.2928

Trip Report

I was wanting to hike in smoke free skies. Looking at the map of fire locations and projected winds for the weekend, I started looking west of Boise. We considered the Mount Rainier area and the Wallowas in Oregon, settling on the Wallowas due to the shorter drive. Specifically, we wanted to go after Sacajawea Peak... highpoint of the Wallowa Range, ultra prominence peak, and county highpoint of Wallowa county.

I hadn't seen John for a while and noticed he hadn't climbed Sacajawea Peak, so I invited him. He didn't take much convincing before committing.

We were coming into the Joseph/Enterprise area from different directions. We had agreed to meet at the Hurricane Creek campground. While we ate dinner in Enterprise, John phoned that he was at the campground and it was full. With questionable cell service, we agreed he would head up to the trailhead and try to find a spot and we'd meet up with him there.

John found a spot along the creek that worked great and was only a mile from the trailhead.

We got a reasonable start the next morning (6:15am local time). It was actually clear, quite cool and pleasant. We enjoyed the easy warm-up along Hurricane Creek. Eventually we found the turnoff that we needed to take to get to Thorp Creek. Finding the turnoff, crossing the creek, then finding the trail out of the meadows were considered the crux of the trip... we did all 3 and were soon on our way on a well beaten path.

Once we entered the meadows of Thorp Creek and could see the peaks around us, we were impressed. Huge walls of scree on one side and giant walls of white limestone/marble on the other. The basin was very scenic. We continued along the creek and eventually spied our ridge, which was further confirmed as we watched a trail runner coming down it.

The final 2000' on the east ridge had a decent trail. John was flying up the ridge. Carrie would have been, but I wasn't feeling too great, so she stayed with me. Despite my energy issues, we still arrived at the top under the time we'd estimated.

Views from the top were impressive! We could see the Seven Devils range in Idaho and the Wallowas are a mass of pointed peaks and valleys. The geology of the range is impressive, with all sorts of different types and colors of rock all merging together.

We had all expected the ridge to be loose and unpleasant on the way down. However, it was not bad at all and soon we were back at the creek filtering water for the hike out.

The day did get warmer, but a steady breeze from the north kept us cooled off. Lawn chairs and beer at the trailhead sealed the deal!

Chock up another successful outing with great company and another beautiful area!


Getting There

From Enterprise, Oregon on Main Street (Highway 82) turn right on Hurricane Creek Road and go about 9 miles to Hurricane Creek trailhead. This road is nice gravel at first and then turns into pavement. Other than being narrow, it is a great road.


Hiking Directions

From the Hurricane Creek Trailhead, follow the Hurricane Creek Trail for 1.9 miles (I saw trip reports where this turn was anywhere from 1.7 to 2.0 miles). At this point, look for a trail in the trees forking to the left. The fork immediately passes some camp sites, then crosses Hurricane Creek on logs. The trail then enters a meadow where the tread is hard to find. Once the trail re-enters the trees, it is easy to follow again.

After the trail crosses Trail Creek, it goes up some steep switchbacks, before the angle moderates as it traverses into the Thorp Creek basin. Follow the trail through the meadows along Thorp Creek. The route leaves the creek at the 7600' contour, then traverses to the base of the east ridge, which leads to the summit.

There is pretty much a trail the entire way. We missed it in spots on the way up, but were able to follow it on descent.


Photos

View Slideshow

Creek crossing
Creek crossing
Thorp Basin is gorgeous!
Thorp Basin is gorgeous!
Thorp Creek
Thorp Creek
Our route basically followed the ridge line
Our route basically followed the ridge line
John suggesting a route
John suggesting a route
Metamorphic meets limestone
Metamorphic meets limestone
East face of Sacajawea Peak
East face of Sacajawea Peak
Looking north from Sacajawea Peak
Looking north from Sacajawea Peak
Sacajawea Peak
Sacajawea Peak
Last 25 feet to the top of Sacajawea Peak
Last 25 feet to the top of Sacajawea Peak
John and Ruby checking out the area
John and Ruby checking out the area
John below a neat lava formation
John below a neat lava formation
Flowers are abundant in the burned section
Flowers are abundant in the burned section
Gorgeous views on the hike out
Gorgeous views on the hike out




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