9:00 - 0 miles / 0 - 9:00
A Tree City USA, La Grande was established at a popular rest stop along the Historic Oregon Trail. A wide variety of travel services and proximity to varied terrain make La Grande a popular recreation base for cyclists, hikers, hunters, fishermen, skiers, as well as snowmobile and ATV enthusiasts. Enjoy excellent wildlife viewing nearby, exceptional fall colors and year-round cultural events at Eastern Oregon University. Walking tours highlight the community's historic homes, urban forest and commercial Historic District. Summer weekends are filled with annual festivals and rodeos. Signs of this region's timber and agriculture-based economy abound.
Look on the outskirts of town for for fields of bright yellow Canola (for oil), mint, alfalfa, wheat, barley, garbanzo beans, seed potatoes and world famous turf grass seed.
11:00 - 11.0 miles / 22 minutes - 11:22
Historic Elgin Opera House and Museum
Built in 1912, the beautifully restored and acoustically perfect Elgin Opera House is home to the Elgin Museum and occasionally hosts movies, concerts, and tours.
11:52 - 7.7 miles / 15 minutes - 12:07
The former location of Fort Baker and a trading area since the 1880s, Elgin is a gateway to outstanding outdoor recreation in the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests. Home to cattle, grain, and hay producers as well as mill and timber workers, this little community hosts the roaring Elgin Stampede PRCA Rodeo each July. The beautifully restored Opera House presents movies, concerts and live theater. It also houses the community's historical museum. The Grande Ronde River flows through town, providing ample opportunity to raft, fish and enjoy the scenery. A scenic side trip to the north will take you to the Looking Glass Fish Hatchery.
12:37 - 11.6 miles / 23 minutes - 13:00
The Minam and Wallowa Rivers meet here and flow into the Grande Ronde River a few miles down stream. Segments of all three rivers have earned Wild and
Scenic designation The rivers offer excellent steelhead fishing, rafting, and year-round wildlife viewing. In winter, watch for bald eagles and other raptors. From here, the Byway climbs through a series of valleys
toward the majestic Wallowa Mountains. Notice how crops vary along the route. Use caution, you'll be sharing the road with log trucks, horse trailers and cattle trucks. The train tracks you cross at Minam were recently rescued from salvage by the Union and Wallowa County governments and are now used for hauling freight and operation of the Eagle Cap Excursion Train.
14:30 - 1.3 miles / 2 minutes - 14:33
At this tiny turn-of-the century town, visit secondhand stores or rest a while on a wooden bench in front of the combination sporting goods, grocery, and dry goods store. Lostine comes alive during the town's big 4th of July Flea Market. Numerous Forest Service roads in the vicinity provide access to year-round recreation in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. A side trip up the crystal clear Lostine River leads to rustic campgrounds, trailheads, and breathtaking scenery.
14:58 - 11.5 miles / 23 minutes - 15:21
"Wa-Lç-wah" shares its Nez Perce name with the mountains, lake, river and valley you're now entering. The Wallowa Band of the Nez Perce knew the area for its great fishing - Wallowa is the name of the tripod used to support their fish nets. The band gathers here for TamKaLiks, an annual Friendship Feast and Pow Wow each July. Residents depend on the land for farming, ranching, logging and milling and the headquarters of the Wallowa Union Railroad and the Eagle Cap Excursion Train are located here. The Byway continues along the bubbling Wallowa and Lostine Rivers.
17:21 - 7.6 miles / 15 minutes - 17:36
Named for young Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Tribe, this town is now a flourishing art community with a national reputation for its top quality bronze foundries and galleries. The summer is full of events--from art and music festivals to the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo. Most galleries and shops are open year-round, as are museums with Indian artifacts and early history collections.
Joseph makes a great base for an extended exploration of Hells Canyon or Eagle Cap Wilderness.
20:36 - 8.2 miles / 16 minutes - 9:52
Hells Canyon Overlook
The paved overlook provides outstanding views of McGraw Creek, Hells Canyon, and the Seven Devils Mountains. From the 5,400 foot high canyon rim, visitors can enjoy sweeping views and interesting displays about the canyon formation.
10:37 - 7.3 miles / 14 minutes - 10:52
Named in 1897 for the rich soil settlers found here, the area still supports farmers and ranchers and now hosts the fishing and boating enthusiasts who recreate on nearby Brownlee and Oxbow reservoirs. Look for the Hole-in-the-Wall Landslide, between mile posts #30 and #31. The 1984 landslide covered the road and temporarily dammed the Powder River.
11:07 - 22.4 miles / 44 minutes - 11:52
Salt Creek Summit
In summer this is a hiking trailhead area; in winter, it's the end of the paved road and the entrance to a snowy playground. Ahead are Lick Creek Campground and Guard Station, listed on the National Historic Register, and Ollokot Campground, a site historically used by the Nez Perce Tribe and named after Young Chief Joseph's brother. Side trips off this segment include: (1) Hells Canyon Overlook, at milepost 29 for expansive views of canyon country and (2) Snake River Segment, at the junction with Highway 86, to enjoy the riverside campgrounds and the chance to fish, boat and raft the Snake River.
12:22 - 6.6 miles / 13 minutes - 12:35
National Historic Oregon Trail Center
Stand for a moment in history. Marvel at the courage and hardships of pioneers on their 2,000 mile trek to the promised land of Oregon's Willamette valley, still 300 miles away. Themes include the explorers, mining and settlement history.
15:35 - 105.0 miles / 3 hours 30 minutes - 19:05
Hells Canyon Scenic Byway - end