Seems like every spring people start searching, wanting to know if the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway road between Joseph and Halfway is open. Here we are after Easter 2011 and it's not yet open for the season--sometime in May is more like it. This road is not plowed so the opening date is (among other things) weather dependent.
In late Spring 2010 the road suffered major damage in a few places from spring runoff. The roadbed was repaired by Fall 2010 but not paved in those damaged places. We're hoping that the paving will occur in Summer 2011. You can see an interesting video about the repair here (one of my blog posts from last year).
Does anyone have friends in high places? Would you please convince them we need this road paved soonest? And while you're at it, the rest of Forest Road 39 could use a new surfacing too! This road, as remote as it is, is very important to Eastern Oregon travel and the communities of Wallowa Lake, Joseph Oregon and Halfway Oregon to name a few.
If you're planning your Eastern Oregon vacation and want to know the status of the road, give the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest office a phone call at (541) 426-4978 and ask the Visitor Center. They are keepers of official word on the road.
In the meantime, please do check before planning to travel the center section of the Hells Canyon Byway. We hate it when our incoming guests have to backtrack over an hour of travel time to reach Joseph Oregon! And I'll keep my fingers crossed here at our Hells Canyon lodging that the road opens and stays open in 2011!