Gospel Hump Wilderness


My first visit to the Gospel Hump wilderness, the Wind River is a gorgeous hike following a gorgeous drive.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

We'd been watching the weather and finally found a day that looked acceptable. NOAA said 60s and 40% POP. So at the leisurely departure time of 9:15, we were on our way.

We paused briefly to watch a runner in the jet boat race, and also investigated the end of the road, about 3 mile upstream from the Wind River bridge. All told, it's about 65 miles from McCall and around two hours; results will vary according the amount of rubbernecking (the river canyon is gorgeous!).

We were finally on our feet around 11:30. Overcast, low 50s.


After crossing the bridge and walking along the river for a hundred yards or so, the trail turns north to follow the Wind River. This lower part of the trail goes through an ancient homestead where we saw daffodils and an apple tree. Then the vegetation goes almost coastal, with a healthy dose of moss. There are a couple of easy creek crossings, and you don't gain a lot of elevation- but it's not flat.

The wildflowers were out. Flowies
After a bit, things start to open up. But as you can tell from the constant whitewater (and roar), it's still uphill. But gradual. Whitewater

Eventually cliffs block the way so the trail starts to switchback. As soon as you leave the creek bottom, the vegetation turns to a drier nature. This hillside was covered with arrowroot balsam, a change from the plentiful, although more delicate, wildflowers down below.


After a couple miles of steady climbing, the trail drops a couple hundred feet to rejoin the creek at this cool bridge. And then up some more.

Note that Dad is wearing his rain jacket. We got to practice getting these in and out of our packs a few times.


This is looking back down the drainage.

In the big version, you can see the bridge down below.


Meanwhile, we're doing a few more switchback outs of the creek bottom.

If that tower in the photo looks cool and you want to see more, here's a full-size close-up

Big rock
Then the trail mellows out and you hit the trail junction at the McMeeker Ranch. This was our turnaround point today. It's another 7.5 miles to Black Butte, and I think 4k more gain.... Trail junction

On our way back.

So here we've crossed the bridge, grunted back up the 200' climb, and we're heading down some of the upper switchbacks.


And there's the bridge across the Salmon. I think this view made Dad pretty happy.

This was a very pretty hike. I think we hit it about right, judging by the wildflowers. Also, it's a very pretty drive along the river, although due the to narrow lane and big drops, the driver doesn't get to spend a lot of time admiring it.

Wind River Bridge

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