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Slick Ear

Eastern Washington > Palouse and Blue Mountains
46.0153, -117.7869 Map & Directions
4.7 miles, one-way
Elevation Gain
2,540 feet
Highest Point
5,189 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Expansive views from the top of the Slick Ear trail. Photo by Kyle Pomraning. Full-size image
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Delve deep into the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness via the shortest access to the upper Wenaha River from the Washington side. Continue reading

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Hiking Slick Ear

The little used Slick Ear Trail begins at the end of a long spur road that probes for miles into the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness enabling access to this beautiful corner of the state. Begin by hiking downhill through forest lightly scorched by the 2016 Grizzly Bear Complex fire.

The trail quickly makes its way out onto a ridge line, passes into Oregon, and at 1.2 miles emerges onto an excellent open vista with views to the Wenaha River below. This makes a great turn-around point for those looking for a short, scenic walk. 

After the viewpoint, the trail switchbacks into the forest and immediately begins dropping in elevation. Take care as the route is loose and rocky in this section and your knees will need to carry you 2,540 vertical feet down to reach the river at 4.7 miles.

The remainder of the hike is entirely in forest that can be a nice respite on hot days. In its last two miles you'll cross back and forth over Slick Ear Creek, which may not be passable with dry feet during spring runoff. As you approach the river you'll encounter a junction with the Wenaha River Trail. Take a left to head downstream toward the Grizzly Bear Ridge junction, or a hang a right to head upstream toward Wenaha Forks. Relax and enjoy the cool water before returning uphill to the trailhead.

WTA Pro Tip: Slick Ear is best enjoyed as part of a larger backpacking loop with Grizzly Bear Ridge, Sawtooth Ridge, Dexter Ridge, or farther afield.

Hike Description Written by
Kyle Pomraning, WTA Correspondent

Slick Ear

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.0153, -117.7869 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Dayton, head southeast for 21 miles on North Touchet River Road (becomes FR 64) following signs for Bluewood Ski Area. Stay right at the ski area gate and drive uphill 2.8 miles. Take a left onto Kendall Skyline Road (FR 46) and go 5 miles to a right on FR 300. Follow FR 300 4.8 miles to a fork and stay right to the Slick Ear trailhead at the end of the road in 1.5 miles. The trailhead is a dirt turnaround at the end of the road with room for perhaps 2 cars and has no facilities. Please be respectful of the cabins near the trailhead.

More Hike Details


Eastern Washington > Palouse and Blue Mountains

Slick Ear (#3104)

Umatilla National Forest, Pomeroy Ranger District

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Slick Ear

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