Old Whitebird Grade Road

Some maps show that the upper half of Whitebird Grade Road is open. It’s not really, and it looks to be a gated-off gravel road now.

The lower half is a fantastic road, and I give it a two-thumbs up rating as a destination road.

This road has history behind it, as it’s a National Historic Area as it’s the site of the opening battle of the North Idaho Nez Perce War in the mid-1800s. It’s also the only North-South road to traverse Idaho. There’s no other way through this geologic formation, and even this area is so tough that the original grade road had enough curves to form 37 complete circles if pieced together.

View down the White Bird valley

Down at the bottom of the grade is the little hamlet of White Bird. I’m sure it’s a sleepy little town of 150 most of the time, but this Father’s Day weekend it was full of people attending the Whitebird Rodeo.

Also, watch the weather here on this grade. I discovered that it can be in the mid to low-60s in Grangeville and be in the lower 80s in Whitebird. Every time I got to the bottom I was peeling layers off, only to want them on again 2000 feet up at the top of the road 15-20 minutes later.

View from the top at nearly 3800 feet.

Just be careful of the road surface on Old Whitebird. The shoulder gravel is the exact same color as the pavement and can slide the back end out real fast.

  • Counties: Idaho
  • Length: 18 miles
  • Towns: Grangeville, White Bird

Google Map: