The road from Portland to Pendleton is 200+ miles of rich landscapes and adventure. Award-winning photographer Susan Seubert made the trek for the world-famous Pendleton Round-Up, one of the largest rodeo celebrations in the world. Held during the first full week of September each year since 1910, the Round-Up attracts thousands of people to the city of Pendleton in Eastern Oregon, where cowboys, craftspeople and Native American culture still thrive.


Double Mountain Brewery, Hood River, Oregon

Greetings from Hood River!

Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom serves up brick oven pizzas along side a quiver of robustly flavored ales, like the Molten Lava ale, shown here. Don’t worry if you’re the designated driver because you can also enjoy the Oh Man! draft root beer. Fifty percent of all sales of this fine non-alcoholic libation are donated to local organizations and families battling cancer. Pictured here is the Heirloom Pie, only available during peak local heirloom tomato season, which is now!

Rowena Crest Overlook, Columbia River Gorge, The Dalles, OR

Rowena Curves

The beautiful curves of the Historic Columbia River Highway are no more visible than from the Rowena Crest Viewpoint just east of Hood River. Built in the early 20th century, this scenic highway was constructed as a destination as well as serving the purpose of transportation. If you need a place to walk off that pizza, the 2.5-mile Rowena Plateau Trail can be accessed here, too.

Petite Provence, The Dalles, OR

The Dalles

Satisfy your sweet tooth and get your coffee fix in The Dalles at Petite ProvenceThis French bistro has perfect cappuccino and gorgeous sweets like the Trio Chocolate (pictured here) made from chocolate cake layered with white, dark and milk chocolate mousse.

Montana Peaks Hat Company in Pendleton, Oregon

Montana Peaks Hat Company

Montana Peaks Hat Company owner Laura Wortman and her partner Richard Blackburn make custom cowboy hats using only materials made in the United States.

Located in downtown Pendleton, Montana Peaks Hat Company is one of 100 remaining independent hat makers in the country. They regularly supply hats to everyone from Hollywood movie-makers looking for the authentic look to locals wanting custom head-wear.

Stapleman Boot Company in Pendleton, Oregon

Stapleman Custom Boot Shop

The owner of Stapleman Custom Boot Shop in downtown Pendleton, Richard Stapleman, makes custom cowboy boots completely by hand. He is pictured here working on a pair of boots made from cartreuse leather that are for a pair of size 12.5 feet.

As he said, “you won’t be able to miss those boots.”

The motto of the shop is, “Part artwork, part footwear, all fancy.”

Pendleton Round Up Rodeo, Pendleton OR, USA

Let ‘Er Buck!

Cowboy Chuck Schmidt wows the crowd in the Saddle Bronc competition at the Round-Up Rodeo. The Pendleton Round-Up has been running since 1910 and is America’s largest 4-day rodeo, happening annually during the second full week in September. The event attracts some 50,000 people to the area and includes a large Native American component.

Pendleton Round Up Rodeo, Pendleton OR, USA

Indian Village

Joseph and his father Jeffrey Thomas of the Puyallup Tribe stand in the Indian Village at the Pendleton Round-Up. Joseph (pictured on the left) has attended every Round-Up since he was born.

Each year members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla come to the Round-Up; this year there are some 300 teepees at the village.

Native American Beauty Pageant

The Native American Beauty Pageant takes place on Pendleton’s Main Street during the Round-Up. Contestants are judged on the age and authenticity of the regalia and their poise. Pictured here is Kaia John, 16, of the Walla Walla tribe.

Pendleton Round Up Rodeo, Pendleton OR, USA

Barrel Race

Cowgirl Kristine Knauf of Wisconsin warms up her horse in advance of the barrel race. Barrel Riding is a timed event in which the contestant attempts to ride around a preset course in a clover leaf pattern as fast as possible. This is Kristine’s second trip to the Pendleton Round-Up to participate in the rodeo.

The Rainbow Cafe, Pendleton, OR

Rainbow Cafe

The historic Rainbow Cafe in downtown Pendleton is a much loved local bar and restaurant that’s been in business for 125 years. Famous for its neon and Western ephemera, this beloved local spot is an American classic.

The Happy Canyon Performance at the Pendleton Round Up Rodeo, Pendleton OR, USA

Native American Pow Wow

Don’t miss the Native American Pow Wow dance competitions. Dancers from different tribes are divided up in groups based on age and gender. Pictured here is Jonathan Sampson of the Yakima Tribe who placed second in the young men’s competition. The gathering is open to the public and people can either sit in the stands or come out on to the field to watch the dancing and meet the dancers.

Pendleton Round Up Rodeo, Pendleton OR, USA

National competition

Cowboy Cole Elshere from Faith, South Dakota is one of more than 700 cowboys who participate in rodeo events at the Pendleton Round-Up — many of them traveling great distances to compete.


This is Susan Seubert signing off from Pendleton. I’ve really enjoyed spending time in this beautiful area of Oregon!

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

About the Author: Susan Seubert

Susan Seubert is an award-winning travel and editorial photographer with work in more than 25 National Geographic Traveler feature stories. Her accolades include an Alfred Eisenstadt Award from Columbia University and a North American Travel Journalists Association Gold Award. Susan regularly lectures about her work at prestigious institutions such as Harvard University and the Portland Art Museum. Based in Oregon and Hawaii, Susan travels the world capturing a sense of place through wide-ranging imagery.

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Have something to say? Your Comment

  1. Ann Scott says…

    Susan, I loved your article and beautiful photographs. I feel like you were there with me snaping up and journaling all the important parts of my Pendleton weekend. I’m not sure if it was your first weekend, but it was mine, and everything you captured was what I was told to get a glimpse at. So, nice article! I loved it.

    Written on September 20th, 2016 / Flag this Comment
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