Eastern Oregon Search Results
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!
Pendleton is a great place to get a sense of the Native American, pioneer and cowboy history of Oregon. This guide will give you an overview of the history-related activities. Not to be missed are the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute and The Umatilla County Historical Museum.
The town is most renowned for the annual Pendleton Roundup Rodeo. If you’d like to travel there at that time, you will want to book your accommodations well in advance.
We are travelling along I-84 from Pendleton, Oregon to Salt Lake City, Utah. Are there any State Parks that are close to (or along) that stretch of I-84? –Zig
Between Pendleton and the Oregon-Idaho border, there are 4 state parks close to I-84.
Heading west to east, they are:
You might also consider stopping near Baker City at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center open 9-4 daily until December.
You’re headed in the right direction for ghost towns. There are several near Baker City, including Bourne and Whitney, but they’re still a bit of a drive off I-84. If you pick up Highway 7 west of Baker City, you’ll traverse the Sumpter Valley to the near-ghost town of Sumpter, 28 miles away, which is a beautiful drive with good photo opportunities of the rural landscape.
If you have less time, I recommend visiting the historic district of Baker City. Here’s an excerpt from a Travel Oregon article:
Today, Baker City’s historic downtown boast more than 100 buildings on the National register of historic places including the beautifully restored Geiser Grand Hotel, and the monumental Carnegie Library now restored and home to the Crossroads Art Center. The downtown is full of locally owned shops, restaurants and galleries. The Leo Adler Memorial Pathway now follows the Powder River through the historic downtown and surrounding neighborhoods connecting them with the iconic Geiser Pollman Baker Heritage Museum and the Baker City Sports Complex.
Also convenient for the traveler is The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, which lies east of Baker City. It features living history exhibits and interpretive trails bringing the experience of immigrants to life.
Honestly, I have never had a bad hike in the Eagle Cap because it is big enough to absorb the few people who venture in each summer.
I love Glacier Lake and topping out on Eagle Cap is terrific. Bonney Lakes are at a lower elevation and can be buggy depending on the year. Certainly the Lakes Basin is the most popular camping spot, but again, I’ve never experienced crowds.
I would like to visit Eastern Oregon. I know it is very remote, so I would like to know the places to see by car. I plan for 3-4 days on the road, after which I will return to Portland. Any suggestions on where to go?
Eastern Oregon is off the beaten path, but you’ve planned the right amount of time for exploring it by car. There are several incredible summer routes, depending on how far you want to venture and your interests.
Here are two dramatic driving routes to check out with key points of interest:
Since you only have a few days, you will probably want to make a loop out of one of these driving routes. I recommend a different stop each night to get the full experience and to lighten the driving load.
I will be traveling from Portland to Baker City and want to take 2 days for the trip. I love art/sculpture, local crafts, scenery and small towns. Can you suggest a good overnight point for my first night?
I recommend a driving route on the Old West Highway (26) that will take you over Mt Hood, through small towns along Highway 26 and along the scenic John Day River directly to Baker City. The total driving time is about 7 hours.
For your first night—if you’re up for driving—is the quaint town of Mitchell, Oregon, about 4 hours away from Portland. If you’d like to save the bulk of your driving and sightseeing for the next day, treat yourself to a night at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.
A great music festival is the The Bronze, Blues & Brews music festival. Over Labor Day weekend is Juniper Jam, a great showcase of regional musicians in the folk/rock tradition. I highly recommend both. Two important cultural festivals include the Maxville Gathering that celebrates the logging history in Oregon and the annual Nez Perce art show. One of the biggest and most celebrated festivals is the Pendleton Roundup in September.
If there’s a particular type of festival or one in another part of Eastern Oregon you’d like to know more about, please let me know.
Two days in Oregon will give you time to explore the Oregon Trail and native American history, including the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute around Pendleton or further east in Baker City at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Check out geologic history in the Painted Hills and the John Day Fossil Beds, including the amazing Thomas Condon Paleontology Center. If you’re looking for wilderness adventure, head to the Wallowa Mountains in the northeastern corner of the state or the Steens in Southeastern Oregon. For a great overview and idea planning, I recommend you start here.