Baker County: Base Camp for Winter Adventure
An Oregon Wintercation in Baker County
Escape to winter solitude in Baker County, where you’ll find miles of snowshoe and snowmobile trails, Bald Eagles and Rocky Mountain elk and plenty of powder. Here are a few ideas to start planning your wintercation here:
Ski Fresh Powder at Anthony Lakes Ski Area
Powder enthusiasts will find some of Oregon’s best at Anthony Lakes Ski Area, boasting the highest base elevation of any ski resort in Oregon and some of the best powder in the Northwest. Looking for extreme adventure? Try a cat skiing trip off the back side of the mountain. For those looking for a little less adrenaline, the Anthony Lakes Nordic Center offers nearly 19 miles of cross country and snowshoe trails, including several dog-friendly trails.
Snowshoe or Snowmobile in the Blue Mountains or the Wallowas
Snowmobile through the majestic scenery of more than 900 miles of trails in the Blue Mountains and Wallowas. From the towns of Unity or Sumpter, explore the Burnt River Canyon and Elkhorn Mountains, or head to Halfway and spend your days exploring the Wallowa Mountains.
Or, strap on your snowshoes! Avid snowshoers and novices alike will enjoy great snowshoe experiences from the trails at Anthony Lakes Nordic Center, to the scenic Shoreline Trail along the Elkhorn Scenic Byway and the meandering trails through the the Sumpter Dredge State Heritage Area.
Watch Bald Eagles in Hells Canyon
Find winter solitude and commune with nature at the bottom of Hells Canyon, one of the most remote places in the Pacific Northwest. The well-maintained road from Baker City to Hells Canyon Dam takes you through an environment where your senses will awaken as you travel through a picturesque, undisturbed landscape teaming with wildlife including Bald Eagles and Big Horn sheep, abundant in the canyon during the winter. Spend the evening at the Hells Canyon Adventures Lodge on the cliff overlooking the Hells Canyon Reservoir, and revel in the winter night sky.
Elk Feeding Tours and Watchable Wildlife
Wander through a herd of Rocky Mountain elk on a horse-drawn wagon at the foothills of the Elkhorn Mountain. This unique wildlife viewing opportunity often brings visitors to within feet of 100 to 250 of Rocky Mountain elk. Narration is provided by Susan Triplett and Alice Trindle, who discuss the life cycles of the elk, the reason for the feed program, and the partnership with the ranchers and hunters of the area.
Explore Historic Baker City
Enjoy a romantic winter getaway at the beautifully restored Geiser Grand Hotel and laugh at Ol’ Man Winter while riding in an open horse-drawn sleigh through the streets of Historic Baker City! Stop off at a roaring bonfire on the Powder River; enjoy s’mores, hot cocoa, or spiced cider while toe tappin’ old time cowboy songs play. The next day, enjoy a leisurely morning exploring the numerous galleries, gift shops and restaurants throughout one of the West Coast’s largest historic downtown district and see for yourself why Rand McNally and USA Today named Baker City one of their six most beautiful small towns in the US in 2011 and 2012.
About the Author: Emily Forsha
Emily Forsha is Travel Oregon’s content editor and a runner, hiker and biker of many Oregon trails. When she’s not road tripping around the state with her husband and two little boys, this proud native Oregonian is cooking up new recipes in her kitchen, sampling the latest craft brews and cheering on her beloved Oregon Ducks.
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