Murphy Creek Trail #1672 - Wallowa Mountains, Minam, Oregon

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6.37 miles (10.25 km)

Total Elev. Gain:
3,716 ft. (1133 m)
Total Elev. Loss:
-385 ft. (-117 m)

Max Altitude:
6,447 ft. (1965 m)
Min Altitude:
3,115 ft. (949 m)
by Brian Sather — Posted Mon, Jul 10, 2017
Murph takes you on a bumble-some journey from the Minam River up to Mahogany Ridge and then Big Sheep Ridge. It follows Murphy Creek trying to stay to the left of it but fails a few times and you have to squander through the water and try finding the trail further up. At one point, it arrives in a small meadow that appeared to have had something going on in the past with a shelter or structure and I had a hard time finding the trail, which is back on the left again up the bank. It never strays too far from the creek until it decides to take Dunning Creek (or Patrick Creek?) more abruptly up Mahogany Ridge. At one point there is a trail split but I found an old sign that says Standley to keep you going left up the ridge. Right looked like it maybe went to a camping spot or something. From there the trail gets steep in the thick woods. The higher up you go, the better the trail gets. It really is a brutal bushwhack and tree hopping experience for the first several miles. Once you arrive on Mahogany ridge you're suddenly put on the barren south side of the ridge and find out why it is called Mahogany Ridge. The trail stays on this side as it travels through flowers on the way up to the intersection with the trail on Big Sheep Ridge. Near there, is where you can take a side trail to Hideaway Springs. Murphy Creek will flow pretty good throughout the year so there are some water opportunities before the spring. To get to this trail, you have to go up the Minam River Trail, which is a dramatic task, so see that guide. Because of this, the trail is rarely used or maintained. It doesn't seem to serve a great purpose as a trail right now and I can't think of any cool features that really stand out, except that my favorite tree is the Mountain Mahogany so that was a little treat after all the climbing. I'm not putting it on my list of trails to visit again.

 Trail disappears in field, stay left to find it. — 45.437850, -117.658340
 Hideaway Spring — 45.409680, -117.620770

One lonely sign halfway up the trail says "Standley"
Start of the Murphy Creek Trail off of the Minam River Trail
Finally getting up out of the trenches

A dry creek crossing up higher.
Some recent maintenance starts to be seen up higher.

The trail comes out of the woods here on Mahogany Ridge.
Nice view of Point Prominence from the ridge.
Mountain Mahoganies

Looking down in the Murphy Creek drainage.

Trail sign at the junction with Big Sheep Ridge Trail
Hideaway Spring is set up for some horses.
Hideaway Spring