North Fork Umatilla Wilderness

Located in the Umatilla National Forest in Oregon.

The North Fork Umatilla Wilderness, located 30 miles east of Pendleton, is the smallest wilderness in northeast Oregon. It encompasses only 20,144 acres in Umatilla and Union counties. But this little wilderness feels much bigger for those who take the time to trek into the heart of the area and fully experience its variety of terrain and vegetation. Visitors find the area peaceful, yet challenging and enjoyable from early spring through late fall. Hunting, hiking and equestrian use are important activities occurring in the wilderness.

Added to the Wilderness Preservation system on June 26, 1984, the North Fork Umatilla Wilderness is relatively new. One of the major driving forces behind this wilderness designation was the production of high-quality water from the North Fork Umatilla River.

The North Fork Umatilla River supports sizable runs of anadromous fish, which makes this area a popular spot for anglers. There are also several streams within the wilderness that contain native trout and a few streams support spawning steelhead.

The wilderness is characterized by terrain that varies from gentle, sloping hills to extremely steep, timbered canyons. The elevation in the area ranges from 2,000 to 6,000 feet, ensuring a good workout for hikers and equestrians using the 27-mile trail system. The wild, unpredictable weather of the Blue Mountains can also add to the challenge any time of the year.

If you enjoy hunting and spotting wildlife, the North Fork Umatilla Wilderness supports a good wildlife population. Wildlife found in the wilderness includes elk and deer in addition to blue and ruffed grouse. Since the elevation is relatively low, the trail system opens up early in the season, providing opportunities for spring hiking and horseback riding trips.

For further information contact: The Umatilla National Forest

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 13 Sep 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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