- Your Public Lands
Umatilla National Forest (Walla Walla District), Sno-Park Program Administered by Washington State Parks
- What To Do
- Cross Country Skiing/ Snowshoeing
With roughly 56 miles of groomed trails accessible via the Touchet Corral Sno-Park, there are a variety of ways to enjoy the forest in the winter. Touchet Middle Tie Trail (#3240) and Touchet Corral Trail (#3243) both begin here and end at different sections of Wilcat/Cavalier Springs Trail (#3245) which parallels NF-46/Kendall Skyline Road. If out for a cross country skiing adventure, use the Touchet Corral Trail. It is maintained for snowmobiling, so it is wide and groomed. If snowshoeing, the Touchet Tie Trail will keep you away from snowmobile traffic; however, it is a steep and narrow trail. A suggested destination would be to make your way to the Cavalier Springs overlook for a spectacular view. To get there, go to the end of Wildcat/Cavalier Springs Trail and continue on Middle Point Ridge Trail (#3116) for less than a mile to arrive at this scenic butte. Once the snow melts, put on your hiking shoes and enjoy a completely different look at the forest.
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
Please do not solely rely on Google Maps as their route might not always reflect what is maintained. From Walla Walla, take HWY 12 east to Dayton. Travel through the town of Dayton, Washington (or stop and take advantage of a local bakery or two). Take a right South 4th Street/N Touchet Road and follow for 20 miles. The Touchet Corral Sno-Park is the parking area on right. Google tends to show the Sno-Park on the left side of the road, which is incorrect.
- When To Go
Winter comes in many forms around here, and it arrives when you least expect it. A typical season of winter fun begins in November and can last as long as April. This particular spot in the Blue Mountains tends to receive the most snow, making it possible to recreate in the snow close to half the year.
- What To Expect
The Touchet Middle Tie Trail offers a more remote experience compared with the designated Horseshoe Prairie Nordic Ski Area near Tollgate, Oregon. If there is fresh snow, likely you will make your own trail. The only signage for this trail as of now is a wooden sign that states "steep and narrow trial" nailed to a tree. Definitely tell others where you are going and/or enjoy the trail with friends. If headed for the Touchet Corral Trail and bringing your dog, remember that you are sharing the trail with snowmobiles.
No fees in addition to the Washington Sno-Park Permit.
Washington Sno-Park Permits is required to utilize the parking area and recreate. These permits are available for purchase online at the Washington State Parks website or visit your local Forest Service office.
None other than being good stewards of the land!
There is one vault toilet located at the sno-park (parking lot).
- 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.