Naches Trail is a 12.26-mile-long trail from Western Washington over the Naches Pass into Eastern Washington and follows a wagon trail used by settlers in the mid-1800s. The trail is fairly easy for most 4x4 vehicles and does not require any special equipment. It rolls through deep dark forests up to high mountain meadows with beautiful views of surrounding valleys, canyons, and Mt. Rainier. There are several creek crossings, but most areas that might cause trail damage are protected by several wooden bridges. This trail is very popular, and you can expect to run into other rigs and motorcycles coming in the opposite direction. Because of its rich history and overall beauty, this trail is known to most as a favorite and must-do trail. This trail intersects the Pacific Crest Trail, which is a hiking trail from Mexico to Canada. It is at this point that a cabin was built that is free for use to all. While you are crossing over the pass, try to imagine wagon trains pulled by oxen struggling across the same terrain.
Trail Difficulty and Assessment
Lightly Modified 4X4 (Small Lift and Larger Tires)
This trail has some challenges for highly modified vehicles and also for stock vehicles. This trail was written with three starting points. At starting point 1, a modified vehicle will probably be needed. At starting point 2, a mildly lifted vehicle with a small lift and tires will do well. Starting point 3 and beyond will be suitable for stock 4x4 vehicles.
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The hardest part of the trail that you
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The hardest part of the trail that is
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Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 12" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 12" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 24" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep.Read More about our Rating System
Naches trail is mostly soft dirt and gravel. This trail can get muddy early or late in the season. This is a straight-through trail and can be driven in either direction. For this trail guide, it was written from west to east. This trail follows an old wagon trail that was used by settlers in the early 1800s to the summit over the mountain pass into western Washington. The trail is about 12.26 miles in length, so allow about 4 hours to complete. This trail will have three different starting points. Starting point 1 is for experienced drivers and is best navigated with some kind of lift and larger tires with good tread. Starting point 2 would be considered a good place for intermediate drivers, and starting point 3 would be for stock or beginner drivers.
This trail is shared with dirt bikes and side-by-side vehicles. You may encounter both coming in the opposite direction at any turn. Please be careful on blind corners.
1. Startpoint 1 (0
This start point begins with a 200 yard, 45-degree hill climb that most rigs with aggressive aftermarket tires will not have trouble with. If you are running stock on stock tires and the weather is wet, you might have to rethink attempting this start point.
2. Ditch Obsticle - Straight (0.22
After the hill climb, you will come to this Ditch Obstacle. When it's dry, this obstacle can be pretty easily navigated. Beware if it is wet, you might end up with some side body damage on the right as the whole thing is off-camber. There is a bypass on the left.
3. Unknown Spur - Straight (0.45
This is an unknown trail intersection with a pretty formidable mud obstacle. The depth is unknown, so play at your own risk. The trail appears to wind up to the right and come back to meet this trail at the next unknown trail intersection at Waypoint 5.
4. Mud Hole - Straight (0.49
This mud obstacle was not very difficult, though with some rainfall, it can get pretty deep. There is a bypass on the left.
5. Unknown Spur - Stay Right (0.93
At this trail intersection, you will stay to the right. This trail to the left goes up on top of the ridge to a very nice campground area.
6. Unknown Spur - Stay Left (1.2
At this intersection, stay to the left.
7. Startpoint 2 (1.5
This is start point 2. It is another hill climb that can be a little tricky as about halfway up there is a stump on the right and the trail is off-camber. Pull in your right-side mirror and get as close to that stump as you can, even within inches. If you try and stay left which is what your brain is saying, gravity will bring you crashing into the stump. If the weather is wet please your good judgment as to whether you have the skill and recovery equipment to get yourself down when you are spinning wheels half way up.
8. Rock Ledge - Straight (1.93
This rock ledge is a lot of fun as you can't see the bottom as you inch your rig out and over the ledge.
9. NF-7080/Start Point 3 - Straight (2.78
This is start point 3 at this intersection of NF-7080. This is the best starting point for novice and totally stock rigs. There are no more hill climbs and off-camber sections to worry about. The trail gets pretty mild from here.
