Gospel Hump Wilderness

The primary attribute that comes to mind when I hear wilderness is a roadless area.  This is definitely true though the boundaries can sometimes be drawn in such a way as to skew this notion.  Such is the case with the Gospel-Hump Wilderness in North-Central Idaho.  Forest Service Road 444 bisects the eastern part of this wilderness area.  Despite the roads presence, I feel it doesn’t detract much from the wilderness experience.  There are two entrances into this wilderness:  one from Elk River and the other from the east via FS 444.  The latter was the route I chose because this road is graded, though topping out around 8000′.  Though well maintained, the road has few switchbacks despite the tremendous climb it makes.  I would guess that it is at least a 20% grade for a few stretches.*

The trip was a quick overnight stay just off the road.  A friend from work, Ashish, came along  for the quick trip to do a little hiking that I was planning.  We simply chose two or three high points that we could from the road and headed towards them.  I don’t believe any hike was over a half-mile one-way.  Nevertheless it was nice to be in the mountains, drinking in the views.  We happened to find an excellent view of Moore’s Lake  not far from camp (probably five minutes).  The sunset appeared to be stultified by clouds but soft light was able to break through upon the distant hills.


Moore's Lake Sunset


The following morning I was planning on taking many abstract shots throughout the granite that was a few feet from camp.  For about an hour I was aimlessly wandering about the granite steps looking for some nice compositions.  Here are a couple that I particularly liked from that morning.


Wildflowers Among Granite


Granite Bricks


Our final hike was saved for the drive out.  Ever since my first (and only other) visit to this area I had wanted to climb up Gospel Hill, mostly for the exercise but also for some photo opportunities.  In the early morning light Ashish and I made the quick climb to the top.  Morning light was streaming down the mountainside to the east of us with Upper Gospel Lake in the shadows below.  Although a short trip, it was quite refreshing to be in the mountains and walk among the July snow in the high country of Idaho.


Gospel Light


*  Two trips this summer along Grizzly Ridge Road in Hells Canyon NRA (Oregon) have led to this guess.  That road has a posting of 16% and FS 444 seemed quite a bit steeper to me.


2 thoughts on “Gospel Hump Wilderness

  1. Pretty much every wilderness suffers some gerrymandering in its boundaries. But even with its cherry-stem roads, the Gospel-Hump is a pretty big chunk of protected country. Only in central Idaho can a 200,000-acre wilderness seem small, gerrymandering or no.

    Really like that first shot, Aaron! Nice soft light and mountains extending into hazy distance: great view of Idaho high country. As usual, I’ve only seen the Gospel-Hump from the bottom of the river canyon (how many times have I made that comment on your blog?). The flowers and bricks are both nice, but both seem a little magenta-shifted to me.

  2. Thanks for the feedback Jackson. I kept the warm cast in the two shots (flowers and granite bricks) just to keep it truer to the scene. The Gospel-Hump is very nice, but then again most anywhere in Idaho is very nice!

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