Three designated wilderness areas exist on the Umatilla National Forest: the Wenaha-Tucannon, the North Fork Umatilla, and the North Fork John Day. These areas are unique because they are unlike many wilderness areas. The Umatilla's wilderness radiates down into steep gorges and canyons from high plateaus instead of upward to high peaks and alpine lakes. This unusual terrain offers a unique wilderness experience!
Established by Congress from 1975 to 1988 these rivers were selected for their outstandingly remarkable values such as recreational, wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values.
The Umatilla National Forest has two designated wild and scenic rivers for your floating, fishing or hiking activities.
In the mid and late 1800s, the North Fork John Day drainage was bustling with gold and silver mining. In the rush, mining towns popped up here and there, only to be left to ruin as the mining dwindled. The nearby town of Granite is one such ghost town, with weathered buildings and the graves of prospectors and pioneers who came to seek their fortunes.
In 1903, local mines began to notice a decline in earnings and promoted construction of a cheaper power source in an effort to operate the mines more economically. As a result, the Fremont Powerhouse was constructed and began operation in 1908. Two dams were constructed at Olive Lake and water from the lake was piped through an eight-mile-long wood and steel pipeline to the powerhouse to generate the much needed electricity. A large portion of the building collapsed in 1992 under a heavy snow load. The Oregon National Guard, led by retired Command Sergeant Major Joe Batty, reconstructed the powerhouse and cabins from 1999 through 2005. The powerhouse contains pictures and artifacts from a bygone era. There is a local caretaker who gives tours when he is on site.
The prairie is located along the Blue Mountain Scenic Byway and offers spectacular displays of wildflowers in the spring. This site is minimally developed, with only a parking area. There are no informational signs or other facilities.
Nestled on the edge of a lake, high in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon, this popular campground is only 8 miles west of the historic Fremont Powerhouse and 12 miles west of the old mining town of Granite. The campground features 28 campsites and 7 accessible toilet facilities. Other features include a 2-mile hiking trail around the lake with nearby access to wilderness and scenic area trails, a boat ramp and 2 docks. There is no potable water or garbage service, so please pack your garbage home.
Besides beautiful scenery, the lake offers many opportunities for wildlife viewing--particularly a nesting pair of osprey that return annually. Activities in this area include fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, hunting, and photography. Within 20 miles are several historic sites.
This viewpoint offers an unobstructed view of 95% of the Wenaha -Tucannon Wilderness.
This road is closed to wheeled traffic from Dec. 1 thru March 31 each year. This is the time that it is a designated snow mobile trail and is groomed on a regular basis. This trail begins at the forest boundary on Mountain Road #40 and ends at Mount Misery. The groomed section along Mountain Road #40 is well maintained for snowmobiles, cross-country skiers, and other snow enthusiasts. The trail is characterized by a double groom width for easier passage, well-marked trail signs along the route, and generally follows along at a gentle incline from the Boundary to Mount Misery. The trail does narrow on the bypass behind Sunset Point.
Users will be introduced to an interpretive display on the Marcus and Narcissa Whitman route to their future mission located near Walla Walla, Washington. The overlook offers a panoramic view into Meacham Creek Canyon. This interpretive site is barrier free and nice for picnicking.
The Blue Mountain Scenic Byway, designated in 1989 under the National Scenic Byway Program, allows east-west travelers an alternative route between the Columbia River near Arlington and Baker City, Oregon. This scenic byway covers 130 miles of paved, two-lane road, crossing Morrow and Umatilla counties in northeast Oregon, with a long segment of the byway traversing the Umatilla National Forest.
Table Rock offers spectacular and unmatched views of the surrounding terrain. To the west is the Mill Creek Watershed, municipal water source for the City of Walla Walla, Washington, and eastward lies the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. On the narrow ridgeline separating these two rugged areas is the Kendall Skyline Road (Forest Service Road 64).
This scenic area is located on the southernmost portion of the Umatilla National Forest adjacent to the North Fork John Day Wilderness. It covers over 25,000 acres, including the highest elevation point on the Forest: Vinegar Hill at 8,100 feet. The major attraction of this area, aside from hunting opportunities, is the splendid 360-degree vista available from several high elevation viewpoints. Hiking in grassy, open alpine areas and subalpine trees provide a scenic and unusual contrast from the adjacent forested areas.
The overlook, located on Forest Service Road 21, offers a panoramic view of the canyon and beyond to the northwest. Big game use this canyon as a travelway, and raptors are often seen soaring overhead.
Clearwater Big House Cabin is neatly placed on a gently rolling slope in a clearing planted with a younger generation of Christmas trees in the area. The Cabin's location may give the feel of being a winter chalet hideaway, even during the warmest months of the summer. This two-story comfort cabin lives up to its name. Expansively, with 868 square feet of living space on the first floor, and another 336 square feet upstairs, there are three bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen.
Cabin lodging is furnished with propane heating and lighting, a table set, a propane cook stove, a propane refrigerator, along with queen, full, and twin beds. Renters will need to bring sleeping bags and/or bedding. Renters are also encouraged to bring their personal cooking and eating utensils for their stay. There is one nearby vault toilet that it is operational year- round.
At this time, there is no water at this site; therefore renters will need to bring a supply of water for drinking, cooking, and washing.
- Do call the Pomeroy Ranger District three business days before your arrival date to receive a combination for cabin access. Pomeroy Ranger District's phone number is (509) 843-1891 and we are open Monday through Friday, 7:45 AM to 4:30 PM.
- Availability: Clearwater Big House Cabin is available for rent year-round.
Clearwater Big House Cabin was once a ranger station and once a deep-rooted trapper cabin. In 1928 and 1929, Ranger Grover Blake built a three-room house out of scrap lumber donated by local stockmen and game department. In 1933, 200 Civilian Conservation Corps' men, whom were staying at the district, built the barn, warehouse, outhouse, and garage.