North Fork Umatilla Wilderness

Area Status: Open
North Fork Umatilla Wilderness

The North Fork Umatilla Wilderness, located 30 miles east of Pendleton, is the smallest wilderness in northeast Oregon. It encompasses only 20,299 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 sizeable 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, assuring a good workout for hikers and equestrians using the 27-mile trail system. The wild, unpredictable weather of the Blue Mountains also adds to the challenge anytime of the year. If you enjoy hunting and spotting wildlife, the North Fork Umatilla Wilderness supports a good wildlife population. Since the elevation is relatively low, the trail system opens up early in the season, providing opportunities for spring hiking and horseback-riding trips.


At a Glance

Open Season: March
Usage: Light-Medium
Busiest Season: mid- September thru December (hunting season)
Restrictions: Wilderness restrictions apply.
Closest Towns: Pendleton, OR - Walla Walla, WA
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Walla Walla Ranger District

General Information


Trailheads/Trails that access North Fork Umatilla Wilderness

Topo Maps

Andies Prairie, Bingham Springs, Blalock Mountain,Tollgate. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.

Buy maps online

Go to the National Forest Store.

Go to for online maps and other important Wilderness information.


River and Stream Fishing

Access from the lower trailhead is popular with fishermen.

Day Hiking


Horse Riding

Big Game Hunting

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Elevation : 
2000' - 6000'