Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness

The Blue Mountains

Southeast Washinton

The Blue Mountains straddle the Washington/Oregon border about 150 miles east of Portland, and immediately east of Walla Walla. They are not particularly tall, but are good for a late spring trip because the snow melts off by June, when other more alpine areas are still snowbound. They include the Wenaha/Tucannon Wilderness, named after rivers in the southern and northern ends of the mountains, respectively.

I had planned to do an ambitious loop, but as with so many of the northwest mountains this year, a major windstorm the previous winter resulted in extensive downfall that made progress tortuous. I had to turn back as it would have been impossible to finish the loop in the time I had. I used the Panjab Trailhead.


Panjab Creek.



Approaching the Indian Corral trail junction.


Heading down Trout Creek near its headwaters.


After running into too much downed trees and mud, I turned back and camped at a rare open spot next to Trout Creek.


I saw no bears, but there was much bear scat, so hang the food.

A nice bear track.

Back to Indian Corral, take a left towards Oregon Butte.



Looking sotheast at the Trout and Third Creek drainages.


Camp near Oregon Butte.


Oregon Butte lookout.

Oregon Butte Lookout from the Smooth Ridge trail.



Sunset from the lookout.

It was very windy.











Heading back down Panjab Creek.

The area is famous for elk, and I finally saw some.

My arrival scared most of the elk straight up the hill, but these small young ones were unable to get over this log on the steep slope, and were crying for their mom. There was no way around the side.

Here one of the small ones finally gets over the log.

The other one gets close here, but doesn't make it. I got worried that Mom might abandon it, so I took the picture and left.