10. Mountain Meadow - Straight (3.2
These are some wonderful mountain meadows that are just beautiful in the spring with all the flowers blooming. Keep your eyes peeled for elk, bobcat, and cougar.
11. Unknown Spur - Straight (3.55
This is a four-way intersection with an unknown forest service road. Continue straight.
12. Government Meadows - Straight (4.08
Government Meadows is the home of Camp Urich. Pull off the trail and park your vehicle along the wooden fence on the right when you arrive. It is a short walk to a log cabin complete with a loft and a wood-burning stove that is open for everyone to use. The cabin was built in 1992 by a local snowmobile club in tribute to one of their members. The cabin is nestled between the Pacific Coast hiking trail which starts in Mexico and ends in Canada. The trail crosses the Naches trail at this point. The cabin is a first-come-first used basis, which means that it is often shared between hikers, Jeepers, and other 4x4 crossers. This is a great place for overnight adventures. In the summer months, you often hear stories of people's hiking adventures on the Pacific Coast Trail, some of which have taken months to get to this point. There are outhouse facilities located behind the cabin. This is a great spot to bring the family to camp for the night. Enjoy this recreation area, but please pick up after yourself.
The views are spectacular, and with the possibility of deer and elk sightings in Government Meadows at sunset, it becomes magical.
13. Historical Information - Straight (4.64
This sign was erected by a local boyscout troop in memory of the settlers that first traveled this route with oxen and covered wagons.
This is a trail intersection of an unknown forest service road. At this point, you cross the border from the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest into the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. You will also notice the terrain now becomes a lot rockier and dryer for the most part. At this point, the Naches trail takes the name of Trail 684.
15. NF-1914 - Straight (7.85
This is a trail intersection with NF-1914. Continue straight across the road.
16. Scenic View - Straight (8.43
This view is pretty spectacular on a clear day. You can see a lot of roads begging for exploration.
17. Unknown Spur - Straight (9.03
This is an intersection with an unnamed NF road. Continue straight across.
18. Unknown Spur - Straight (9.11
This is an intersection with an unnamed NF road. Continue straight across.
19. Unknown Spur - Straight (9.2
This is an intersection with an unnamed NF road. Continue straight across.
20. NF-1913 - Turn Left (10.4
This is an Intersection with NF-1913. Take a left and continue the trail on the other side of the bridge on the right. If you want to cut this trail short, you can turn right and continue to NF-19. Go left on NF-19 and drive about 12 miles out to Highway 410.
21. Trail 941 - Turn Right (10.5
Once you cross the bridge, pick the trail back up on the right. Trail 684 and Trail 941 run together now until the end.
22. Unknown Spur - Stay Left (10.68
Unknown trail intersection. Stay to the left.
23. Trail End (12.48
This is the end of the trail. The road here is NF 19. Proceed left about 12 miles to Highway 410. There are many campgrounds along NF-19.
There are many locations to camp along the trail. The most popular is Camp Urich at Government Meadows. Here you will find a beautiful log cabin that comes complete with windows, a loft, and a wood-burning stove. This cabin is unfurnished, has no power, but will sleep 20-40 people comfortably. It is a shared location, so you may be spending the night with others. This location has a fire pit, wood available to burn, and two outhouse-style toilets. The only way to get to Camp Urich is via the Naches trail or by foot on the Pacific Crest Trail. This is a great location to bring your family and friends to camp for the night.
There is additional camping on FS-70 on the way to the trailhead, on FS-1914, and many great camping locations on the Little Naches River Road FS-19 at the end of the trail.
Lodging is available in Enumclaw, WA, at the beginning of the trail and in the town of Naches, WA, at the end of the trail.
If you are running this trail from West to East:
From the town of Greenwater, start your vehicle's trip meter at the Greenwater general store and continue South East on highway 410 towards Mount Rainier National Park. At 1.7 miles, turn left onto Forest Road 70 (NF-70). Stay left at the first fork in the road at mile marker 1.7. Another road will intersect at mile marker 3.9, Stay left and continue on NF-70. The pavement ends at mile marker 10.7. There is a flat gravel area to the left that is a popular site to air down and disconnect the sway bars. There is also an information board and NF road map at this location. From this point, continue on the gravel FS-70. There are a few areas that you will pass that are popular target practice areas, Do not be alarmed if you hear gunfire.
