Naches Trail

Greenwater, Washington (King County)

Last Updated: 08/21/2021
4.9 / 5 ( 17 reviews )
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Status:
Seasonal Closure
Typically Open: 07/15 - 11/15
Permit Information: Permit Required - Click Here
Difficulty: 3-5
( MODERATE - DIFFICULT )
Length: 12.48 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: 4W684
Management Agency: Mount Baker Snoqualime National Forest
District: Everett, Washington

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 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.

Video

Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Lightly Modified 4X4 (Small Lift and Larger Tires)
Concerns:
Summary:
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.

Technical Rating

MANDATORY
3
MODERATE
OPTIONAL
5
DIFFICULT
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.
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Community Consensus

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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 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.

Waypoints

1. Startpoint 1 (0 mi)
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 mi)
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 mi)
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 mi)
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 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. Unknown Spur - Stay Left (1.2 mi)
At this intersection, stay to the left.
7. Startpoint 2 (1.5 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 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 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. NF-7080/Start Point 3 - Straight (2.78 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 - Straight (3.2 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. Unknown Spur - Straight (3.55 mi)
This is a four-way intersection with an unknown forest service road. Continue straight.
12. Government Meadows - Straight (4.08 mi)
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 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. Unknown Spur/FS Boundary Change - Straight (5.12 mi)
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 mi)
This is a trail intersection with NF-1914. Continue straight across the road.
16. Scenic View - Straight (8.43 mi)
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 mi)
This is an intersection with an unnamed NF road. Continue straight across.
18. Unknown Spur - Straight (9.11 mi)
This is an intersection with an unnamed NF road. Continue straight across.
19. Unknown Spur - Straight (9.2 mi)
This is an intersection with an unnamed NF road. Continue straight across.
20. NF-1913 - Turn Left (10.4 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 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 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. Unknown Spur - Stay Left (10.68 mi)
Unknown trail intersection. Stay to the left.
23. Trail End (12.48 mi)
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.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Greenwater, Washington

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.

Camping

Dispersed
Improved
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.
Camping: Naches Trail

Trail Reviews (24)

Questions & Answers (4)

Q: Is it open?
–David Klein (03/17/2020)
A: The Naches opened on 7/15/2020
–Michael Graham (07/18/2020)
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 (10/30/2018)
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 (10/30/2018)
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)

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.
For individual use only, not to be shared.