White Bird Hill Summit
|White Bird Hill Summit|
|Elevation||4,245 ft (1,294 m)|
|Location||Idaho County, Idaho, U.S.|
White Bird Hill Summit is a mountain pass in north central Idaho on U.S. Highway 95. Located in Idaho County, it is midway between White Bird and Grangeville. The summit elevation of the highway is 4,245 feet (1,294 m) above sea level, through a substantial cut.
The modern multi-lane highway was completed 40 years ago, following ten years of construction which concluded with the opening of the bridge at the base over White Bird Creek in June 1975. The treeless northbound grade climbs 2,700 feet (820 m) in 7 miles (11 km), an average gradient of over 7%.
The original road was completed in 1921 and first paved in 1938, it rose slightly higher to 4,429 feet (1,350 m), due to the absence of a summit cut. Located to the east, the old road was twice the length and had a multitude of switchbacks ascending a treeless slope. On the present highway, the descent north of the summit is less dramatic as the grade drops less than 900 feet (270 m) in the forest with few curves onto the Camas Prairie towards Grangeville at 3,400 feet (1,040 m).
White Bird Hill Summit marks the divide between the Salmon River and the Camas Prairie. The Battle of White Bird Canyon of the Nez Perce War occurred in the valley south of the summit in 1877. Chief White Bird was a respected leader of the Nez Perce tribe.
- Roche, Kevin (June 17, 1975). "'Goat trail' symbol breaks as Whitebird route opens". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 12A.
- Visit Idaho.org - official state tourism site
- Idaho Transportation Dept. - roadcam - U.S. 95 - White Bird Hill - north of summit
- Idaho Transportation Dept. - White Bird Bridge - at base of grade - photo
- White Bird Bridge - construction photo gallery from early 1970s
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