Despite officially being named Halfway because it is midway between Pine and Cornucopia, I think the town’s founders were absolutely on track, thinking they were halfway to heaven.
Halfway is fully ringed by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, the Eagle Cap Wilderness to the north and Hells Canyon National Recreation Area to the east. There truly are so many sites to behold, in every direction I look. How lucky are the 337 folks who call Halfway home, including former Olympic cyclist Inga Thompson and Babette Beatty, the first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model? It’s like they’ve won the geographic lottery.
While the town has primarily been a farming and ranching community — with brief stints in mining, a small gold rush and a dotcom attraction — today Halfway is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. It also is the home of the Baker County Fair and Panhandle Rodeo. In 2005, Cycle Oregon donated $50,000 to the Pine Valley Fair Association to help save their fairgrounds as it is such an important part of their community and Baker County.
Tourists can learn more about the history of Halfway by visiting the Pine Valley Community Museum, famous for its mounted animal exhibit, including the largest Rocky Mountain Elk ever taken in Pine Valley. Halfway also boasts a few longstanding events visitors might time trips to, including the Crab Feed and the Pine Fest Music Festival.
Cyclists can venture out onto the Blue Mountain Century Scenic Bikeway while those who prefer hiking can hit trails like Sawtooth Crater and Horses Lake/Bucktooth Crossing. In winter, the town is a popular spot for snowmobilers, with a vast network of groomed trails connecting hundreds of miles of scenic backcountry. This year, a Cycle Oregon grant helped finance the purchase of a Nordic groomer for $2,500.
In town, tourists might try Wild Bill’s Restaurant and Lounge for a home-style meal, or Nella’s Kitchen for some tasty treats. Visitors have a few choices for lodging, from rustic Western-style inns like the Pine Valley Lodge, the Halfway Motel & RV Park or the Clear Creek Farm Bed & Breakfast. Wherever people choose to stay, they’ll likely have breathtaking views of perhaps one of the most scenic places on the planet.