Surrounded by the remote Eagle Cap Wilderness, glacial lakes, working ranches and the wide open spaces of Eastern Oregon, The Wallowas are one of Oregon’s most beautiful secrets. Here are some spots you won’t want to miss when you go see them for yourself:

Ghost Towns: Thanks in large part to the gold rush of the 19th century, Eastern Oregon is home to more than a dozen officially designated ghost towns, many of them former gold mining settlements. Look for the near-ghost town of Sumpter, Cornucopia and Homestead.

Joseph: With the magnificent Wallowa Mountains as its backdrop, it’s easy to see why Joseph developed into a town filled with artists. Discover art galleries and life-sized bronze sculptures on the downtown Joseph Art Walk. Sip on Western flavor at the Stein Distillery tasting room, where the spirits are distilled from grain grown on the owners’ family farm. Try a dark chocolate mocha from Arrowhead Chocolates and pick up some salted caramels for the road.

Eastern Oregon Brews Byway: Visit Barley Brown’s in Baker City to get a taste of the Eastern Oregon Brews Byway, which celebrates the delicious craft beer and gorgeous landscapes of Oregon.

The Oregon Trail: Don’t miss the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, where you can see the original ruts carved by the pioneer wagons that made the 2,000-mile journey to Oregon during the 1800s.

Wallowa Lake Tramway: If you want to scale a mountain but aren’t quite ready for a climb, the Wallowa Lake Tramway will take you up 3,700 feet to the summit of Mt. Howard, at 8,150 feet. Give yourself time to explore the 2-mile hiking loop atop Mt. Howard, where you can see the high desert of Indian country roll out in front of you in one direction, and then turn around and see past Hells Canyon into the next state. (Note: the tramway reopens for the summer months in mid-May.)

Hells Canyon: You can see a lot from high atop the Wallowas, including the very top of Hells Canyon, a 10-mile canyon carved by the Snake River that’s deeper than the Grand Canyon and a great place for camping, fishing, rafting and jet boating. And there’s no better way to road trip around the Wallowas than taking the scenic route on the beautiful Hells Canyon Scenic Byway.

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.

This Oregon Story includes one of Oregon’s Seven Wonders. See one, or better yet, see them all!

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  1. Ken Smith says…

    Ah, Joseph. I’ve worked at the tram, eat Arrowhead Chocolates and visit Embers each time I visit. I’m related to the Steins of Stein Distillery. Married my wife of 35 years in the old Walter Brennen theater ( now Joseph Baptist Church ). Truly one of the great wonders of Oregon!

    Written on March 6th, 2014 / Flag this Comment
  2. jo hallam says…

    born and raised in this beautiful land. came into the world in enterprise, oregon on october 13, 1930. lived there until l949. again lived in the valley from 1991 – 2001. involved with tamkaliks celebration since l991. if you want to experience a native american celebration, join us on the third weekend of july each year. July 17, 18, 19, 2014. many of the indian attendees are descendants of the wallowa band chief joseph family group.. lots of dancing for everyone, lots of traditional ceremonies including a nez perce religious ceremony, friendship feast on sunday morning (free) where the indians bring salmon, elk, a local donor contributes a buffalo (raised locally), and the non-indian attendees bring the rest for a great feast. no entry fee, bring your tent, trailer or what ever and stay on the powwow grounds (no fee)with showers (small fee), restrooms. outstanding hiking trail about three or four miles, depending which way you go. great time for all regardless of age, gender or physical condition. every time i go back to wallowa country is like returning to heaven. remember july 17 – 19, 2014, wallowa, oregon (only 20 miles from wallowa lake.)

    Written on June 1st, 2014 / Flag this Comment
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