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Hike on the BMT:
Tollgate Jubilee Lake Loop

Tollgate Jubilee Lake Loop - 3-5 days

Departing from near Woodward Campground, in Tollgate, Oregon, this 40 mile loop on the Blue Mountains Trail will take you through forests and along quiet river trails through the Umatilla National Forest. Jubilee Lake is roughly halfway along the route that includes the Luger Springs Trail, Mottet/Sinks Trail, and the South Fork Walla Walla Trail, with ample camping options on the way.

Luger Springs Trail, Gwen Dildine - Outside Walla Walla - 3.jpg
the stats:
Recreation type: Multi-day backpack
Route type: Loop

Mileage: 39.7 miles

Duration: 3-5 days

Elevation gain/loss (gross): 7,182 feet

Active time hiking (estimated): 16 hours

Time of year: July to early October

Physical difficulty: Difficult

Logistical difficulty: Moderate wayfinding on national forest roads and poorly marked trails.

Permits required: None

Planning links:

Trailhead access points: Woodward Campground - USFS link - Google Maps link — Jubilee Lake Campground - USFS link - Google Maps link

Nearby town guide: Tollgate

Local US Forest Service Office: Umatilla National Forest Headquarters, Pendleton, 541-278-3716

Trail conditions: Luger Springs Eagle Ridge Trail #3232

Weather forecast at Jubilee Lake: National Weather Service

Luger Springs Trail, Gwen Dildine - Outside Walla Walla - 6.jpg
Luger Springs Trail, Gwen Dildine - Outside Walla Walla - 5.jpg
Trip description:

From Tollgate, Oregon, a small community between Weston and Elgin, Oregon in the Umatilla National Forest, you can access a number of great hiking trails and campgrounds. This trip loops nearly 40 miles of trails and national forest roads, connecting with Jubilee Lake, one of the highlights of this section of the Blue Mountains Trail. With plenty of places to refill water and camp along the way, you can build your trip out over 3-5 days depending on your preferred pace. Much of the trail is through forests of Ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, fir and Englemann spruce. The trail also runs along the South Fork Walla Walla River, Eagle Creek, Lookinglass Creek, and alongside the Big Sink, a 1.5 mile long depression to the north of Mottet Creek where the ground appears to drop down beneath your feet. Geologists suspect that the Big Sink was caused by an ancient landslide, but it is also a place associated with indigenous mysteries, compasses are rumored to not work there, and many visitors note that they find Big Sink eerie and often silent.

Jubilee Lake is at roughly the halfway point of the loop. The lake is a gem of the Umatilla National Forest, surrounded by Englemann spruce and Ponderosa pine. The lake is popular for fishing and swimming, and motorized watercraft are not allowed on the lake. The Jubilee Lake Campground is the most popular recreation site in the Umatilla National Forest. It has 53 campsites, five of which are reserved for tents only. The campground also has potable water and flush toilets.

Camping options abound along the route. There are five established campgrounds: Woodward, Woodland, Jubilee Lake, Mottet and Target Meadows campgrounds. And there are smaller established campsites including those marked on the map at Reser Creek and Skiphorton Creek on the South Fork Walla Walla River. Be prepared to bring cash or checks to pay the campground fees if you plan to stay at one or more of the established campgrounds.

Like most of the Blue Mountains, the Umatilla National Forest is not known for large crowds. However, Jubilee Lake and the South Fork Walla Walla Trail are two of the most heavily-used areas in the forest. Please follow all posted signage, be prepared for some motorized use on the trails that allow for it and you will encounter hunters in the forest during the open hunting seasons. You can join us in reporting recreation impacts or areas that need additional maintenance using the Recreation Impacts Monitoring System (RIMS) app (contact us for details and to sign up or download the app and get started). This area supports abundant wildlife; when hiking here, please follow Leave No Trace principles.

Photos courtesy of Gwen Dildine on behalf of Outside Walla Walla.

maps and elevation profile:
Tollgate Jubilee Lake Loop Elevation.png
Tollgate Jubilee Lake Map Thumbnail.png

Download:

Full guide with hiking map (6 pages, 6.9 mb)

Map only (4 pages, 5.1 mb)

GPX map (84 kb)

Before and After in Tollgate

Tollgate is a very small unincorporated community nestled into the Umatilla National Forest in Oregon's Blue Mountains. It has limited services, but it offers a nice respite along Oregon Highway 204 that connects the larger communities of Pendleton and Walla Walla with Elgin and access to the Wallowas.

Woodward Campground is on the western end of Tollgate's Langdon Lake. It has 15 campsites, but be forewarned that campers are not allowed to access the private lake. In Tollgate, you can visit the Alpine Restaurant and Store for fresh food and snacks. They are open every day from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. They will also accept resupply boxes with advance planning for hikers on the Blue Mountains Trail.

The 5-room Tamarack 3 Bears Inn is a nice, cozy Bed & Breakfast in Tollgate, directly across from the Alpine Restaurant and Store. Reservations are made through the store as well.

Jubilee Lake is a short 35 minutes (12 mile) drive from Tollgate. The campground at Jubilee Lake is the busiest, and one of the largest, campgrounds in the Umatilla National Forest. It offers 53 campsites, 48 of which are RV/trailer accessible. The lake does not allow any motorized watercraft; it is very popular for fishing and has numerous spots for easy fishing access.

Follow this link for a full town guide to Tollgate.

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