Imnaha River Hike

Imnaha River Trail - Blue Hole

Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 350 feet
Best time to go: Summer and fall 
Notes: $5 parking fee or Northwest Forest Pass required. Restrooms are available.

About this Hike 

This hike follows the designated Wild and Scenic Imnaha River into the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Due to fires in the mid-1990’s, shade can be hard to come by in parts of the trail, but the river is always inviting and old growth pine make this hike a favorite for locals trying to escape the crowds of tourists.

The trail is straightforward and well-marked. At about 0.6 miles, there is a faint split in the trail. Stay left. Enjoy the regenerating forest and views of the Imnaha River. You’ll cross the Wilderness boundary at 1.3 miles before entering a moist forest about a quarter-mile later. There’s a small stream crossing (sometimes bigger if the beaver are busy) at 1.8 miles before you’ll encounter rocky outcrops and the well-named Blue Hole to your left. Turn back, or consult guidebooks for additional hiking opportunities beyond Blue Hole and side trails. There is abundant camping in developed campgrounds nearby.

Getting There

From Joseph, take State Highway #350 about 8 miles before taking a sharp right onto Forest Road #39 (Wallowa Mountain Loop Road to Halfway). After about 40 miles, turn right onto Forest Road #3960 and travel about 10 miles to Indian Crossing Campground and Trailhead. From Baker City, take State Highway 86 towards Richland. Continue on to NF-39 to Forest Road #3960. Turn left, and follow instructions as from Joseph.

Michael T. Williams