Some National Forest roads are worth mentioning because the touring experience is guaranteed to be memorable. Such is the case with the Nez Perce National Forest Road that rapidly climbs all the way up to the Seven Devils Mountains in the Hells Canyon Wilderness. The Hells Canyon National Recreation Area is most famous for Snake River rafting ventures through the deepest gorge in North America, while relatively few mainstream visitors head for the backcountry wilderness on the Idaho side of the line. Part of this is due to the rugged nature of these mountains, which can be intimidating to the uninitiated, but the long winding Seven Devils Road actually is a lot smoother than the name would suggest. In fact, a passenger car with higher than average ground clearance can make it all the way up top to the campground, which is a great spot for setting up a basecamp!
To go any further from the campground into the Hells Canyon Seven Devils Wilderness, a high ground clearance 4x4 is the best choice. The narrow dirt roads wind their way through these mountains to hiking trailheads and scenic overlooks, which can all be accessed with a mountain bike. The Seven Devils Wilderness definitely is a hiking and mountain biking paradise, while horseback riders will enjoy the adventures too.
Just because the name is Seven Devils Road and it goes to Hells Canyon does not mean that the journey getting there will be an unpleasant bumpy ride experience! Seven Devils Road first goes through an agricultural area in the canyons before heading uphill and plenty of wildlife can be seen in this area early in the morning. The paved road transitions to a well maintained dirt road that only gets a little bumpy in places. As the road enters the Nez Perce National Forest, several roadside dispersed camping areas can be seen that are mostly used by seasonal hunters. Soon the dirt road narrows as it snakes its way uphill and the mountainside forests get deeper. Fans of creepy looking trees will love this section of the road and there are a lot of unique sights to see, while catching a glimpses of elk and deer is easy to do while cruising slow.
As Seven Devils Road reaches the high elevations, the panoramic views of distant mountain tops will be breathtaking, so be prepared to make a few stops to take it all in. Finally the Seven Devils Mountains will come into view upon arrival at the campground, which is all the reason needed for setting up a basecamp. All this makes it easy to see why Seven Devils Road is worth mentioning and the journey to the top certainly will not disappoint!
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