Umatilla National Forest

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About Umatilla National Forest

From the Umatilla word meaning “water rippling over sand”, you’ll find much much more of that lovely imagery here among 1.4 million acres of outdoor wonderland. Sharing part of its territory between Oregon and Washington, the forest includes over 190,000 acres of old-growth forest excellent for camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing and rafting. Oh and did we mention the wildlife viewing?! Wowza. There are rocky mountain elk, bighorn sheep, Shira’s moose, mountain goat, whitetail deer, grey wolf, cougar, coyote, badger, turkey, grouse, chinook and coho salmon and many varieties of trout such as rainbow and steelhead. With so much going on, it can be a bit overwheleming, so make sure to check out National Forest Website or give a quick call to the ranger’s station at (541) 278-3716 before leaving for your wilderness excursion.To avoid unwanted surprises due to weather and other factors, it might also be helpful to look into any campground or road closures. For additional information on navigation, check out the park maps. Lastly, make sure to come prepared with all necessary passes and permits!

Campgrounds in Umatilla

Umatilla Forks Campground

1. Umatilla Forks Campground

Located where the South and North Forks of the Umatilla River meet, the Umatilla Forks Campground is a popular spot for fishing. You’ll have easy...

5 Saves
Panjab Campground

2. Panjab Campground

Panjab is just barely a campground with just three tent-only sites, but it’s a great spot for those three groups of campers. Flowing nearby is the...

3 Saves
Godman Campground/Trailhead

3. Godman Campground/Trailhead

Ever explored the Wenaha-Tuccanon Wilderness? It’s a whole world of adventure out there, and the Godman Campground is the perfect place to rest up...

2 Saves
Olive Lake Campground

4. Olive Lake Campground

Ah, a campground in a wooded forest on a lake. Does it get much better? There’s good reason why Olive Lake is such a popular campground. You can...

2 Saves
Tollbridge Campground

5. Tollbridge Campground

Just a few miles off 395, this campground offers two RV pads and five campsites at the confluence of Desolation Creek and the North Fork John Day...

1 Save
Frazier Campground and Trailhead

6. Frazier Campground and Trailhead

Frazier Campground is the launching point for the Winom-Frazier OHV trail system. OHV is code for romping through the woods and getting plastered...

1 Save
Target Meadows Campground

7. Target Meadows Campground

Target Meadows Campground is located on a picturesque meadow surrounded by magnificent trees of Engelmann spruce and Lodgepole pine. The area has a...

1 Save
Bear Wallow Creek Campground

8. Bear Wallow Creek Campground

Have you ever wanted to take a stroll through a pine forest and learn about the intricate life-cycle of the majestic Steelhead Salmon? No? Well, at...

1 Save
Gold Dredge Campground

9. Gold Dredge Campground

You would think that escaping the city to any old campground would provide a quiet, peaceful getaway. But between all the party campers and...

1 Save
Woodland Campground

10. Woodland Campground

Looking for a quiet, but convenient place to camp? Woodland Campground has fewer crowds than others in the area and only 6 campsites. The...

Woodward Campground

11. Woodward Campground

Woodward Campground is situated in a shady forest of Englemann spruce and other conifers. You’ll be nearby several creeks and a hiking trail, and...

Bull Prairie Lake Campground

12. Bull Prairie Lake Campground

Bull Prairie Lake is what you might call the archetypal American campground. Nestled within a beautiful wooded forest with nearby lake access,...

Pataha Campground

13. Pataha Campground

Whip out the fishing pole! Actually that’s probably not a good idea, what with hooks and all. Anyways, after you gently remove your fishing pole in...

Forest Boundary Campground

14. Forest Boundary Campground

So often national forest campgrounds are tucked away in a dense forest, which is beautiful in its own way, but sometimes you want something a...

Lane Creek Campground

15. Lane Creek Campground

Sometimes you just want to pack up a tent and a sleeping bag and go camping. That’s it. No fussing over fancy campfire dinners or pitching...

Ladybug Campground

16. Ladybug Campground

Long ago a colony of ladybugs settled here. They flourished, and over time their numbers grew until they covered every rock and leaf. Just kidding....

Alder Thicket Campground

17. Alder Thicket Campground

Keep your aura in check by zen-ing out at Alder Thicket Campground. This campground is first-come, first-served, so run don’t walk! Known to many...

