2014 Is the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway Forest Road 39 open yet?

US Forest Service image of the Hells Canyon Scenic BywayIt seems like every year in May we hear variations on the same question:

Is the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road open yet?

Is the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway open yet?

Is Forest Road 39 or FR39 or Highway 39 open yet?

For 2014, it's going to be a little difficult to answer because there's already major reconstruction of this beloved road going on and it will continue through October 2014.  Fortunately for us all, the Wallowa-Whitman Office of the US Forest Service has a page on their website with press...

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CNN Travel Recognizes Hells Canyon

Jet Boat on Hells Canyon originally produced by Kyle Hill of the Lewiston TribuneIf you're planning your spring and summer travel schedule, here's a great article from CNN Travel about the tallest, deepest, longest, etc., record-setting places in the United States to visit.  Feature writer Helyn Trickey Bradley has come up with 10 superlative sights for US travel.  Two are in Oregon.  And one is right here in Wallowa County!  She writes:

The Grand Canyon in Arizona may be immense, boasting nearly 277 river miles in length, but for sheer depth, Hells Canyon in eastern Oregon,...

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Wow! Travel Oregon and the Wallowas

Videos and other materials are just starting to roll out about the Seven Wonders of Oregon, a new campaign hosted by Travel Oregon to introduce some remarkable places in our gorgeous state.  The Wallowa Mountains of Eastern Oregon and the surrounding area were lucky (and naturally) chosen to be one of those.  Here's Travel Oregon's video about the Wallowas.  She's not named, but our friend Alice is the rider seen in the footage:

Great teaser footage for the town of Joseph Oregon too!  The...

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Hells Canyon Scenic Byway: A Video You Won't Want to Miss

Never traveled on the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway?  Here's a really good taste of what you can experience.  The Oregon Department of Transportation film crew came through a little while ago and shot a lot of footage to create this comprehensive video about the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway.  What's nice about this particular video is you'll see the byway in all seasons.


It's a little bit lengthy at 8 minutes, but it really takes that long to see the scenery and some of the sights along the way.  I'm...

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2012: Is the road from Joseph to Halfway Oregon open?

Photo of bikers along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway courtesy of HellsCanyonByway.comIt always amazes me how much people rely on our little Hells Canyon lodging for information about the road between Joseph Oregon and Halfway Oregon.  Everytime I look at the Google Analytics for the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast blog, I can see how often blog posts about this subject are searched for and read.  Forget the "Joseph Oregon hotels" or the "Wallowa Lake hotel" search--seems like everyone wants to know if the road is open!!!

So, here's what's going on in 2012 for Forest Road 39...

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Zoho Music and our Hells Canyon Lodging

It's been two years since Joachim Becker last visited our Hells Canyon lodging. Last time, the president of New York-based Zoho Music made us a gift of Zoho Music's upcoming release, Tribute to J.J. Cale.  And just like last time, Joachim's stay was too short!  We'd love for him to have the opportunity to drive the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway or take a run up to Hat Point for the incredible view.

Zoho Music Celebrando with Hendrik Meurkens Gabriel Espinosa Anat Cohen and Antonio SanchezBut he did leave us with another parting gift.  Zoho Music's 100th CD release is Hendrik Meurkens and...

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Things to do at Wallowa Lake: Ride the Tramway and Feed the Squirrels

Heather and a pal at the Royal Purple Overlook on Mt. Howard in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of the Wallowa MountainsHere's something to do at Wallowa Lake:  ride up the Wallowa Lake Tramway and feed the squirrels (oops, did I say that?).  Or ride up the Wallowa Lake Tramway and enjoy the views!  The Wallowa Lake Tramway is open (weather permitting) every day through the first weekend of October 2011.

And there's a lot to see from there!  Views over the Wallowa Valley, views to the Seven Devil Mountains in Idaho past Hells Canyon, views into the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

It's a great way to see nature without...Read More

Oregon Highway 39 or Forest Road 39 will be repaired!

A view of the Seven Devil Mountains from the Hat Point Road east of Imnaha Oregon. This road is accessible from the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway.News you can use from the Wallowa County Chieftain!

The center section of the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway (aka Forest Road 39 or sometimes incorrectly called Oregon Highway 39) in Northeastern Oregon will be repaired sometime starting in August 2011.  The road is currently open but there are small sections that are gravel only--the repairs made in summer 2010 after the road was damaged during the 2010 spring runoff.  Next month that will change (finally!).

The 13 sections that will be paved are...Read More

Okay, so the road's open between Oxbow or Halfway and Joseph Oregon but Hat Point?

Hat Point Overlook as seen in July when the wildflowers are blooming. Spectacular views of Hells Canyon and the Snake River from the western rim of Hells Canyon.Okay, by now FR 39, aka the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road, or the center section of the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway--the connecting road between Joseph Oregon and the Hells Canyon area of Oxbow on the way to Halfway Oregon and Baker City--has been open about three weeks for the 2011 season.  And it looks like it'll stick--the road hasn't washed out (yet).

The next popular question:  Is the road open to Hat Point Lookout at Hells Canyon?  The answer to that is yes and no.  Last I checked with Dave...Read More

Is the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway between Joseph and Halfway open--yes

So here we are, June 8, 2011, and the unofficial word is that Forest Road 39, the center section of the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, is open to through traffic!

Winding Waters River Expeditions posted this status on their page on Facebook today:
The FS 39 road is open over Salt Creek Summit to Halfway. The crew headed out that direction this morning for our first Hells Canyon multi-day trip. They're excited to get down there as the wildflowers are BEAUTIFUL right now and 45,000 cubic feet per second... Read More

An Eastern Oregon Vacation Isn't Complete Without A Cattle Drive!

