Special Places

Wilderness areas

North Fork John Day WildernessThree 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!

Wild and Scenic Rivers

North Fork John Day RiverEstablished 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.  

Highlighted Areas

Mountain Road #40

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.


Whitman Route Interpretive Site

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.


North Fork John Day River Trail #3022

This trail begins at North Fork John Day Trailhead within the Campground. This 22.9 mile trail travels east along along the Wild and Scenic North Fork John Day River within North Fork John Day Wilderness and ends at Oriental Creek Trailhead on Forest Service Road 5506.

This trail is popular for its fishing, hunting, hiking, and pack and saddle recreation opportunities.


Paradise Trail #3023

This 3.4 mile trail begins within North Fork John Day Wilderness at Forks Trail #3019 about a mile south of the #3019 Trail junction with Moon Meadow Trail #3042. It ends at North Fork John Day River Trail #3022 along the Wild and Scenic North Fork John Day River. 

Silver Butte US Forest Service Topo Map


Panjab Campground

Panjab Campground offers opportunities for hunting, hiking, swimming and bicycling.  Just beyond the campground is the trailhead for Rattlesnake Trail #3129 that accesses Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. This campground is located along Tucannon Springs River; which is a favorite area for mushrooming, hiking, and just relaxing listening to nature. . No camping with stock at Panjab Campground. Stock facilities are available 3 miles up Forest Service Road 4713 at Panjab Trailhead. Please Leave-No-Trace.


Ray Ridge Viewpoint

This viewpoint offers an unobstructed view of 95% of the Wenaha -Tucannon Wilderness.


Jelly Springs Trail #3110

This trail begins on Diamond Peak off Mt. Misery Trail #3113, and ends at Tucannon River. It descends from Diamond Peak to the Tucannon River. The trail is well maintained, but is characterized by an 8% grade. The trail travels through a dense timber stand.


Blue Mountain Scenic Byway

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

See also: Blue Mountain Scenic Byway Points of Interest


Table Rock Lookout

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).


Vinegar Hill/Indian Rock Scenic Area

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.


Stahl Canyon Overlook

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.


North Fork John Day Campground

This campground sits along the Wild and Scenic North Fork John Day River at the junction of the Blue Mountain and Elkhorn Scenic Byways.  It features 20 campsites, 3 accessible toilet facilities, and stock handling facilities. There is no potable water or garbage service, so please pack your garbage home. 

This campground serves as the eastern access point to North Fork John Day Wilderness via North Fork John Day River Trail #3022. The area offers hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, sight-seeing, and photography opportunities. In spring and fall you can see the salmon spawning.  Special state fishing regulations apply.

If you like to drive, you can pick up the Ukiah-Granite Roadside Geology tour brochure from the camp hosts or the Ranger District.  


Clearwater Big House Cabin

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.

History

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.


Olive Lake Campground

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.


Fremont Power House Interpretive Site

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.




https://www.fs.usda.gov/attmain/umatilla/specialplaces