Coalmine Hill Campground

18. Coalmine Hill Campground

Grab a sturdy hiking stick, load up on trail mix and head for the hills when you stay at Coalmine Hill Campground. ith trails leading up nearby...

Fairview Campground

19. Fairview Campground

Big game is the name of the game at this popular hunting campground. Every Fall, hunters flock to Fairview for a chance to nab the season’s prize...

Penland Lake Campground

20. Penland Lake Campground

Embrace your inner angler at Penland Lake, where Blue Gills and Rainbow Trout frolic. . . or whatever the swimming equivalent of frolicing is. Grab...

Big Creek Meadows Campground

21. Big Creek Meadows Campground

With only three sites, Big Creek Meadows Campground may be small, but it offers access to big time adventure. Gloriously muddy offroad trails await...

Divide Well Campground

22. Divide Well Campground

Feeling your inner Chris McCandless calling? Then step into the wild at the remote Divide Well Campground. Located in a meadow speckled with pines...

Drift Fence Campground

23. Drift Fence Campground

Drift Fence is mainly used as a hunting camp, but it’s not like you need to rock a full cammo getup to enjoy this free campground. You’re more than...

Driftwood Campground

24. Driftwood Campground

White. Water. Rafting. How awesome are those three words? Add campfire, s’mores, and stargazing and you’ve got yourself a perfect weekend at...

North Fork John Day Campground

25. North Fork John Day Campground

Word has it the North Fork John Day River is pretty wild and scenic, and this campground lies right along its banks. Not only can you hunt, fish,...

Oriental Campground

26. Oriental Campground

Whatever your preferred mode of transportation into the wilderness is, be it horseback, motorbike, or your own two legs, Oriental Campground is...

Big Springs Campground

27. Big Springs Campground

It’s mid-summer, the temperatures are soaring close to what it must feel like on the sun and even M&Ms are melting in your hands. You need an...

Welch Creek Campground and Trailhead

28. Welch Creek Campground and Trailhead

Welch Creek Campground is your next favorite or least favorite place ever. Popular for group outings, Site 6--which has room for up to 40 people...

Winom Campground & Trailhead

29. Winom Campground & Trailhead

Rocks can take many forms. Mountains, diamonds, Nic Cage films… and the Winom Campground and Trailhead. A stone’s throw away from Ukiah, there are...

Misery Spring Campground

30. Misery Spring Campground

Despite its name, Misery Spring is far from a miserable place. In fact, we’re pretty sure the panoramic views into the Wenaha-Tuccanon Wilderness...

Tucannon Campground

31. Tucannon Campground

If you’re tired of driving over bumpy, teeth-chattering dirt roads to get your campsite, then you’ll be glad you found Tucannon Campground. One of...

Teal Spring Campground

32. Teal Spring Campground

You know how sometimes people say, “you have to see it to believe it,” or “you just had to be there?” Well, the views at Teal Spring Campground are...

Wickiup Campground

33. Wickiup Campground

When you’re surrounded by three mountains referred to as the Triple Ridge Area, you better bet there’s going to be some killer hiking. Within five...

Jubilee Lake Campground

34. Jubilee Lake Campground

Welcome to the biggest and most happenin’ campground in all of Umatilla National Forest. Boasting a whopping 53 campsites, five flushing toilets,...

Midway Campground

35. Midway Campground

Grab a sherpa and an oxygen mask if you’re heading to Midway Campground, which lies at the high, high elevation of 6,000 feet. Okay, so maybe it’s...

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History of Umatilla National Forest

The Umatilla National Forest takes its name from the Umatilla Indian word meaning "water rippling over sand." Explorers Lewis and Clark passed through the area in 1805 on the Columbia River, and Marcus and Narcissa Whitmanpassed through in 1836 to establish a mission at Wailatpu near Walla Walla, Washington. Thousands of emigrants later followed the Oregon Trail west, and many remained in the Blue Mountain region. Discovery of gold in Oregon in 1851 led to the settlement of the North Fork John Day River area. More than $10 million in gold and silver were mined, and remnants of the era are still visible in the National Forest. Some claims are still being mined.
Umatilla was established on July 1, 1908 from part of Blue Mountains National Forest and all of Heppner National Forest. Wenaha National Forest was added on November 5, 1920.
The forest was the site of the School Fire, the largest fire in the contiguous United States of 2005.