There are three separate starting points to the Naches Trail. The first start point is recommended for experienced drivers. The second entrance starts with a more difficult climb that has a unique obstacle in the middle. This section is rated as more difficult. The last entrance is less technical and the more common entrance to the Naches Trail.
You will pass one sign on the left that says Naches Trail (This is the first entrance to the Lower Naches). At mile marker 14.1, there will be a brown wooden sign with yellow letters on the left that says, "Naches Trail" (This is the second entrance to the Lower Naches Trail). Take a left off FS-70 and onto FS-7065. This will lead you to a small, more difficult section of the trail. You can bypass this section by continuing straight on FS-70 for 1.6 miles and taking a left at FS-7080. The entrance to the Naches Trail will be 1/2 mile on the right.
I ran this trail west to east with a group and we were glad to find about 6" of fresh snow at Government Meadows following the previous western Washington day's rains. The lower section (waypoints 1 - 8) progressed from wet to snowy and was passable, but more so than ever it is the time of the year to go prepared with recovery equipment and the safety of a group. There was a small tree down just west of Government Meadows and I didn't have my saw, so I'd recommend that folks go prepared to have the clearance or equipment to clear the trail between now and the closure.
The photo was taken between waypoint 13 and 14 and with the fresh snow and traces of blue sky it was an absolutely amazing day on the trail.
We returned over Pyramid Pass and did not run the trail east of waypoint 20, but well prior to that point the trail is clear of snow and only slightly slick.
I started solo just shortly beyond Starting Point 2 and we exited just a little early before the end due to time constraints. This was in my 2020 Jeep JLU Rubicon on 35" MT tires and a 1.5" Clayton lift with an RTT.
The trail was a lot of fun and was still dry. It will leave pin stripes and some body damage if not careful. It is more technical than this gives credit due to all the tight spaces, ruts, sketchy bridges, and such. But it is a lot of fun.
We went from West to East and it seemed most of the traffic was East to West. It was mostly SxS and dirt bikes. At the pull off for Camp Urich, we did run into a few other Jeeps. Passing on the trail can be challenging, luckily we were in decent spots when we ran into incoming vehicles.
I would not recommend running this solo and I will not be doing that again.
I first "downloaded" this trail when it was rated as "easy to moderate" and notice it's now been updated to "moderate-difficult". That rating seems more accurate of todays conditions.
We have "Ol Blu". A surprisingly capable 98 2.5l TJ with a small 2" lift running on 31s. It handled the portions of the trail we ran without a hitch. Because of some tight turns and narrow clearances I could see where heavier larger JK's or full size trucks might have some troubles. We wanted to do some dispersed jeep camping for a night and chose this trail as way to have a little fun, spend some time under the stars and finish up the next morning.
Based on the trail description, being solo and out really for a "Sunday" drive, we planned on starting at at waypoint 7, 1.5mi starting point 2. But looking at the starting climb and loaded with more camping gear than was sensible, we begged off and moved on to Waypoint 9 NF 7080.
East bound from this point the trail is doable but much more technical than the description would have you believe. I suppose a stock and wheeled rig could do it but it wouldn't look pretty and there were spots where one might suffer some damage. It took us about 3 hours to run 5, 5-1/2miles (we left the trail near waypoint 16 to explore the logging roads and spend the night before rejoining it the next morning). I'm a bit of an old man when running trails. A practitioner of "slow as possible, fast as necessary", so others might do it much more quickly. I didn't want to abuse my suspension more then I already have. There were a fair number of ruts, rock and exposed roots along the route. Since the original writeup I suspect there has been an increase in use by RZR style side by sides which might contribute to an increase in trail difficulty. The "unknown spurs" at most of the waypoints are mapped NF or logging roads which provide added trail ingress/egress options.
