Fairy-tale roaming! For day hiking, roam and turn around when you feel like it — but you likely just want to keep hiking! This trail, part of the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail, offers miles of ridge-wandering, wildflower displays, and broad vistas.
From the Thirteenmile trailhead on the San Poil River, the trail climbs moderately for about a half mile before reaching a nice, easy traverse above the river with peek-a-boo glimpses of the San Poil River below.
Soon, you enter a parkland just below the ridgeline, and the trail stays on a gently rolling parkland topography for miles. Here are wide-open views, flowers that thrive in both lithosoil and rich grassland, lovely ponderosas, and wildlife, including rattlensnakes.
Every turn of the well-maintained trail provides a different, spectacular, far-off view and deep canyons. Watch for rattlesnakes near the water crossings and low spots. See occasional burned snags from the frequent spring thunderstorms.
Along your hike, stop and rest, enjoying the rocky outcroppings and admiring the views or the flower show. Much of the trail is located atop an old stock driveway, and you can still see some of the old signs posted. A good turn around for a day hike is a road that the trail crosses about 4 miles in.
This can be an easy overnighter too – there are plenty of places to camp on the hills and ridges all along this trail, from 2 miles to 16 miles. The trail exits at Hall Mountain Road west of Sherman Pass and would be a great car-to-car thru-hike. Water is available sporadically, and if you go later in the summer, bring your own.
Access Note: It's possible to get onto the Thirteenmile trail three different ways! This description uses the Thirteenmile Trailhead, but it's also possible to access the trail from the Bear Pot trailhead, as well as from the Barnaby Buttes trailhead.