Perched near the summit of the Blue Mountains, Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area offers visitors an opportunity to camp and explore a popular pioneer stop over along the Oregon Trail. The park is nestled in an old-growth forest. Camp in the campground, or bring your horse and camp in the reservable horse camp (be aware there are limited horse trails actually in the park; most of the trail riding is on adjacent property). The horse camp is closed in winter. Picnic among towering trees or bring your group for overnight or daytime activities in our community building. For those that are not fully equipped for traditional camping, rent one of our cabins for a warm, dry and comfortable stay. We have both rustic 1-room cabins (sleep five on two full beds and one single), and Totem cabins Side A sleeps four on two bunkbeds. Side B sleeps three on a bunkbed (double on the bottom and a single on the top). Visit the Oregon Trail display in the park, take a stroll along the nature trail. Get your friends together and have a game at our full-size basketball court or partake in an evening program at our amphitheater (get the current schedule when you arrive at the campground). Bring your innertube for fun in the snow and enjoy a winter outing. Cabins are available year-round, but larger groups may want to rent the community building. Use Emigrant Springs as a base camp to explore nearby attractions such as the Blue Mountain Crossing Oregon Trail interpretive park or the Pendleton Woolen Mills. Experience the life of Chinese emigrants of the 1800s in the Pendleton underground tours. Other destinations within easy driving distance of the park include the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center near Baker City, the Union County Museum in Union, the Baker County Museum in Baker City, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, the Pendleton Roundup and Lehman Hot Springs. Enjoy winter recreation at the Blue Mountain Crossing Nordic Ski park or bring your snowmobile and visit one of the many sno-parks which give you access to hundreds of miles of trails on two National Forests.

4 day hikes are possible from this entrance into the North Fork Umatilla Wilderness. I had a Friday to kill in Pendleton this fall. Searching for trails in the area came up with few options so I set out for Nine Mile Ridge 32 miles from Pendleton. Take Hwy 30 east out of town, follow the exit to Mission and set out across the Umatilla reservation. Signage is sparse. Don't miss the left turn off Mission Rd to Cayuse Rd (follow signs to Bar m Ranch) unless you want to take the scenic drive up Emigrant Rd to the top of the bald hills and wonderful views of Pendleton and the Palouse. Follow Cayuse Rd which makes a right turn at mile 15 across the tracks. Pavement ends at mile 27 by the ranch. Another 3 miles takes you into the Umatilla National Forest along the Umatilla River. 1/2 mile up the road is the first trailhead to North Fork Umatilla River Trail 3083 that follows the North Fork canyon east. Another 1/2 mile past the Forks campground bearing left is the second trailhead that accesses the Nine Mile Ridge Trail 3072 and the Buck Creek Trail 3073. 50 yards up the trail is a small clearing. I think the 3072 trail takes off from here, but it was overgrown and steep, so I stayed on the Buck Creek Trail for 3 miles. It was a gradual climb on a north slope through mixed conifer forest. The slope is steep and the trail 50-100 feet above the creek which you rarely see, but hear bubbling happily below. The narrow trail is in and out of the sun. I would rate it easy in terms of elevation gain and moderate in terms of irregular footing. It is clear of logs. There is not much to recommend about the first 3 miles of the trail other than being remote, peaceful and a good chance to be alone with your thoughts. It was a good day hike from Pendleton. The Nine Mile Ridge hike map looked steep and what I saw of the ridge was very exposed,

hiking
Saturday, September 17, 2016

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Great trail...