Another "hazard", target shooters mainly of the west side. Despite signage saying no target shooting, a couple of groups were plinking at the NF 7065 turn-off to Waypoint 1, and else where along the west 3-4 miles marks. One group appeared to be shooting towards a NF road.
All said and done a great trail to run. With dry weather, not overly difficult but not a cake walk either. A little bit of rain would up the difficulty level pretty quickly so as other have said, go prepared. Have recovery gear and some idea on its use it.
Obviously a must do if you're in the area. Plenty of dispersed camping and amazing views.
However, some words of caution... Unless you're in a pretty serious rig don't even think about starting at the first checkpoint. I went solo and attempted the 45° hill climb but spun out with maybe 30 yards to go. Backing down was puckering and not something I want to do alone again. If you're in a stock vehicle, drive past the hill climb and continue up the narrow road until you're faced with a dead end in front of you and another hill climb on the right. If you struggle with that climb, DO NOT keep going up the trail. It only gets more technical...
With my stock rubicon two door. Skip the first two start point and finish the whole trail from #3. Ton of fun but I think the difficulty is underrated even started at #3, today’s weather is good and dry, and my JL is 2Door. So I maneuver Okish and get out with 0 damage. I can imagine in a wet day, how difficult it might be.
The trail is very fun and muddy at the moment. deep ruts as per usual but the mud adds another factor to the steep hill climbs and slippery roots in the trail. Just need to factor in sliding around and make the necessary adjustments. Not stock friendly at the moment unless it is being operated by an experienced driver. Mud tires a must (at the minimum).
Careful on the bridges, they seem in disrepair compared to this time last year.
I didn't see a way to comment on a review, so I thought I'd just add to Michael Graham's report. In that report, I think Michael swapped east and west, because Greenwater is on the west side and the Naches valley is on the east. As of 8/20, the fire closure maps show that the entire trail is open but the FS-19 exit on the east side is closed. So, as Michael says, it would need to be out and back. However, the written fire closure order lists 1175 as being closed, but at the same time it doesn't say that 684 (the eastern part of the Naches trail) is closed. It doesn't make sense that the west would be closed but the east would be open....
So, I called the Naches Ranger District. They indicated that the entire trail is open, but the FS-19 exit is closed at 1905/1906 area, as indicated on the map. Thus, it seems that the trail is indeed open for out and back if entering on the west side. They recommended taking a screenshot of the map with you, because of the conflicting information. I'm guessing that 1175 might have been listed as closed, just so there was no confusion for anyone entering from the east. (i.e. You can't go through closed roads and trails to get to one that is open).
Closure Information: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/okawen/alerts-notices/?cid=fseprd521011&width=full&fbclid=IwAR3rR-8CSUnKkTWpii6wDS90Zqh2Y56rBfBBci9V8ekLsWpTQTf0qlkNLSs
The Naches River Valley is closed due to fire fighting activity and the close proximity of the "Schneider Springs" forest fire. While this trail remains open you cannot gain access to it on the East side from Hwy 410 through the Naches River Valley. You can run the trail from the West side (Greenwater/FS-70) but take note: There is no access back to Hwy 410 once you are finished. So that make this trail an "OUT-AND-BACK" trail from Greenwater, west side only.
The trail is now open for the season. It's quite dry and dusty with only a few areas of mud. Being the first weekend of the season, the trail was quite busy, so watch out for traffic coming in the opposite direction. The scenery was spectacular. Entrance 1 has some very loose rock at the moment but it's dry. The stump halfway up the hill at Entrance 2 made for a challenge. We definitely had to take the advice of Waypoint 7 and pull in our mirror. It's also a long hill to back down if there is any traffic. Parking at Government Meadows was crowded, but the walk to the cabin is well worth it. I highly recommend this trail.
We ran this trail on 7/16/21 on opening day. The trail is in really good shape. With all the new trees that are down I didn't recognize the trail is some places. Some mud and mostly dry conditions. Really enjoy this trail. Make this a must-do.
