This hike can be done either direction, from Pittsburgh Landing at low elevation on the Snake River up to Windy Saddle trailhead in the Seven Devils, or vice versa, but the elevation change is significant- 6000 feet, so plan accordingly. Starting from Windy Saddle, the hike to the mouth of Sheep Creek on the Snake River can be done in a long day or can be broken into two days. The trail drops quickly from Windy Saddle into East Fork Sheep Creek, with several creek crossings in the first five miles. There is a place camp at the confluence of East and West Fork Sheep Creek, a decent site for several tents but beware of snags from an old burn.
Just beyond the confluence of East and West Fork Sheep Creek, the trail becomes harder to follow for a mile or so; bring a map and pay close attention in this section. The trail will cross Old Timer Creek and parallel Sheep Creek higher on the drainage slope for another few miles, then will cross a ridge and drop into Lightning Creek. The decent into this creek is some of the steepest of the hike. There is another place to camp where the trail crosses North Fork Lightning Creek; if weather is hot, this is a good option as the next four miles to the Snake River can be a hot section of trail to hike in the afternoon.
Where the trail meets the Snake River, there is a cabin and maintained area available for rent (Sheep Creek Historic Ranch – Hells Canyon Adventures). Otherwise, one can camp along the Snake River at the junction of the Sheep Creek trail and the Snake River trail on a flat, open bench above the Snake River. There is no potable water at the campsite- plan on filtering.
From here, one can hike the 16 miles out to Pittsburgh Landing and road access, or could contact a jet boat charter for a boat ride 18 miles upriver to Hells Canyon Dam or downriver to Pittsburgh Landing. Note: there is NOT an option to HIKE 18 miles upriver to Hells Canyon Dam unless one planned to hike cross country. The Snake River trail ends at Lamont Springs Campsite, several miles short of the dam. There are also loop opportunities to take the Bernard Creek or Little Granite trails back up into the Seven Devils and back to Windy Saddle but these trails have sections that have not been cleared and will require significant elevation gain.
Loop option notes: ITA cleared Bernard Creek to within a mile of McGaffee Cow Camp in April of 2021, and Dry Diggins Ridge trail from above to within a half mile of McGaffee in August 2022, but the section between requires some navigation and route-finding. McGaffee is a nice place to camp, with a spring nearby. Little Granite from the Snake River to Hibbs Cow Camp has not been cleared to date, but ITA cleared from Hibbs to the main Seven Devils Loop trail and back to the Windy Saddle trailhead (south side of the loop) in July 2022.