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Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area. Near the summit of the Blue Mountains, this park in an old-growth forest is the site of a popular pioneer stopover along the Oregon Trail. The park has picnic areas, hiking trails, historical information, and gathering spaces for special events. There's also a campground with a range of tent and RV sites as well as several cabins. 65068 Old Oregon Trail Hwy., I–84, Exit 234, Meacham, OR, 97859. 541/983–2277 or 800/551–6949. www.oregonstateparks.org. Day use free. Daily.
Umatilla National Forest. Three rugged, secluded wilderness areas attract backpackers to this 1.4-million-acre forest: the Wenaha-Tucannon, the North Fork Umatilla, and the North Fork John Day. Umatilla is derived from a word in the indigenous Shahaptian language meaning "water rippling over sand," and the forest has its share of fishable rivers and streams as well. Home to the Blue Mountain Scenic Byway and 40 campgrounds, the diverse forestland is found both east and south of Pendleton, and extends south almost as far as John Day, where it borders the Malheur National Forest. To the east it is bordered by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Major thoroughfares through the forest include I–84, U.S. 395, and highways 204 and 244. Supervisor's Office, 72510 Coyote Rd., Pendleton, OR, 97801. 541/278–3716. www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla. Northwest Forest Pass required at some trailheads, $5/day or $30 annual.