Eastern Oregon cattle drive on the way to the Zumwalt Prairie in Wallowa County OregonAnyone from Eastern Oregon knows that an Eastern Oregon vacation isn't complete without a cattle drive

Especially when you're in the middle of it!

Bill & I decided to drive out to the Zumwalt Prairie today to see what's blooming on the Nature Conservancy's land.  As we came through the intersection of Crow Creek Road and Zumwalt Road, the sign said, "Cattle Drive Next 14 Miles."  Hmmm. . .

At mile 12 or so, we found them.  Lots of cattle.  Lots of calves.  Lots of mooing by cows checking on...Read More

Eastern Oregon Vacation for Birdwatching

Image of Black-headed Grosbeak by Evan Davis, NPS, and courtesy of WeForAnimals.com. One of the birds you can see at our Hells Canyon lodging in Joseph Oregon.Spring is a great time of year for birdwatching in Eastern Oregon.  Many species are on their way back from winter in the south or just passing through on their way north.  And because we're so far east in Oregon close to Hells Canyon, you'll see the intercontinental birds that you won't necessarily find near the Oregon coast.

Bill put up feeders in the south garden last year so guests at breakfast can enjoy birds having their breakfast too.

Who's on the feeder this week?  We're seeing our...Read More

Is the road open between Joseph Oregon and Halfway?

Hells Canyon Scenic Byway Wallowa Mountain Loop Road between Joseph Oregon and Halfway Oregon is not yet open for the seasonSeems 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 damagein a few places from spring runoff.  The roadbed was repaired by Fall 2010 but not paved in those damaged places....Read More

Calderas Restaurant opens in mid-April!

Calderas restaurant in Joseph Oregon is open for the 2011 season starting Thursday April 14, 2011One of our favorite Joseph Oregon restaurants opens on April 14, 2011, for the spring/summer season.  Calderas is one of those romantic getaway Oregon style restaurants.  Great wine list, fresh produce from their own farm near Hells Canyon, creative cuisine, tremendous views of the Wallowa Mountains--all wrapped up in one location at the north end of town.

Starting Thursday, April 14th, Calderas is open Thursday through Saturday 11 am to 8 pm.  Once June arrives, the hours are Wednesday through...Read More

Mountain biking near Joseph Oregon from June to October

View of the Seven Devil Mountains across Hells Canyon as seen from the East Moraine around Wallowa Lake. The terrain along the Redmont Trail Network is visible here. Mountain biking in the Wallowa Mountains!A lot of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is not for mountain bikes because the Eagle Cap Wilderness lies within the forest boundary.  But, there still is mountain biking near Joseph Oregon and inside the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

Trailheads used are the Salt Creek Summit (south end)--19 miles from Joseph Oregon and part of the Redmont and Wagon Road Trail networks, and the Ferguson Ridge Snow Park (north end)--only 14 miles from Joseph Oregon and part of the Redmont Trail network.

Ridin...Read More

Driving to Joseph Oregon Is Easy

We often are asked whether it is easy to drive to Joseph, Oregon.  In general, driving to Northeastern Oregon is pretty straightforward.  Even in winter. . .

There are three paved routes in/out of Wallowa County (where Joseph, Oregon is located), two of which are open year around:

  1. Oregon Highway 82 (leaves Interstate 84 at LaGrande Exit 261 for a scenic drive along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway eastwards through Union County into Wallowa County)
  2. Oregon Highway 3 (starts as Washington Highway 129...
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Lower Imnaha River in Winter not far from our Joseph Oregon Bed and Breakfast

Bald eagle keeping toes warm in winter along the Imnaha River near Joseph OregonNo guests on the afternoon of January 2, 2011, so Heather & I took off for a lower elevation hike along the Imnaha River.  We hoped to get to the confluence of the Imnaha and the Snake River in Hells Canyon, but got too late of a start (we did serve breakfast this morning).

If you're here for an Eastern Oregon vacation in winter and are tired of snow, then the drive down through Imnaha and on the Dug Bar Road leading to the trailhead at Cow Creek is pretty refreshing.  Plenty of wildlife.  We saw...

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Wallowa Mountain Loop Road of Hells Canyon Scenic Byway Open Soon!

It's been a long summer without complete access along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway from Joseph Oregon to Halfway Oregon along Forest Road 39 (also called the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road).  Spring flooding in June 2010 washed out significant sections of Forest Road 39 near the intersection of this road and Oregon 86.  However, this report from Angelika Garroute of Wallowa Valley Online notes that the road will be open again (in gravel) probably by mid-November 2010.  Paving will occur in 2011.

If...Read More

A Perfect Joseph Oregon Vacation

View of the Wallowa Mountain from the Mirror Lake Suite at the Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast Joseph ORWe love it here at the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast when our guests take the opportunity to do what they'd really love to do.  Recently, we hosted a couple who arrived with their road bicycles and her yoga mat. 

Turns out he enjoys serious cycling in the morning before breakfast and she enjoys her time on the yoga mat.

We sent him off on a leg of the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway on the first morning--to the intersection of the Imnaha Highway and Forest Road 39.  It's 8.3 miles each way--not a tough...Read More

What to do near Wallowa Lake - Day trip along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway

Harl Butte Historic Fire Lookout on the Hells Canyon Scenic BywayIt's nice to find things to do near Wallowa Lake when you're on vacation in Eastern Oregon.  With Highway 39 closed near the junction of Highways 39 and Oregon 86, you can still reach most of the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road (Highway 39) from the Joseph Oregon side.

Even the Bronze Antler Bed & Breakfast innkeepers get to enjoy the sights around here every now and then!  Bill & I recently drove out to Harl Butte off of Highway 39.  There's an historic fire lookout there.  When we arrived we were...Read More