Slough Creek Campground and Trailhead
A single restroom is situated at the turn-off and start of the road to Slough Creek Campground and Trailhead. A 2.0-mile dirt road leads you first to the Slough Creek Trailhead, and then at 2.5-miles, Slough Creek Campground. At places along this dirt road, you will often see crowds of people with their binoculars and spotting scopes fixed on the western slopes of the valley as wolves have made this their home for several years. Slough Creek, in this valley and in its upper meadows, is known for excellent fishing.
Slough Creek Campground (elevation 6,250 ft/1095 m): This first-come, first-served, secluded backcountry campground is located at the northern end of the valley where Buffalo Creek flows into Slough Creek and is nestled between beautiful mountains for an awe-inspiring setting to camp and enjoy an area rich with wildlife. It is not uncommon to hear the howling of wolves at night. There are 16 campsites, each with a table, a bear-proof food storage box (48 x 22 x 22 inches), and a campfire circle with grate. Three single restrooms are dispersed throughout the campground and a water spigot is available to all. There are large trash dumpsters and recycle canisters in the center of the campground. The campsites on the north side of the campground are in an open meadow, and those on the southwest side of the campground are more secluded, nestled among trees right next to the creek. This location offers a wonderful view of the stars at night. No generators are allowed at this campground.
Slough Creek Trailhead: This well-defined trail begins at the northern end of a large parking area that is often filled with stock trailers carrying pack horses that will also travel this path. Its total length is 20 miles (32 km), but most access this trail for the first approximately 4-6 miles as Slough Creek flows through meadows and is a favorite trail for fly fishermen seeking a chance at native cutthroat in this legendary trout stream. The path leads you through beautiful landscapes with wide-open sagebrush covered meadows and the peaks of Cutoff and Sugarloaf mountains providing a fitting backdrop to the vast expanse of the meadows.
From the trailhead, you begin a 400-foot steady upward climb over the first mile, then topping a small hill and dropping nearly half the distance climbed to enter the “First Meadow” at 2 miles and the beginning of the upper meadows of Slough Creek. (At the 1.7-mile mark, you meet the Buffalo Fork Trail which heads north and at the 1.8-mile mark the trail passes Sough Creek Patrol Cabin) In the first meadow, the river moves slow and fishing can be a challenge. This area can be wet in the spring. Bison, bear, and moose are often spotted in these rich Slough Creek meadows. Leaving the first meadow, the trail slowly gains in elevation over the next mile and then for the next 1.5 miles Slough Creek is often hidden from view but is easily accessible with a short hike for fishing.
At 4.3 miles into the hike, the first backcountry campsite is accessed with additional campsites available as the trail continues northward to the northern border of the park and the Elk Tongue Patrol Cabin at a little over the 7-mile mark. The upper meadows of Slough Creek offer the adventurer spectacular fishing and incredible scenery; worth the hike if you enjoy either of these.