Eastern Oregon Search Results

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Are there campsites near the Painted Hills with restrooms?

Sounds like a really fun trip! The Painted Hills are one of my favorite places in Oregon, with a landscape that is both majestic and a little surreal when the sunlight hits it just right. One of the best campgrounds near the Painted Hills is the Clyde Holliday State Recreation Site, located between John Day and Mount Vernon right along the cool waters of the John Day River. This campground has both restrooms and hot showers available, and it has easy access for vehicles. The Mitchell City Park nearby also has restrooms but is in the town itself. To the west of the Painted Hills there is camping at Ochoco Divide that has restrooms and easy car access as well. The majority of other campgrounds in the area are considered primitive with less amenities.

The option for campfires in most places in Central and Eastern Oregon in August will be dependent on the posted level of fire danger, which at that time of year is likely to be high. Also keep in mind that many campgrounds in the region are already reserved for events surrounding the eclipse in later August, so try and beat the crowds by planning your trip early.

Information for the State Recreation Site is available here. Information for the Ochoco Divide Campground is available here. The National Park Service also has some helpful information about camping, information about the Painted Hills, and other services here.


What are the scenic backroads in Southeastern Oregon?

Southeast Oregon is a beautiful region with some great sightseeing opportunities. I love spending time in the city of Burns, they have some great parks and restaurants.

Also, the Alvord Desert and the Steens Mountains are in the region as well. These a great stops with exciting backroads.

I can recommend a few Scenic Byways in Southeast Oregon:

Answered by Emily Palmer on October 31st, 2016 - Post Your Answer

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 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.

Answered by Emily Palmer on August 1st, 2016 - Post Your Answer

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.

Answered by Emily Palmer on June 6th, 2016 - Post Your Answer

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.

Answered by Emily Palmer on May 2nd, 2016 - Post Your Answer

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.

Answered by Emily Palmer on April 21st, 2016 - Post Your Answer

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
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