This trail is temporarily closed from Govt meadows and East to the Naches River drainage by the Naches Ranger District due to a forest fire in the Jungle Creek area of the Little Naches River drainage. Campgrounds including Kaner Flat and Crow Creek and all dispersed camping along FS Rd. and spur roads 1902 & 1903 are also closed currently being evacuated. The trail can be run from the Westside heading East but please no further than Government Meadows.
My husband and I went together in a group of five Jeeps of various builds consisting of two modified JK's, one JL (mostly stock) and one modified JLU. Our rig was a 2014 JKUR 6 speed with a 3.5" lift and 35" tires. Our Rubicon of course has front and rear lockers and sway bar disconnect. All others in our group were open diff.
The leader in our group was the original writer of this trail above making his annual pilgrimage to check on the trail and do updates if necessary.
We bought our JKUR in Dec of last year, so we have only really had it out on mild trails so far, however we are well versed in off-roading as well as experienced with rock crawling in Moab. Having spent most of our years in the high desert, this was our first time on any terrain like this.
I was both impressed by our party's progress and fraught with nerves by the challenges brought on with the root systems and the slippery conditions in some cases.
In my case, I have a triple roof rack system on my rig, and I was way more concerned about hanging that rack on a tree or root ball over any body damage, because of the amount of off camber situations near said items.
We entered by climbing up the first start point, had lunch while visiting the cabin at Government Meadows, drove over some cool wood bridges, and while a couple of us (including me) had to break off early at NF-1914, no one ever needed a tow or a winch, even the mostly stock JL and with most having no lockers, but we all took our time. It was worth the trip!
I made my yearly pilgrimage to the Naches and took a group of patrons of the website for their first experience. One of the drivers was sporting a brand new Jeep JL with no suspension mods and he did just fine. Thanks Aaron Houk for the trip report and movie. Another novice driver to this kind of "Western Washington" wheeling was Heather Galvin. She sported a lifted Jeep JKU with a roof rack she had to keep an eye on. She did great though admitting she was nervous on the first hillclimb. Thank you Heather for the trip report and your support. We had a fantastic day and the trail was in excellent condition. If you are thinking about this trail and are ready for some serious adventure and beautiful scenery then pick a bright sunny day and you won't be disappointed.
This trail is amazing! I ran this trail with 4 other Jeeps and had an fantastic experience. There was a little bit of everything: steep climbs, loose rocks, mud, water holes, trenches, shade, sun, views, points of interest, and most of all, fun. This trail is a perfect level-up. Enough obstacles to challenge veterans, and enough bypasses for rookies. This trail is challenging enough that it should not be tackled alone.
I was fortunate to be able to tag along with the trail mapper, Michael Graham. He was an outstanding guide to go with. He provided excellent coaching, was patient, kept the group together, and taught me a lot along the way. Keep a lookout on FB if you want to tag along with him.
This trail was a blast! Participated in a Bill Burke/Mule Expedition course and this was the Day 1 trail. The only section we skipped with the #2 start/hillclimb due to the amount and diversity of rigs and didn't want to risk body damage. Bill purposely got stuck on the #1 hillclimb to start the teaching sessions (see video). The mud section in the trees was fun. Had a couple folks get wood wedged in their tire/rim! Easy fix. First 6 mins of my video is Naches, the rest is Kaner flats.
We hit the trail on opening weekend in our brand new (to us) JLU '18 Rubicon, and it was our rig's inaugural run. We avoided 2 hill climbs (were going to save them for the next day) at the beginning, but besides that, we did the rest of the trail. Lots of limbs and branches still overhanging into the trail. Lots of surface trail scratches, but nothing buffing won't take out.
Overall, the trail itself was pretty dry. We took a short run up the day before (mud pit - # 4 above) on fully inflated tires, and while we still made it through, it was pretty slick. The very next day (the day we did the majority of the trail), the vast majority of the mud/trail had dried out, so slipping wasn't an issue.
