North Fork Asotin Creek

Explore a riparian corridor and canyon, rich with wildlife—upland birds, large and small mammals, hibernating ladybugs—and wildflowers in late spring and early summer. This uncrowded trail is open most of the year and spends nearly equal time in the Asotin Wildlife Area and the Umatilla National Forest.

getting there

Drive SR-129 (Riverside Drive) to Asotin, 6.0 miles south of Clarkston. Just before the bridge crossing in Asotin, turn right onto Bauermeister Drive which becomes Asotin Creek Road, and drive 2.9 miles. Turn right onto County Road 1100, drive 11.2 miles, and bear right at the fork onto County Road 181 (South Fork Asotin Creek - Lick Creek Road). Drive 0.5 mile to the Asotin Wildlife Area gate. The gate is closed Dec 1 to Apr 1.  Drive (high-clearance vehicles are recommended) or walk 0.3 mi to trailhead (1,990 ft) on left at confluence of Lick Creek and North Fork Asotin Creek.

on the trail

Out-and Back: 20 miles round trip with 1,750 feet of elevation gain
Loop: 22.4-mile loop with 3, 049 feet of elevation gain
One-way: 14 miles one-way with 3, 049 feet of elevation gain

Hike along North Fork Asotin Creek through Asotin Wildlife Area on a wide trail for first four miles to the Umatilla National Forest boundary. The trail through the wildlife area is an old road bed, mostly gravel, maintained by user groups, and closed to motorcycles year-round.  Hike six miles from the national forest boundary on narrow trail to a possible turnaround point near the confluence with Middle Branch of the North Fork Asotin Creek. From here, return the way you came or hike switchbacks 1.5 miles up the North Pinkham Butte Trail continuing to follow the North Fork Asotin Creek. Complete the loop on the South Pinkham Butte Trail that descends to the North Fork Asotin Creek Trail.

One-way Option: For a 14-mile, one-way trek in either direction,  after the Lick Creek Road opens and snow melts (usually by June), leave a vehicle at the trailhead on Lick Creek Road near the junction of Forest Roads 41 and 4026, 11.5 miles from North Fork Asotin Creek Tailhead. No pass is required to park here.

Exploring nature

Enjoy a variety of wildlife wonders along this creek near the Snake River:  wintering deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and hibernating ladybugs. This area is an elk calving area, a quail recovery area, home to upland birds, and a spawning area for migrating steelhead. Expect to see signs of black bear and cougar in this prey-rich area. Watch out for rattlesnakes, ticks, blackberry vines, and poison ivy.

  • Visit in May and Jun for wildflowers.
  • Visit in spring for big mammals, wild turkeys, grouse in streamside vegetation, chukars calling from the basalt outcroppings, spiraling calls of canyon wrens, and more.
  • Look for wintering mammals in the wildlife area's valley and beyond, and hibernating ladybugs  (thousands of them!) in the meadow past the basalt cliffs near the confluence of the Middle Branch of the North Fork Asotin Creek.

bikepacking

21.6-mile loop with 2,824 feet of elevation gain, 4639 ft high point

Ride Lick Fork Road, South Pinkham Butte Trail, and North Fork Asotin Creek Trail counterclockwise.

Notes

  • The Pinkham Butte Trail was cleared and re-routed in 2020.
  • The trail on national forest land is also open to mountain bikes, horses, motorcycles (Jul 1 to Mar 30), and hunters (in the fall). The trail through the wildlife area is also open to bikes, horses, and hunters (in the fall).
  • Potential trail hazards include occasional rattlesnakes, ticks, blackberry vines, and poison ivy.

Land Manager

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Bikepacking, Day Hiking, Exploring Nature
  • Seasons: March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Length: 20.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,750 ft
  • 3,080 ft
  • Land Manager: Umatilla National Forest
    Pomeroy Ranger District (UNF)
  • Parking Permit Required: Discover Pass
  • Recommended Party Size: 6
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
Map
  • USGS Potter Hill
  • USGS Pinkham Butte
  • USFS Umatilla National Forest
  • USGS Harlow Ridge
Activities

Upcoming Activities

There are no activities scheduled at this location.

Trip Reports
Titles

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Asotin Creek—Pinkham Butte Loop
  • Lick Fork Rd—Pinkham Butte—Asotin Creek Loop
Resources
Name/Description
Mountain Bike Project

A description, data, and map for "Lick Fork Rd - Pinkham Butte - Asotin Creek Trail Loop" on mtbproject.com.

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