Travel East to Experience the Old West
Take the road less traveled and explore Oregon’s Western heritage, including its rich Native American legacy. Drive on Interstate-84 to Exit 216, just four miles east of Pendleton, to experience life on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Here you can visit one of the top-ranked tribal museums in the nation, Tamástslikt Cultural Institute. This state-of-the-art interpretive center features an awe-inspiring permanent exhibit presenting the region’s story from the perspective of the Walla Walla, Cayuse and Umatilla Tribes. The rich traditions of these tribes have existed for over 150 years, and continue to thrive through various amenities provided by the Umatilla Reservation. Interactive displays and gallery exhibitions make up the newest addition, the Living Cultural Village. In these displays, local history is interpreted and brought to life through the voices of the tribe’s ancestors using historic documents, priceless art and life-like visuals. Continue your experience over lunch at the Kinship Café which offers a delectable selection of hot soup, sandwiches, and pastries, all under the majestic gaze of the Blue Mountains.
Spend the night at Wildhorse Resort and Casino; a tribally owned and operated facility – recharge at either the 100-space RV Park or their newly remodeled hotel, complete with luxurious suites, a swimming pool & hot tub.
Things to Do
Winter Sports: If you’re serious about pushing powder, the expansive landscapes of Eastern Oregon are a perfect winter playground! Horseshoe Prairie and Meacham Divide are ideal places for Nordic Skiing and snowshoeing. Equipment rentals and trail information is available at Blue Mountain Sports, located in both Pendleton and La Grande. An Eastern Oregon skiing experience is incomplete without a trip to Ski Anthony Lakes. With the highest base elevation of any ski area in the state (7,100 feet) and located in the Elkhorn Ridge of the Blue Mountains, Anthony Lakes has the perfect recipe for light, dry snow.
Historical Tours: Drive into town and tour the original Pendleton Woolen Mills; visit the “real west” through Pendleton’s Underground Tours, experience Eastern Oregon’s unique history through the Umatilla County Historical Museum, and saddle up for the Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Hall of Fame.
Relaxation: Traveling deeper into the Reservation and up the Umatilla River, you will find Bar M Ranch and Bingham Hot Springs. Here you’ll enjoy great food, cozy cabin rooms, and relaxing dips in a pool fed by a hot springs waterfall. Located deep in the timberlands, Bar M Ranch and Bingham Hot Springs will help you break away from your busy schedule. After a day or two of hiking, horseback riding, and sitting by the fireside, you may never want to leave. Before you go home, however, be sure to stop by Raphael’s in downtown Pendleton for a delicious dinner featuring Native inspired dishes like rabbit and rattlesnake sausage, smoked prime rib, venison and pheasant.
Before you know it, you’ll be catching yourself plan your second or even third trip to Umatilla Indian Reservation. Your Eastern Oregon experience is guaranteed to spark your desire to travel…soon you will be packing your bags for excursions throughout the entire state; Be warned, you may even decide to take a permanent vacation here!
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