Naches Pass was originally a Native American foot trail connecting the various Salish people on the west side (Nisqually & Puyallup) to the Yakima people on the east side of the Cascade Range. In later years, Naches Pass was worked on to be used as a wagon trail short cut from the Oregon Trail. The trail never found practical use because the steep terrain is nearly impractical for wagons and it would required over 60 crossing of the Naches River before reaching the pass from the east. One of the earliest written accounts of the Naches Pass is from Theodore Winthrop. He wrote a book titled “By Canoe and Saddle,” in which he narrates his journeys in the Washington area predating 1855 with his own personal account of crossing the Cascade using this very trail.
The western half of the trail, number 1175, is only open from November 15th to July 15th in an attempt to reduce the soil erosion. Where as the eastern section of the trail, number 684 Naches Pass is open to off-road enthusiast year around, however snow may make the trail impassible. Along the trail, in Camp Urich, is a log cabin complete with a loft and wood burning stove open to the community to use. The cabin is located on the Pacific Crest Hiking Trail and requires just as slight detour south from Naches Pass to spend the night at. The cabin is reserved on a first come first served basis, which means that it may have to be shared. The views are spectacular, and with the possibility of deer and elk sightings in Government Meadows at sunset, it becomes magical.
Thanks to H4O forum memebers H3slate and Scarsman for the photos.