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U.S. Forest Service

Northern Region Viewing Area


Arnica rydbergii. Arnica rydbergii. Photo source: Mike Hays, U.S. Forest Service.

dogtooth violet. Dogtooth violet. Photo source: U.S. Forest Service.

wildflowers. Wildflowers. Photo source: Mike Hays, U.S. Forest Service.

Rocky Mountain iris. Rocky Mountain iris. Photo source: U.S. Forest Service.

trillium. Trillium. Photo source: U.S. Forest Service.

Seven Devils Mountains, Heaven's Gate

Forest: Nez Perce National Forest

District: Hells Canyon National Recreation Area

Description: The rocky alpine peaks of the Seven Devils climb skyward from the Snake River to over 9,400 feet and are often snow-capped in July. They provide excellent habitat for mountain goats, best viewed from July to September. Heavens Gate lookout offers an incredible view of portions of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Several hiking trails lead to over 90 alpine lakes.

Viewing Information: The open subalpine forests and high elevation grasslands offer spectacular wildflower blooms in July with lupine, phlox, penstemon, buckwheat, stonecrop, Indian paintbrush and phacelia to name a few. On the drive up, watch for elk, white-tailed deer, and ruffed and blue grouse. Also, watch for golden eagle, yellow-bellied marmot, Columbian ground squirrel, pika, and the tracks of black bear and coyote.

Safety First: Always be prepared for inclement weather. Bring appropriate clothing and footwear. Bring water on hikes.

Directions: From Riggins, Idaho, head south on US 95 for 0.75 miles. Turn right onto Forest Road 517 and go 17 miles to the Seven Devils Campground (just west of Windy Saddle Campground). From the parking lot, scan the cliffs for mountain goats. Heaven’s Gate Lookout is 1.25 miles further down road 517. The open slopes in the vicinity of Windy Saddle to Heaven’s Gate as well as the trail to the lookout support the best wildflower viewing. Maps of the area are available at the USFS office, which is well signed from the highway to the south of Riggins.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service: Administered by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in Oregon (Pacific Northwest Region). Site located in Idaho on the Nez Perce National Forest within the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, (202) 628-3916.

Closest Town: Riggins, Idaho.