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13,330 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Blue Mountain OHV Trail

We hadn't had a chance to go riding since our North Idaho/Black Hills trip back in July so we decided it was time to head out of town. With the upcoming Labor Day Weekend looming I was looking for some places to ride and accidentally ran across Blue Mtn. OHV trail in Eastern Oregon which is only a couple hours from our place.

The trail is about 50 miles long with some side trails.

Blue Mtn. OHV Trail - Day 1. We ride north on Blue Mtn. OHV trail from Blue Mountain Summit off U.S. Hwy 26 to Blue Springs Snowpark trailhead on the highway between Sumpter and Granite, OR. Being late in the day we take forest service roads and highways back to camp but sneak a short ride over to the historic Fremont Powerhouse and then a miners cabin on the way back.

With the idea of riding the trails and roads, I tried to find a place about 1/2 way on the trail. While not half way, I did find this nice place to camp at the Blue Mtn. Snowpark near Blue Mountain Summit off US Hwy 26 west of Unity, OR. In the photo is part of the old highway before it was realigned. There are many old sections not connected in this area I explored throughout the weekend.

Here's another old section down the "old road" from camp.

Old winter "beefed up" winter fence posts off the old highway sections

Barley got Scoob, Wilbur and Squirrel unloaded and they tried running off into the woods. Luckily I was able to round'em back up.

Couple places on the trail have options. This trail is listed as "easy" with a couple sections of "most difficult" thrown in but which can be avoided. Here we take a right on the Black and Blue trail. With all the rocky sections I believe the trail name is appropriate.

A little technical but Mrs. Admiral was able to ride up.

Easy trail eh? It wasn't really that hard but we did get tossed about the the SS Minow at times

Navigation check. I kinda wonder how hard it is to get lost on a single trail. Actually, the trail was the most well marked trail I've ever seen. Only one time did we miss a turn because it wasn't marked but it was kind of easy to figure out where we needed to go after a quick check with the map.

Our "Linner" break. That's what it's called when you eat lunch in the the middle of the afternoon.

After about 35 miles of riding trails we came to the northern end of the trail. Not wanting to re-ride the trail bassackwards, and seeing how it was late in the day, we decided to ride the highways and forest service roads back to camp. Good thing cause as it was we got back just before nightfall.

However, we did a driveby (into) the old mining town of Granite, OR.

Few miles down the rode we took another quick sidetrip to the historic Fremont Powerhouse. We'll have to go back one day and go inside.

We're really needing to get back but we see this old mining cabin off the road. We're here, so we must see it right?

Mulling over possible needed renovation

Could use a little sprucing up don'tcha think?

Get rid of a couple wood rat nests and it'll look like new

...or maybe not

Next up, Day 2

13,330 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Blue Mtn OHV South Day 2 Danger Zone

Day 2 we head south on Blue Mtn. Trail 1972. We took a couple of spur trails but there are many more spur trails, especially at the southern end of the main trail near Elk Creek Campgrounds. We rode through the 2016 Rail Fire burn area and even a washout section of road from 2018. We were gonna ride some forest service roads to Table Rock Lookout but was stopped by a major washout. There was a notice it washed out but we checked it out for ourselves. It was too late in the day to backtrack and take another route to the lookout so we just headed back to camp. We did see a sign near the origin of the Eldorado Ditch which is a 100+ mile long for irrigation ditch. It was started in the late 1800's and it's intent was water for use by miners near the boom towns of Eldorado and Malheur City. Eldorado is gone but you can still visit Malheur Cemetery and a few building remnants.

Before riding I take the dogs out for a walk. Roscoe is practicing for the lumberjack log rolling completion later this fall.

We rode through the old 2016 Rail Fire burn area. We took one of the spur trails to catch a geocache. We found the cache in the rock up above. The plastic cache and zip baggies containing the log were all brittle and fell apart. Probably a result from heat from the fire.

Once we came to the end of the main trail I wanted to ride up to a lookout. A sign said the road ahead was closed due to road damage from a washout. We rode up there to see if we could make it through on the TW's. Nope.

Ok, the logs ain't gonna keep me from trying but I go walk it to see. Yeah, we ain't gonna make it for sure.

They did dig up the road to let the water through. I'm guessing there was a culvert there but got blocked up by the debris.

Yep, a no go.

Looked like a pretty good washout with the debris slammed against the tree's.


Mrs. Admiral did have one scary moment when she was getting attacked by this "Stick Snake". Good thing it isn't poisonous or have a mouth or fangs or breath...I know how she feels. I can't tell you how many times I've lifted my feet up while riding thinking I was riding over a snake and it turning out to only be a stick. Dang sticks!

It was late in the day so a re-route to the lookout was gonna take too long so we headed back. Lucky us we rode into another washed out section on a different forest service road. This one said "road damage" but didn't say anything about being closed. So we proceeded.

