North Fork Umatilla River Trail
North Fork Umatilla Wilderness
Difficulty: Easy (great for kids)
Distance: 5.4 miles (round trip)
Elevation Gain: 350 feet
Best time to go: All year, unless there are winter storms
About this Hike
The North Fork Umatilla cuts through the wildlands of the Blue Mountains. The area appears arid and grassy but the trail along the North Fork is very lush and takes you through forests of Douglas fir. Look for cow parsnip, waterleaf and snowberry near the river. The trail continues 2.7 miles to Coyote Creek where you can turn around, or continue another 1.6 miles upstream toward Coyote Ridge.
History of the Area
The North Fork Umatilla Wilderness, 20,435 acres designated in 1984, offers a prime example of the Blue Mountains wild lands worthy of protection in this region. While there are several small Wilderness areas in the Blues, more roadless wild lands exist and are in need of protection. Oregon Wild has worked for years to ensure such special areas are considered and designated in forest management plans - an ongoing process.
1. From Pendleton, OR drive east on Interstate 84 for 7 miles and then take Exit 216.
2. Drive left for 2 miles until you reach the blinking 4-way stoplight, then take a right onto Mission Road.
3. Continue onto Cayuse Road/Country Road 931 for 1.7 miles and then turn left onto Cayuse Road, following signs for Bar M Ranch.
4. Drive 16 miles and then turn right onto Bingham Road/County Road 900, cross train tracks, and follow the road that will eventually turn into FS 32 for 9.5 miles.
5. Turn left into the Umatilla Forks day-use are, which is located across from the Umatilla Forks Campground. The trailhead is located near the end of the cul-de-sac.