Eastern Oregon Search Results

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What hikes near La Grande do you suggest?

The city of La Grande is home to a lot of great hikes, including the Mount Emily Recreation Area (MERA). At 3,669 acres, MERA is one of the most elite trail systems in Eastern Oregon — plus it’s only two miles from downtown La Grande.

If you have a day to spare, I highly recommend traveling a little more east to Wallowa Lake, just four miles past the town of Joseph. It’s a beautiful part of Oregon that I encourage everyone to go check out. The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has great day hiking areas.


Answered by Emily Palmer, Ask Oregon Eastern Oregon Expert on August 29th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

Is the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway appropriate for a 35′ motorhome to drive?

The Hells Canyon Scenic Byway is a great drive for visitors! You get some great stops with amazing views. Did you know that Hells Canyon is the deepest gorge in North America?

The road itself is nice and well kept. I have a lot of folks come through with large vehicles and RVs. Parking at some of the view points could be tricky, but I wouldn’t be too worried. Road 39, by Halfway, is gravel and can have some small washboards during some parts of the year.

If you are needing more information on this, I recommend contacting the Wallowa Chamber of Commerce.

Is part of the Oregon Trail still visible in Eastern Oregon?

There are two great spots that I would suggest to see the Oregon Trail. One is Blue Mountain Crossing, just off I-84, about nine miles west of La Grande. It’s a half-mile paved, easy accessible trail that follows some of the best preserved and most scenic traces of the Oregon Trails. Blue Mountain Crossing has discovery trails where you can literally walk in the footsteps of the pioneers. Plus, there are benches and picnic tables where you can rest.

The second spot I suggest is the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City. This is a great museum that offers you with a hike out to see the wagon ruts. Managed by the BLM, the center tells the story of emigrants through exhibits, program, films and special events. Specifically, the center focuses on six themes related to westward migration and settlement: pioneer life on the Oregon Trail, mountain men and early trail travelers, Native Americans along the Oregon Trail, natural history along the trail and in Eastern Oregon, mining and early settlement, and the history of the general land office.

From northern Idaho, what’s the best Oregon destination?

Wallowa Lake is close to the Idaho boarder and offers visitors with some amazing hiking and sightseeing opportunities. As far as overnight stays, there is a great state park at the lake, where you can camp, in addition to many different cabins and hotels right there. Joseph is a nice place to visit and stay; there are a lot of unique stores and places to eat. Also, not far away, Hells Canyon is good on sunny days and is a nice place to explore.

Where can we get the best view of the Wallowas?

There is a tramway at Wallowa Lake that goes up 3,700 feet to the summit of Mount Howard. The Wallowa Lake Tramway is the steepest tram in North America and ascends above the Wallowa Lake Village and Wallowa Lake. Taking the gondola gives you some of the most incredible views in Eastern Oregon. Back on the ground, you can extend your stay at some great campsites and cabins at Wallowa Lake.

What is the best way to see Jordan Valley by car?

This is a really great question! I actually took a driving tour through this same area of Oregon at the end of October last fall. So, for starters, I’d say that time is one of the best to go. I don’t think you’d want to go any later than the middle of November (too cold!) and no sooner than August (too hot!).

If you start your road trip near Burns, you can drive through both Malheur and Mud Lakes (they’re not really lakes, more or less dried up lake beds). This area of Oregon is completely different from any other I’ve experienced but it was mesmerizing how big the sky was and how nice the people were. From there, you can continue southeast on the 205 through Frenchglen. I’d recommend staying at the Frenchglen Hotel. It’s a quaint hotel that was built in 1916 by a meat-packing company but now hosts five rooms for guests. Just across the road from the hotel is an awesome wildlife and bird viewing area. I walked around in there for about three hours and didn’t get bored once. Even in late October there were plenty of critters to see and there was a family of bald eagles nesting about 50 yards off the road. It was incredible! After leaving Frenchglen a fun option and short drive to the Pete French Round Barn is really cool. Otherwise, you can drive up to the top of Steens Mountain and look out at the Alvord Desert about 300 feet below you, stretching out for miles.

