Naches Trail

4.9/5 (29 reviews)
Greenwater, Washington (King County)
Last Updated: 07/15/2022

Trail Information


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

Trail Navigation

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.

Trail Reviews

4.9/5 (29)
Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/23/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

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.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/01/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

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.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 08/28/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

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.
Rated 4/5
Visited: 07/23/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

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...
Rated 5/5
Visited: 07/18/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

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.

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