- Your Public Lands
Umatilla National Forest (Walla Walla Ranger District)
- What To Do
- Hiking/ Biking
Table Springs/ Bear Creek Trail (#3223) totals 6.5 miles in length and begins atop Table Springs Ridge at the end of NF-6512 making its way down to connect with both the North Fork Walla Walla Trail (#3222) and 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. To begin at the upper trailhead on Table Springs Ridge, head east on Isaacs Avenue and continue onto Mill Creek Road. Travel on Mill Creek Road for 14 miles and you will come to a junction with Tiger Creek Road (sometimes referred to as Tiger Canyon Road or Tiger Ridge Road). Turn right onto Tiger Creek Road and cross a small bridge before the road begins its ascent. If you miss your turn, you will come to the gate for the Mill Creek Watershed. Once on Tiger Creek Road, take it 7.5 miles and you will come to a junction of NF-6511 and NF-6512 on your right. Take NF-6512 a little over 6 miles to its end and you will find the trail sign for Table Springs/ Bear Creek Trail. As a note, NF-6512 is a bumpy single lane forest road and may have some overgrown brush crowding the road.
You can also access this trail via the South Fork Walla Walla Trail (#3225) by using the lower trailhead near Harris Park. Follow the trail for a little over four miles (passed the cabins) and you will come to the unmarked junction with Table Springs/ Bear Creek Trail that goes uphill to your left.
When To Go
It may be possible to access the trail late spring depending on the snow level, but summer and fall will most likely be the best time to go. Most people will access this trail via the South Fork Walla Walla Trail (#3225). It is over four miles to gain access from the lower trailhead, so it is unlikely you will see many people on this trail. The upper trailhead is a mile high on a primitive forest road making summer and fall the safe seasons to venture to this part of the forest.
What To Expect
The upper section of this trail is on Table Springs Ridge, so enjoy panoramic view of the Blue Mountains. There are some rough, loose rock sections along the steep ridge, but after about a mile the trail enters back into the forest and makes its way down to Cub Saddle, which is the junction of the North Fork Walla Walla Trail (#3222) and the plane wreckage roughly 4 1/4 miles from the upper trailhead. The trail continues downhill from this point via switchbacks for 2 1/4 miles through dense forest until its end at the junction with the South Fork Walla Walla Trail (#3225). If starting from the lower trailhead near Harris Park, the plane wreckage is about a 6.5 mile hike (4.25 miles on the South Fork Walla Walla Trail & another 2.25 miles up Table Springs/ Bear Creek Trail).
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.
Pack in and pack out. No facilities in the immediate area.
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.