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Umatilla Forest Service Road 52 ‘Soap Hill Road’

This road starts on the south edge of Ukiah and gently wends it way uphill into the heart of the Blue Mountains. Once you’re about 15 minutes in, you’ll start to see signs for various OHV riding and snowmobile areas, and shortly afterwards the road starts to get interesting with much tighter and more frequent S-curves.

Keep following FS52 up into the mountains past a number of USFS trailheads and you’ll come across and intersection of FS51 near the headwaters of the John Day North Fork. You’ll want this road if you’re heading back up to the north. Otherwise continue on south to FS73 which will take you east into Sumpter and eventually down to Oregon Route 7.

I recommend double-checking road conditions before you head out on this road. It’s very high up with a 5600′ / 1700m crest at FS51 and snow starts early and stays late at those elavations. There’s a Forest Service station right there on the west end of Ukiah and they were right helpful last time I was there.

I don’t have a lot in the way of photos of the area. It was rather pretty there and the horizon views were nice, but not jaw-droppingly gorgeous. If you do get a chance to stop at the bottom end of 52, look out to the West and you can see across the plateaus for at least 50 miles or so.

  • Counties: Umatilla, Grant
  • Length: 39 miles
  • Town: Ukiah

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