It started to get chilly so we stopped to put on jackets.

Near this spot is close to the origins of the Eldorado Ditch which provided water to miners about 100 miles away. Also near this spot was a junction and the other road was closed because of a washout. This section had new culvert's sitting there so I suppose it will be repaired before winter. (I couldn't read the information on the cross).

Up next Day 3

13,330 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Day 3 - Blue Mtn OHV Bushwhacking

Today's mission is to ride to Pogue Point L.O. I expected it to be well traveled to the lookout. I was wrong. Turned out to be an old site but we found it easy though we had to bushwhack our way for a mile or so. Then we just poked around the area riding to Unity Reservoir, short sections of OHV trail and ended riding some of the old sections of US Hwy 26.

Bushwhacking 101

Well, the map shows a road

I was expecting a lookout tower at Pogue Point Lookout but all that remains is the towers cement footings.

1920s: 43' pole platform. 1934: 22' wooden L-4 tower. 1949: 41' treated timber L-4 tower. Emergency 1960s. Gone. 12 miles NNW of Unity, Grant/Baker County, Oregon, Elevation 5697'. (courtesy

October 15, 1935: Panorama photos taken by Albert Arnst.

March 24, 1936: "Subject: One Car Garage & Wood Shed, 20' by 20' , Pogue Point; Alternative Schedule on side-wall finish. 750 B.M. 1 x 12 - 'C' rgh. Bev. siding, as shown on plan. Alternate: 7 squares 31 in. hand split red cedar shakes 5/8" butte, laid 10" exposure. 250 BM 1 x 4 No. 2 common - for nailing strips. NOTE: -- If shakes are used instead of 12" siding - 650 BM of 1" x 8" No. 2 shiplap will be required instead of 1550 BM of the same." (F - Survey - Whitman)

June 30, 1937: "Several miles of road were built on the Blue Mountain, experimental forest, including a spur road to Poque Point, where a lookout station will be built." (Baker Democrat-Herald)

June 30, 1948:
"Your memorandum of June 23 concerning construction of your Pogue Point lookout house and tower is received.
We are attaching the six sets of mimeographed specifications as requested.
Engineering will forward the five-sheet group of blue prints for the 14 x 14 house and the seven-sheet group of blue prints covering the 41' CT-2 tower. They are temporarily 'out' of the lookout house prints and it will probably be a couple of days before prints can be mailed." (OM-Supply, Bids)

July 22, 1948:
"A contract has been awarded by the forest service to Dick Hindman of Baker for the construction of a lookout tower and house at Pogue point, on the Blue Mountain side, Unity district about six miles south of Whitney.
Work will be started next week. The tower will be 41 feet high and the lookout house 14 by 14 feet. Work will entail bringing the material up a steep rocky point as well as up the 41-foot tower." (The Record-Courier)

June 7, 1949:
"45' pole lookout platform at Pogue Point replaced with new 41' CT-2 tower with 14' x 14' L.O. house. $287.92" "Tear down as is of no further value at Pogue Point" "Torn down - as authorized" (Report of surplus or unserviceable property)

June 26, 1952: "Mr. and Mrs. Zelador from Texas arrived last week to spend the summer. Mr. Zelador has employment with the forest service crew, and will be stationed at Pogues Point as fire lookout, sometime in July." (The Record-Courier)

September 6, 1962:
"The lookouts in the Unity area are no longer manned by the summer personnel. Bob Fiore, who has been at Pogue Point, has returned to his home in Massachusetts. Replaced by Mr. and Mrs. John Hauk." (The Record-Courier

October 3, 1963:
"Roy Howard is stationed at Pogue Point Lookout during the fire danger season." (The Record-Courier)

September 8, 1966:
"Bill Clark has resigned and Terry Heath is taking his job at Pogue Point lookout." (The Record-Courier)

September 7, 1967:
"Patti Trimble will be working at Pogue Point Lookout for a couple weeks." (The Record-Courier)

During the winter the tower was demolished.


Looking north ish. Just off to the right down the hill to the parking area I found the cement pad for the outhouse.

Looking south

NE towards Baker

From there we took some back roads to take a look at Unity Reservoir north of Unity, OR.

Road a few more logging roads, OHV trail and old sections Hwy 26 back to camp to load up and head home from a nice weekend ride.

Unfortunately, this was the last camp trip for my riding pard Georgie. She lived a long good life and I'll spare you the details but she was pretty sick from kidney failure and old age. It was time and she'll be missed.

Georgie 9/3/18 She was the best dog I ever had.

604 Posts
Great ride. Great story telling. Great pics. The Old Yeller ending always draws a few tears. Nothing beats a faithful companion. Thanks for the share Admiral.
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