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As the name suggests, this trail is one of the more difficult adventures. Users sidehill down a steep and loose trail making any activity difficult at times. Several sharp switchbacks will challenge even the most experienced bikers, human or motor powered. The Rough Fork Trail connects Mottet Campground with the South Fork Walla Walla Trail.

  • Distance:

    Within 1.5 Hours

  • Difficulty Level:

    Adventurer, Mountaineer

  • Seasons:

    Summer, Fall

  • Elevation:

    3,400 - 5,180 feet

  • Pets:

    Yes

  • Status:

    Open

  • Reservations:

    N/A

  • ADA:

    No

  • Multi-Use:

    Yes

  • Motorized Vehicles :

    Yes

  • Your Public Lands

    Umatilla National Forest (Walla Walla Ranger District)

  • What To Do
    • Hiking/ Biking

      Rough Fork Trail (#3227) is a 3.2 mile mostly exposed steep and rocky trail with several switchbacks leading down to its junction with the South Fork Walla Walla Trail (#3225). Consider downloading the Motor Vehicle Use Map. This part of the forest is reflected on Map 15. 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

    Please do not solely rely on Google Maps as their route might not always reflect what is maintained. The Rough Fork Trailhead is accessed off NF-6403 (Old Skyline Trail) above Jubilee Lake. To get there, take HWY 11 south through Milton-Freewater, OR. Travel another five miles and turn left on Winn Road. Follow this little backroad for two miles and then turn left to connect with HWY 204. Drive roughly 19 miles and turn left onto Skyline Road/ NF-64 (just past Langdon Lake). Follow NF-64 for 14 miles then turn left on NF-6419. Drive another 1.5 miles and turn left onto NF-6403, a sign for both Rough Fork Trail and Mottet Campground is posted. After another 1.5 miles you will find the Rough Fork Trail sign and turn right, the parking area is just ahead.

  • When To Go

    You will have to wait for mother nature for this trail to open due to its elevation. You may be able to gain access from the bottom in the spring if you enter using the South Fork Walla Walla Trail (#3225). Most likely wait until summer to gain access from the upper trailhead. A good sign the trail is clear is the opening of Jubilee Lake. Summer usage is light, but fall it is heavily used by hunters.

  • What To Expect

    This trail begins its descent with a short stroll through dense forest cover and vegetation. The majority of this trail is exposed sidehill on steep and rocky ground. There are about a dozen sharp switchbacks to make as you quickly lose elevation making your way to the South Fork Walla Walla River at the canyon bottom. From the top, enjoy great views of the South Fork Walla Walla River drainage area. Once at the bottom, travel through old growth forest and dense vegetation as you connect with the South Fork Walla Walla Trail (#3225).

  • Fees

    None

  • Permits

    None

  • Regulations

    No camping allowed in the parking area. Motorized vehicles: Class 3 ATV (motorcycles) only. Must have current ORV registration (WA, ID, CA tags honored) and ATV safety card (motorcycles are a class III ATV). Safety cards are free online if over age 16 and those are good for life. Riders under 16 must take a hands on course. Full details at the Oregon Online ATV Safety Education Course website.

  • Amenities

    The Rough Fork Trailhead offers a large area for parking, one vault toilet, an unloading ramp for motorcycles, and a hitching rail for horses. Mottet Campground is located about 1/4 mile away and Jubilee Lake Campground is five miles away.

  • Wildlife Awareness

    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.

  • Field Notes

    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.

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