We went in a train of 3 vehicles. A 2000 XJ on 31's with a 3" lift, our bone stock '18 JLUR on 35's (no lift), and a buddy's mid-90's Land Rover Discovery on 35's. All made it through relatively unscathed. All vehicles would've benefited greatly from lockers (ours already had them), but nobody hit a section that they couldn't get passed without them. Apparently, the Disco almost rolled, but I didn't actually see it happen and wouldn't say that this trail is a huge risk for rollovers (at least passed the hill climbs). All of us scraped skid plates at one point or another, but nothing that left regrettable damage.
My only regret is not doing the whole thing (hill climbs included), as we ended up heading home the next day without doing the hill climbs (just ran out of time). All in all, it was a fantastic experience. I'll be back out there as soon as time allows.
Drove the trail in an FJ starting from the first start point. It’s still pretty wet and muddy throughout the trail, and a few close calls with body damage. All terrain tires necessary. Take it slow, think your lines through, and you’ll be fine!
This is a really fun trail. On any given day you can run into all sorts of conditions from dry and dusty to deep mud holes to tight and twisty. It has a little of everything. There are also some really fun side adventures just off the trail that are well worth checking out. We ran it on a weekday to avoid crowds and started at start point 3 because we had a newer driver in a stock rig who was a little apprehensive. Trail was fun, as usual. Hitting it during the week paid off as we had it to ourselves. The weekends get busy up there.
We ran Naches last night for the first time. It was rainy and really foggy. Hit the trail just as it got dark. We had a Tahoe with a 6” lift and 35s, F250 light duty with similar fit and ties and a YJ with a 4” lift and 33s. Since we weren’t familiar with the trail and conditions were bad we decided to skip the very first section and jump on at “start point 2” referenced in the rail guide. While the trail was pretty easy, it was very tight in multiple places. I, like most of the reviewers, would say that this trail should probably not have an “easy’ rating. The main reason being a lot of what we encountered would be impassible in a stock vehicle. Lift kit and tires are a must simply due to how deep the ruts were in a lot of places. Also, due to the muddy conditions, all of the vehicles in our party had to winch through one spot. Overall, the trail was a blast and I can’t wait to tackle the first part when I can get up there in the daylight!
Went out today with a stock XJ. I would *definitely* rate this trail higher than"2-4". It was one of the hardest trips we've done so far and we've done some "6's and 7's".
Nothing the XJ couldn't handle, but it was close and some unavoidable tires hitting the wheel wells in spots. Would definitely recommend a modified rig to attempt this course. Plenty of spots where side hill degree was 30% or higher.
Lastly, and oddly enough, the width of the stock XJ was a benefit to a lot of obstacles. We noticed where even slightly wider rigs would have to go through or over an obstacle, where we could squeeze by. However, don't plan on doing this trail again until we get a lift and bigger tires!
Trail was in great condition. It was our first time hitting this trail and we had some brand new Jeepers with us in their stock JKU. We started at the lower portion and ended up on the east side! Definitely planning next year to go east to west.
This trail is very tight and has some technical locations where you are going to want lockers and some good wheel travel. The worst is the small stumps in the tight turns that you can not see in addition it should be a one way trail. Forest rangers take their rubicon's through this trail. I did not do the funny rocks as that is just buggy stuff. Recommend to take the bypasses unless you have a dedicated trail rig.
This road is closed to wheeled vehicles until 7-15-17
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Mapping Crew - Washington
My name is Michael Graham and I'm retired from the U.S. Army as an Infantry First Sergeant with 23 years of service. I did one tour in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. I presently own a Process Service Company in Tacoma. I am originally from Upstate New York but after being stationed in Washington I knew immediately that this part of the country felt like home. Back in the 1980's I owned a Jeep CJ5. This was my first 4x4 but back in the 80's there wasn't a lot of hype and add-on parts as there are today. Building my rig has been half the fun. Making it my own style. I have actually found it to be an addiction. I live in the Pacific Northwest, in the Tacoma / Puyallup area and love the sport of "wheeling" which allows access to so much more than a hiking trailhead. I really enjoy organized rides and poker runs and love the freedom and exploration this sport allows. Finding this website and authoring trail write-ups has greatly enhanced this sport I have grown to love. If you are new to the sport or just looking for someone to show you the trails I would love to hear from you. You can email me directly at "email@example.com"
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