Your deep canyon adventure starts with a tour of the National Historic District in Baker City, the "Queen City of Mines". North of Baker City on I-84, take exit #302 and turn onto Oregon Route 86 east to the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center at Flagstaff Hill. The center depicts the emigrant' journey through a series of life-sized dioramas, video & audio presentations.
Take a hike down the hill to see 150-year-old wagon ruts. Continue on through sagebrush covered plateaus, the fertile farms of Richland, and mining towns like Halfway, Pine, and Cornucopia. Discover the mighty Snake River as it approaches the southern end of Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in North America. The 652,488-acre Hells Canyon National Recreation Area contains some of the country's most unique scenery, plants, wildlife and geology. Located just below Hells Canyon Dam, Hells Canyon Visitor Informaiton Station and Boat Launch is the primary boat launch for the "Wild and Scenic" Snake River and a source of recreational information.
To see Hells Canyon from above, go back to Forest Road 39 and travel 16 miles to Forest Road 3965. A short drive brings you to a breathtaking view at Hells Canyon Overlook. Back on Forest Road 39, head north across the Imnaha River and then west toward impressive views of the Wallowa Mountains. Venture off onto trails in the Eagle Cap Wilderness and you'll see why this area is known as the "Switzerland of America".
As you skirt the northeast foothills of the Wallowa Range, you'll soon find yourself in Joseph, a little recreation hub famous for its thriving art community. One mile south of town, glacially formed Wallowa Lake features a state park with yurts for rent, a rustic lodge and cabins, and a tramway to the summit of Mt. Howard, not to mention superb fishing and hiking. From Joseph, take Oregon Route 82 to the nearby town of Enterprise, where the visitors center offers a magnificent view of the rugged Wallowa Mountains. Continue west through Wallowa, future home of the Nez Perce Interpretive Center. Your high-mountain adventure ends in La Grande, gateway to recreational pursuits in the Umatilla and the Wallowa-Whitman national forests.
Additional Highways, Byways, and Scenic Drives have been designated official Oregon Scenic Byways.