Middle Point Ridge Trail
Following the North Fork of the Touchet River and nestled between Chase Mountain and Middle Point Ridge, the Middle Point Trailhead is a mere 17 miles from Dayton, WA and 48 miles from Walla Walla. The views are fantastic. Many folks might use this road in the winter on the way to Ski Bluewood, but the views in spring, summer, and fall are equally as pleasing. As the crow flies, the trailhead is almost the same latitude as Walla Walla. An excellent trail choice for folks interested in trekking a few miles as well as for those eager to spend a full day or more in the mountains.
- Your Public Lands
Umatilla National Forest (Walla Walla Ranger District)
- What To Do
- Hiking/ Biking/ Snowshoeing
The Middle Point Ridge Trail (#3116) is 5.9 miles one way and ends at Wildcat/ Cavalier Springs Trail (#3245), which continues 2.9 miles following the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness boundary around the south side of Ski Bluewood. That #3245 trail parallels NF-46/ Kendall Skyline Road and meets up with the Touchet Corral Trail (#3243), which is a 2.5 mile downhill hike back to the Touchet Corral Sno-Park. Along this trail is access to a few other trails. The first jump off point is a left branch (east heading) onto the Meadow Creek Trail (#3213) that leads you near the Godman Campground/Trailhead. Further along Middle Point Ridge Trail is a right fork (west heading) to the Touchet Middle Tie Trail (#3240) that takes you back to North Touchet Road and the Touchet Corral Sno-Park.
Consider downloading the Motor Vehicle Use Map. This part of the forest is reflected on Map 16. The Avenza Map app is also quite helpful as users can upload three maps (or unlimited with a subscription) within the app to use offline. It can track your location offline and overlay your location on the map. Most of the intersections along the trail are not clearly marked, which is why this tool is so helpful.
How To Get There
From Walla Walla take HWY 12 east to Dayton, WA. You will drive almost all the way through the sweet, small town of Dayton, which is a great place to pick up a few supplies, grab a bite, or enjoy its history. Take a right on South 4th Street/ North Touchet Road. The trailhead is approximately 17 miles down North Touchet Road on the left. There is a sign notifying users of the trailhead in advance of the turn off to the small parking lot.
Since most of the drive from Walla Walla is on HWY 12 and then continues for 17 miles on paved, well-traveled road, this trail is accessible for all vehicles, which does not necessitate four wheel drive unless weather conditions warrant. We've also seen a motorcycle or two parked in the lot, so this is a great trail to combine an afternoon ride with sunset hike.
When To Go
This trail is truly a candidate for year-round hiking; however, if it is really hot, hiking on the west-facing slope fairly exposed might at least require lots of water and extra sunscreen. Conversely, the snow level will definitely determine access in the winter, but convert your hiking skills to snowshoeing skills and enjoy the trail in an entirely new way. Take advantage of the wildflowers in the spring, and the vine maple in the fall is especially spectacular. Given how close it is to town, visitors and locals alike can take advantage of this spot multiple times a year.
What To Expect
The trail gains elevation quickly but is definitely doable. We wouldn't recommend for small children as the trail is narrow and on a steep hillside, so there isn't much room for error. Consider using the first mile as a young family or inexperienced hiker where there are many places to explore the river and stay under canopy. If utilizing the trail on two wheels, know your limits. This is not a trail for a beginner. Also, the trail is not maintained in the winter but folks do snowshoe.
None required to park or utilize the trail.
None other than being good stewards of the land!
There is a vault toilet at the trailhead and a small parking lot directly off of North Touchet Road.
We are all so fortunate to recreate in the Blue Mountains. So many opportunities exist to play outside whether in a national forest, wilderness area, on a Wild and Scenic River, and more! With these opportunities comes great responsibility to appreciate that we are mere visitors and should all take pride in being good stewards of the wild. Many animals call these protected places home, including moose, elk, bear, cougar, bobcat, and snakes to name a few. Take precautions to respect their home and understand the appropriate response should an encounter occur. Additionally, many plant species thrive in the Blue Mountains, so staying on trail is always good practice. Carry First Aid supplies to better respond to accidents or encounters, and always let others know where the day's adventure is taking you.
Navigation: Consider downloading the Avenza Map app. This app allows users to upload three maps (or unlimited with a subscription) to use offline. It can track your location offline and overlay GPS data from the phone onto the map. The vehicle use maps (for trails allowing motorized vehicles) are the easiest to use. Otherwise, Geo Tracker offers similar tracking capabilities and additional details about your adventure. If no service, Geo Tracker will at least show your location. The Blue Mountains and surrounding area offer a remote recreating experience, and knowing your location is paramount to staying safe. Always make sure to bring paper maps. Tell others where your adventure is taking you and when you expect to return.
Difficulty Level: Here is what we are thinking when we assign a difficulty level: Day Tripper--You don't have much experience in the area but want to get outside! Great for families of all ages. Adventurer--You know your way around the Blue Mountains and love a leisurely day outdoors. Mountaineer--You are ready for a challenge. Wild places excite you and sweat is the goal. Small children beware. Keep in mind some activities may apply to multiple difficulty levels based on usage.
Pets: In general, pets are allowed on a leash and under control throughout jurisdictions. The only restrictions we have encountered are around swimming areas. As a best practice, be mindful of riparian habitat in general. You never know where a precious spawning area might be located. Pack it in and pack it out applies to your furry friend as well.