Naches Trail

Greenwater, Washington (King County)

Last Updated: 01/14/2019
4.7 /5 ( 3 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Seasonal Closure
Typically Open: 07/15 - 11/15
Permit Information: Permit Required - Click Here
Difficulty: 3-5
(MODERATE - DIFFICULT)
Length: 12.26 miles
Highest Elevation: 4928 feet
Duration: About 4 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Greenwater
Nearest Town w/ Services: Enumclaw
Official Road Name: 70
Management Agency: Mount Baker Snoqualime National Forest/ Naches Ranger District
District:
Distance:
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Highlights

Highlight: Naches Trail

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 views of 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 - must do - trail. This trail intersects the Pacific Crest Trail that 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.

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Weather

7 day forecast for Naches Trail

Route Information

Advanced Rating System (BETA)

Recommended Vehicle:
Stock SUV with High Clearance and 4 Low
Concerns:

Technical Rating: 3-5
(MODERATE - DIFFICULT)

Rocky or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 24" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 24" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 54" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep and off-camber.

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Description

Naches trail is mostly soft dirt and gravel. This trail can get muddy early or late in the season. This trail 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 at least some kind of lift and larger tires with good tread. Starting point 2 would be considered a good place for an intermediate driver 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.

Waypoints

1. Startpoint 1

This start point starts out with about 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 (0.25 mi)

After the hill climb, you will come to this Ditch Obstacle. When its 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. Trail intersection (0.48 mi)

This is an unknown trail intersection with a pretty formidable mud obstacle. I don't know how deep so play at your own risk. I didn't explore this trail but I'm pretty sure that it winds up to the right and comes back to meet this trail at the next unknown trail intersection at Waypoint 5.

4. Mud Hole (0.52 mi)

This mud obstacle was not very difficult, though with some rainfall I'm sure it can get pretty deep. There is a bypass on the left.

5. Trail intersection / stay right (0.93 mi)

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. Trail intersection / stay left (1.17 mi)

At this intersection stay to the left. I haven't explored this trail on the right.

7. Startpoint 2 (1.45 mi)

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 a close to that stump as you can. I'm talking about 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 (1.88 mi)

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. Trail intersection / Start point 3 (2.7 mi)

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 (3.11 mi)

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. Trail intersection (3.46 mi)

This is a four-way intersection with an unknown forest service road. Continue straight.

12. Government Meadows (3.96 mi)

Government Meadows is the home of Camp Urich. When you arrive pull off the trail and park your vehicle along the wooden fence on the right. 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 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. Historic Sign Info (4.5 mi)

This sign was erected by a local Boyscout troop in memory of the settlers that first traveled this route with oxen and covered wagons.

14. Trail Intersection (4.95 mi)

This is a trail intersection of an unknown forest service road. It is at this point that 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. Trail intersection (7.6 mi)

This is a trail intersection with NF-1914, continue straight across the road.

16. ScenicVeiw (8.6 mi)

This view is pretty spectacular on a clear day, you can see lots of roads begging for exploration.

17. Trail intersection (8.78 mi)

This is an intersection with an unknown NF road. Continue straight across.

18. Trail intersection (8.85 mi)

This is an intersection with an unknown NF road. Continue straight across.

19. Trail intersection (8.93 mi)

This is an intersection with an unknown NF road. Continue straight across.

20. Trail intersection / Turn left (10.12 mi)

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 trial short you can turn right and continue to NF-19. Go left on NF-19 and drive about 12 miles out to Hwy 410.

21. Trail intersection / Turn right (10.23 mi)

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. Trail intersection / stay left (10.4 mi)

Unknown Trail intersection....Stay to the left.

23. Trail End (12.15 mi)

This is the end of the trail. The road here is NF 19. Proceed left about 12 miles to Hwy 410. There are many campgrounds along NF-19.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 47.103249, -121.466415

Starting Point: Greenwater, Washington

If you running this trail from West to East: From the town of Greenwater start your vehicles 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 informational 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.

Camping

Dispersed
Improved

There are many locations to camp along the trail. The most popular and the one that we recommend most 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 rd FS-19 at the end of the trail. Lodging is available in the town of Enumclaw, WA at the beginning of the trail and in the town of Naches, WA at the end of the trail.

Camping: Naches Trail

Land Use Issues

Community

Trail Reviews (10)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
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!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
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!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
I ran the trail with a stock FJ and consider myself lucky to have made it out without side damage. I would NOT rate the trail easy.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Attempted the trail on a DR650 and KLR250. We weren't able to make it up the first hill. If you're a novice dirt rider I would stay clear.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
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.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
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.

Author:
Status: Closed
Offroaded on:
The State of Washington has temporarily closed the Naches Trail to all motorized vehicles and even foot traffic due to Norse Creek Fire. The affected area is everything east of Government Medows. Hikers using the Pacific Crest Trail have been rerouted out the area. We will let you know as soon as conditions improve with an expected ETA on re-opening.

Author:
Status: Closed
Offroaded on:
This road is closed to wheeled vehicles until 7-15-17

Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Naches Trail is officially closed for all four wheel drive vehicles for the season due to high amounts of snowfall. The trail is open for snowmobiling in the winter months. Weather permitting expected date to re-open to four wheel drive vehicles is June 15, 2016. We look forward to seeing you all on the trail next summer.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Organized 4 wheel drive event on November 14, 2015 sponsored by JBLM Military Jeepers Club. Start Point- 9:00am at Enumclaw Safeway parking lot. Everyone is welcome to attend. The trip should take four hours bring your own food and beverage. Expect snow conditions. Naches Trail will close for the season on November 15, 2015.

Questions & Answers (3)

Q: There's something wrong with the images on this page. In the step-by-step instructions, many of the same images repeat over and over.
–Joe (09/26/2018)
A: This trail has had a make-over with new pictures. Better documented starting points and soon a new movie.
–Michael Graham (10/29/2018)
Q: At #20 you state you turn onto FR-1911. From every map I can see it is 1913. I maybe wrong though can you confirm?
–Scott Decker (07/11/2018)
A: You were correct Scott. This trail has been re-written to show that change.
–Michael Graham (10/29/2018)
Q: Can you take a Polaris Rzr on the natches trail? If so is there a parking area to leave my truck and trailer? Thanks.
–Jason Collins (07/02/2018)
A: I’m sorry to inform you, but the green water side, FS. 70 rd, is closed to atv, utv. It’s only open to vehicles that are highway licensed. The forest service is now writing tickets for violations.
–James Tullis (11/17/2018)
A: Jason, If you follow the "Directions to the Trailhead" there is a large Parking area where the pavement ends that is used for parking tow rigs. Keep in mind that the West side of the Naches trail is not open yet but is projected to be open on July 15th.
–Michael Graham (07/03/2018)

Writer Information

Michael Graham

Mapping Crew - Washington

Michael Graham is retired from the U.S. Army as an Infantry First Sergeant with 23 years of service. He did a tour in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He presently owns a Process Service Company in Tacoma. He is originally from Upstate New York but after being stationed in Washington knew immediately that this part of the county felt like home. He had a Jeep CJ5 as his first 4x4 but back in the 80's there wasn't a lot of hype and add-on parts as there are today. Building your rig is half the fun, making it your own style. He has actually found it to be an addiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest, in the Tacoma / Puyallup area and loves the sport of "wheeling" which allows access to so much more than a hiking trailhead. He enjoys organized rides and poker runs and the freedom and exploration this sport allows. Finding this website and authoring trail write-ups has really enhanced this sport for him. If you are new to the sport or just looking for someone to show you the trails he would love to hear from you.