Day 8: John Day to Baker City
(Driving time: 133 miles/3.25 hours)
Head northeast out of John Day on Highway 7 toward Baker City. In the fall, the gold larch trees shine brightly out of the forest on this quiet country road, which is part of the Journey Through Time Scenic Byway.
Stop in Prairie City for a cup of coffee, a bite to eat or an overnight at the charming Historic Hotel Prairie. Be sure to spend some time at the Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area at the base of the Elkhorn Mountain Range. This waterway was the lifeline of the mining industry here more than 100 years ago.
Head north into the mountains toward Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort. In summer the hiking and mountain biking here in the Elkhorns is undiscovered and unparalleled; in winter the family-friendly ski area has downhill skiing as well as miles of Nordic track and great backcountry access.
Onward to Baker City, where you can explore the history of the Oregon Trail at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, where you’ll learn the story of the 400,000 pioneers who came west between the 1830s and 1860s. Take a self-guided walking tour of Historic Baker City with a map from the chamber of commerce, which outlines the more than 100 buildings of historic significance in this classic western town. Don’t miss the beautifully restored Geiser Grand Hotel, Barley Brown’s brewpub and Peterson’s Gallery and Chocolatier.