Blue Mountains

Birdtrack Springs Nature Trail

Birdtrack Springs is a short gravel and flat hiking trail that visits a marsh and meanders along the Grande Ronde River. It is a mellow excursion good for all ages that includes plenty of park benches. If all of the trails are walked, it totals 2 miles. The entrance is directly across the highway from Birdtrack Springs Campground, a overnight fee camping area. There is designated picnic area but Redbridge State Park isn't too far up the road.

Chico Trail 1658

This is a rough trail that drops through 2 canyons and gains a ridge on the other side. It might be okay for a strenuous trail run, but probably better off as a hike or mule ride. You can drive to both ends of the trail, so it would work as a good traverse or for use in accessing or leaving the Davis Creek or Swamp Creek trails. The west ends of the trail is well established with a good trailhead just off of Highway 3. The east end is not well traveled at all and difficult to follow in the last 1/4 mile. The trailhead is difficult to find too. Trail Notes <ul> <li>0.0 mi. From the Chico Trailhead go through the gate and head down the trail.</li> <li>1.1 Arrive at Davis Creek. Cross the creek and start up the trail that heads up the hill abruptly (avoid going on the more well established cow trail along the fence).</li> <li>1.8 Top out the ridge and cross a jeep road and head over the other side. You should be able to see the Chico Trail zig zagging up the ridge on the opposite side of the canyon.</li> <li>3.2 Arrive at Swamp Creek. Ford the creek and head south through the meadow and then head up the hill to the left of the cabin. The trail can be difficult to find in this area. There are some trail signs by a gate, where you will head up the mountain and find the more established trail.</li> <li>4.5 The trail begins disappearing. You basically follow the south side of the ridge until you get to the top.</li> <li>4.7 The trail goes through and opening in the fence and comes to the road where an old trial sign exists.</li> </ul>

Driveway Saddle Trail

This is an abrupt, short and steep trail that takes you from Swamp Creek Trail to Miller Ridge. The bottom part does not follow the original trail, but has been cleared for an ATV to go up. You basically follow the creek bed, but about halfway up, there is a cairn which begins a series of switchbacks up to the top of the ridge where a trail meets a road. It is rough enough that only hiking and mules should probably try this trail. Trail Notes <ul> <li>0.0 The trail starts from the Swamp Creek Trail and is marked by some rocks on stumps. There isn't much of a well defined trail at the start, but more of evidence where an ATV has gone straight up the draw and, thankfully, cut its way through the brush. You can follow bottom of the draw. </li> <li>1.0 Look for a cair to mark the trail departing the draw to the left heading sharply up the mountain for several switchbacks before one long traverse up to the ridge.</li> </ul>

Elk Flat Trail #3241

This downhill trail goes to the Wenaha River in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. Many huckleberries are along the trail particularly during the flatish middle section. Upon arriving at the river, the are 3-4 established camping areas on a flat meadow. There are a couple places to ford the river, which is basically a stream crossing in late summer. The Wenaha River Trail is on the other side, as well as several trails coming into it from the north including: Round Butte #3235, Sawtooth Ridge #3256, Dexter Ridge #3101, and Slick Ear Creek #3104. Trailhead: One official camp spot with a fire-ring and picnic table is located at the trailhead and numerous primitive camping is nearby. A bathroom is also at the trailhead. Road 62 is the main access road from either Troy, Elgin, or Tollgate. There currently is no sign marking the junction with Road 290, with accesses the trailhead. It is just a short way down Road 290. Restrictions: NW Forest Pass required, Wilderness Regulations.

Hale Spring Trail

This is one of the few trails that connects the Grande Ronde Valley floor to the top ridge of the Blue Mountains. It is all climb, albeit fairly consistent and not terribly steep. At the lower end it is rocky and grown in. The middle section has some switchbacks before arriving at the ridge, where it stays in the trees as it travels to the top. The section near the top is usually grown in but only for a few hundred feet. Despite the low traffic this trail gets, it stays in fairly good condition. The trail is accessed on Dial Lane in Summerville at the low end and Road 3120 (the road to Indian Rock) at the top. Both trail entries are unmarked.

Lookingglass Creek Trail

This is a cool trail that you have never been on...and never heard of. It side-hills through some dense forest and makes its way down to Lookingglass Creek where it terminates. The Lookingglass plays host to salmon that run up all the way to the start of the creek at Langdon Lake where, if they make it that far, they encounter a cage preventing them from entering the lake. Right now it is only good for hiking, because you'll have to crawl over several downed trees. It needs some serious chainsaw work in the first quarter mile, and then there are some other downed trees periodically the rest of the way down. Several are big enough that getting horses around would be very difficult. The trail is on some maps but used to have no discernible starting point from the closed road it takes off from. It took me a while traipsing through the woods with GPS in hand before I finally found a spot where I was standing on a trail. Once found, it was easy to follow because the trail surface is in fairly good shape for not getting any use. It is used by numerous elk and bear, so at least it is getting some action. The trail itself is 1.5 miles and has a pretty consistent decline to it that will make it good for the whole family. The route here shows it as a hike from the Spout Springs Ski Area Parking because the real trail start is on a closed dirt road so you'll have to hike down about a half mile to the trail or ride a bike there. Now there is a small cairn marking the entrance. Make it bigger when you visit this trail so I'll know you were there. Also bring a chainsaw to really show me you were there. Trial Notes <ul> <li>0.0 mi. Park at the north end of the parking area for Spout Springs Ski Area and start walking a few feet down the highway to find the closed road immediately on the right.</li> <li>0.2 as you are heading downhill, the road splits. Stay right. </li> <li>0.7 Look for the cairn on the right of the road for the trail start. It is just before the road levels out a bit.</li> <li>0.9 Perennial creek crossing</li> </ul>

Shimmiehorn Trail

There is a relic of a trail left off of The Shimmiehorn, that may be worth hiking. A fragment of the trail is provided here for documentation only, as the trail was in difficult shape and I did not try hiking the whole trail because I was looking for a mountain bike trail. It is supposed to go down to South Fork Campground on the Umatilla. The trail should be hikeable along the ridge but I'm not sure what becomes of it when it gets into the trees and drops down to the campground. Sometime I'll check the bottom of it. With some trailwork, this could be an interesting trail. The top is accessible by vehicle on a fairly decent gravel road that stays on top of the ridge down The Shimmiehorn. As you get near the end of the road, you hike north on the ridge starting down a jeep road and then look for the trail just off the west of the ridge. An ATV trail stays on the very top of the ridge for a bit with the other trail paralleling it. There are no distinctive markings for the start of the trail. Take FS 3128 then a right onto 3130 to get to the trailhead.