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Best Hikes Ever: Gospel Hump Loop Trail, ID

Find private valleys, mountain passes, and riverside campsites.
GOSPELHUMP_Werdinger-445x260Salmon River, Gospel Hump Wilderness (Leon Werdinger)

In Idaho, the holy trinity for backpackers is the Sawtooth Range, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and the Snake River, which is why the surprisingly peak-packed Gospel Hump Wilderness has remained off the radar. Dayhikers head to the Oregon Butte Trail, but for quality alone-time, plan for a week on the 68-mile Gospel Hump Loop Trail. You’ll track across sandy beaches along the Salmon River, and gain views from 8,000-foot buttes.

Starting along FR 444 outside of Grangeville, spend six to eight days lunching along the Salmon; walking through meadows dusted with a confetti of wildflowers, shimmering lakes, and ponderosa pines; and camping next to gushing Salmon River tributaries. Your companions will be only kayakers, moose, rattlesnakes, and black bear. September is primo.

Map USGS quad Gospel Hump Wilderness

Contact (208) 983-0696; fs.usda.gov/nezperce

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