Other options would be to bypass the mountain road and take a dip in some of the local hot springs. Mickey Hot Springs and the Alvord Hot Springs were great and it only cost $5.00 to check them out and drop my toes in.

If you continue taking HWY 205 SE you’ll find yourself among one of the most jaw=dropping places in Oregon: the Alvord Desert. You can drive over and through it, you can camp in it, you can do just about anything you want to do there. It’s similar to the Salt Flats in Utah but way, way more intensely beautiful. And if you take the Fields-Dieno Road all the way back up to HWY 95 East, you’ll get to the Jordan Valley with some time to spare.

Answered by Kristen Mohror on March 30th, 2015 - Post Your Answer

Where can we have a dog sledding adventure this winter?

Did you know that the Wallowas are the site for the only qualifier for the Iditarod in the lower 48? The event is called the Eagle Cap Extreme and it’s held every January.

So, I’d recommend getting in touch with the organizers for more detailed information about routes in the Wallowas, and there are lodgings that accept dogs as well, including Barking Mad Farm.

That should certainly get you started in the right direction. Let me know if you need any more on-the-ground information.

Answered by Lynne Curry on October 31st, 2013 - Post Your Answer

Is September a good time to visit the Painted Hills?

September is an excellent time to visit the Painted Hills, since the days will still be sunny but cooler and more comfortable for seeing the sites. The main site of the Painted Hills, one of 3 units in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is just outside of Mitchell, OR. This is where you’ll find the closest lodging as well as restaurants.

This website gives you a great overview of the area with photos. http://mitchelloregon.us/

Here are links to available lodging:

The Oregon Hotel http://www.theoregonhotel.net/

Painted Hills Vacation Rentals http://www.paintedhillsvacation.com/accommodations.htm

Sky Hook Motel http://www.visiteasternoregon.com/entry/skyhook-motel/

The Painted Hills Cottage http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p164794

Answered by Lynne Curry on September 5th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

What’s the best route to see the John Day Fossil Beds?

You can make a great loop between Portland and John Day. The most exciting route will be to take Highway 26 all the way. It will take you over Mt Hood into central Oregon and through The Painted Hills. Total driving time is about 5 hours.

For a return trip, I recommend heading north through The John Day Fossil Beds on OR 19 to Arlington. There you will join Interstate 84 and make the riveting drive along the Columbia River and through the Columbia River Gorge. Driving time is about the same.

I think this is the most scenic tour that will offer up several slices of Oregon for you, though there are other variations. You will find lots of small towns and amenities along the way, which you can check out via traveloregon.com. You can also request printed travel guides.

Enjoy your trip!

Answered by Lynne Curry on May 30th, 2013 - Post Your Answer

What should I stop and see between Portland and Pendleton?

There are so very many things! I recommend you request the most current copy of the Travel Oregon Visitor’s Guide, which will serve you for this trip and many others since it covers the whole state, region by region from local travel experts.

As a frequent traveler on I-84 between Portland and Pendleton, I wish I stopped more often at natural sights along the way: Rooster Rock State Park and Multnomah Falls are quick, accessible stops that let you pause to appreciate the Columbia River Gorge. Hood River is always a good stopover for food and drink. Doppio on Oak has coffee and lite lunch fare. Sixth Street Bistro is also a recommended lunch spot. If you’re driving through during the dinner hour, Brian’s Poorhouse and Celilo are sit down options with good wine lists.

Another great way to stretch your legs is to look out for kite board beaches between Hood River and Arlington and pull in to watch.  I also recommend two natural areas: Deschutes River State Recreation Area, only a few miles off the freeway outside the Dalles (an important crossing point on The Oregon Trail) and McNary National Wildlife Refuge, which has hiking trails.

In Boardman, you can visit the state’s newest museum, the SAGE Center, slated to open in May. http://blog.oregonlive.com/terryrichard/2013/01/boardmans_interactive_sage_cen.html

If you’d like to jump off of the freeway to get a sense of the landscape along the Columbia Plateau, consider taking the Blue Mountain Scenic Highway. Exit I-84 to Highway 206 through Heppner to 395 and come in “the back way” to Pendleton.

Have a great road trip!

Answered by Lynne Curry on April 26th, 2013 - Post Your Answer
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