North Fork Slate Creek Roadless Area

Little Slate Creek, Little Slate Creek North, North Fork Slate Creek, and John Day Click on the image to enlarge and zoom.

The 11,000 acres that make up North Fork Slate Creek are the northernmost lands of the disjointed Slate Creek drainage, containing the headwaters of McKenzie Creek—which drains into the Salmon River—and the North Fork of Slate Creek. Elevation ranges from 2,100 feet at Slate Creek, where it meets the forest boundary, due west to 6,480 feet at Dairy Mountain. Similar to the other portions of this drainage it is characterized by very steep side slopes and tributary draws with some flat benches to break up the inclines. The western and southern portions are sweeping grass slopes with sparse timber; the northern portion below Dairy Mountain is craggy rimrock with the remainder timbered hillsides. Elk, deer, and moose graze the precipitous country, accompanied underfoot by introduced turkeys and chukars, and the elusive pileated woodpecker. Broad-fruit mariposa, a delicate bloom of the lily family native to this area and the Palouse, often clings to the dry, rocky cliffs. Slate Creek is a vital stream for anadromous species including steelhead and rainbow trout, Chinook summer/fall salmon, and threatened bull trout.

N. Fork Slate Creek Roadless Area, FOC File Photo

Overall the combination of topography and vegetation moderately screen outside activities. A few miles of trail allow a surprising amount of cross-country travel, and the steep terrain provides a refuge for roaming deer and elk as it is generally too steep for hunting. Explorers seeking a challenge could find it in the river breaklands, ridge tops around the North Fork of Slate Creek, and scattered cliffs and bluffs. The region was important in early Euro-American Idaho history: in the fall of 1811, eleven members of the Wilson Price Hunt Expedition, led by Donald McKenzie, passed the mouth of what is now McKenzie Creek. The river route was also traversed by miners in the 1860s. Currently, off-road vehicles pose the greatest menace to the region’s natural processes and to key wildlife and fisheries habitat.

Other Roadless Areas

Clear Creek


Dixie Summit-Nut Hill

Eldorado Creek

Fish-Hungery Creek (North Lochsa Slope)

Gospel-Hump Additions

Grandmother Mountain

John Day

Kelly Creek (Great Burn)

Lick Point

Little Slate Creek

Little Slate Creek North

Lochsa Slope/Selway-Bitterroot Addition


Meadow Creek/Selway-Bitterroot Addition

Moose Mountain

North Fork Slate Creek

North Fork Spruce/Selway-Bitterroot Addition

O’Hara-Falls Creek

Pilot Knob (Silver Creek)

Pinchot Butte

Pot Mountain

Rackliff-Gedney/Selway-Bitterroot Addition

Selway-Bitterroot Additions

Siwash Creek

Sneakfoot Meadows/Selway-Bitterroot Addition

Upper North Fork

Weir Creek (Weir-Post Office)

Weitas Creek


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