I couldn’t have been more excited when I was watching this youtube video and then saw an advertisement for Travel Oregon. It was featuring one of our most favorite places: the Wallowa Mountains in The Northeast corner of Oregon. I’m not going to lie, it’s a long freaking drive to get there. Some parts of the drive are breathtakingly beautiful (such as the Columbia River Gorge). Other parts of the drive? Meh. There are plenty of opportunities to stop off on important parts of the Oregon Trail if you are interested in history though!
With the clear blue waters, snow covered mountains and small town charm; Joseph and Enterprise Oregon make the perfect Pacific Northwest retreat. We always camp at Wallowa Lake State Park for $20 a night but there are a number of hotels located in the area as well. The wildlife here is incredible and you are bound to see multiple deer each day as they tend to roam the park looking for food left out. We watched our neighbors campsite get pillaged by deer one day when they failed to store their food properly.
Our favorite thing to do in this stunning area is to take the boat out on Wallowa Lake. If you don’t own a boat there’s a variety of boats available to rent at the marina; including canoes and paddle boats. There is excellent fishing in the lake, which actually is where the worlds largest kokanee salmon was caught in 2010 (weighing in at more than 9.5 lbs!).
Other activities include copious amounts of hiking, miniature golf and ice cream just up the road from the camp ground, and taking a day trip to raft down the Snake River in Idaho.
Swimming is possible in the lake during summer as well (but beware- it is cold!). There is a swimming area on land and docks spread throughout the lake. We had a blast taking our Lab to the dock one day to play fetch.
Wallowa Lake Tramway
There are numerous hiking options in the Wallowa Mountains as well. The most popular seem to be those on top of Mount Howard. The Wallowa Lake Tramway takes visitors 3700 feet up to the top. There is a restaurant on top of the mountain as well as numerous trails. We skipped the restaurant, as the tram ticket isn’t cheap at $28/pp. The views are beyond breathtaking though, so it was worth it to at least do it once. The numerous squirrels living in the rocks on top of the mountain were quite entertaining as well.
Special Events Include
*Chief Joseph Days: It is usually held the last week of July and showcases a Joseph Bank Robbery reenactment…which was something I totally believed was real when I was a child!
*Eagle Cap Extreme Dog Sled Race: Something I have yet to see but think of every January! A dog sled race through the rugged Wallowa Mountains which is held every winter.