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Oregon Scenic Drives: Hells Canyon Scenic Byway

        Adventure | West

Highlights of Hells Canyon Scenic Byway
byways.org These two men are flyfishing on the Wallowa River, just off Hells Canyon Scenic Byway.
byways.org These two men are flyfishing on the Wallowa River, just off Hells Canyon Scenic Byway.

Travel the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, and see much of the majesty and mystery of the West within a 218-mile corridor. The magnificent Snake River twists and churns over boulders and past towering cliffs. Pungent sagebrush and bunch grasses cover the flats and crouch at the feet of dramatic rock formations.

Sparkling streams tumble through thick forests of pine and mixed conifers. Lush valleys lie at the feet of magnificent mountain ranges with peaks that tower to nearly 10,000 feet. Fields of hay, wheat, grass, mint, and canola color the valley floor. Cattle, sheep, and horses graze on a menu of sweet clover and timothy. Historic barns and houses bring human warmth and scale to the dramatic scenery.

The following scenic tour gives you a chance to enjoy the highlights of this byway (from west to east).

Wallowa Mountains Visitor Center: Start your summer tour at midday so you can go to the Wallowa Mountains Visitor Center (about half a mile northwest of Enterprise) to get current and detailed information about camps and hikes in the area. Spend the night camping in the Wallowa Mountains or beside the Imnaha River.

Wallowa Lake: Visit Wallowa Lake (about six miles south of Joseph), and relax for a few hours of swimming, fishing, boating, or hiking. You can also take a tram from here to the peak of Mount Howard and enjoy wonderful views.

Hells Canyon Overlook: Next, visit the Hells Canyon Overlook. The overlook is about 30 miles along the byway from the lake. This is a staggering view, 5,400 feet above the canyon floor.

Snake River: In Copperfield (about 15 miles south), secure a jet boat tour on the Snake River. You can also rent rafts and such here.

Hole-in-the-Wall Slide: After a few hours of enjoying the Snake River, end your day at the Hole-in-the-Wall Slide. The geographically intriguing slide is about 30 miles southwest of Copperfield.

Whether it's winter, spring, summer, or fall, the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway lines up plenty of amazing things to do and see any time of year.

Find more useful information related to Oregon's Hells Canyon Scenic Byway:

  • Oregon Scenic Drives: Hells Canyon Scenic Byway is just one of the scenic byways in Oregon. Check out the others.
  • Baker City, Joseph, Lagrande: Read about what to do in cities along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway.
  • Scenic Drives: Are you interested in scenic drives beyond Oregon? Here are more than 100 scenic drives throughout the United States.
  • How to Drive Economically: Fuel economy is a major concern when you're on a driving trip. Learn how to get better gas mileage.
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