If geography is destiny, the future looks golden in Wallowa County. Hard to reach and even harder to forget, our big little corner of Oregon is abundant in acres and populated by few. Some think we should top the census for most breathtaking scenery per capita and with Hells Canyon, Eagle Cap and The Wenaha–Tucannon Wilderness all here, it's hard to disagree. Then there's the magnificent Zumwalt Prairie, incredible rivers to fly fish and raft, the rich history of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce and some of the best horse packing anywhere. It's easy to understand why folks think this place is heaven, out here we just call it the county.
prairie mountain folk schoool
The Prairie Mountain Folk School is a Center for Traditional Craft based in Joseph, Oregon whose mission is to preserve heritage trades and foster community through experiential learning. Be sure to check out their current course offerings, where you'll use your hands to make something beautiful, share stories and make great friends.
With 29 peaks over 9000 feet and nearly 60 alpine lakes, it's no surprise the Wallowas are one of Oregon's 7 wonders. Encompassing most of the Wallowa Mountains is the Eagle Cap, our state's largest wilderness area and home to its oldest living tree, an ancient Limber Pine. Best of all, access is easy via two trailheads within minutes of The Jennings Hotel.
Surrounded by the august peaks of the Eagle Cap wilderness, Wallowa Lake cuts a breathtaking image. Her deep, clear water provides world class Kokanee fishing, canoeing and skinny dipping, plus an exceptional example of glacial geology. Laze in the sun shoreside, or take a brisk hike up the east moraine for a birdseye view of the Lake.
Hells Canyon Country
Aptly named for its unforgiving terrain and vicious weather, the precipitous depths of Hells Canyon constitute America's deepest gorge. From rattlesnakes & bears to mountain lions and wolves, canyon country is a dichotomy of the marginal and serene. Catch it at the right moment and you'll never be the same, but beware, the canyon knows no friend.
One of the foremost intact grasslands in North America, the Zumwalt Prairie is a rare and stunning example of an ecosystem that once covered huge swaths of the continent. Take a hike up Harsin Butte on the Zumwalt Prairie Reserve and survey the remarkable diversity of prairie, mountain and canyon landscapes that converge in Wallowa County.
Chief Joseph Days
Always the last full week in July, Chief Joseph Days is the culmination of summer in Wallowa County. Founded in 1946 and going strong ever since, CJD attracts folks from around the country for five incredible days of rodeo and a taste of the American west, all just blocks away from the Jennings Hotel at the Harley Tucker Rodeo grounds.
Wares, Vittles & Friends
It isn't every place where the local distiller grows the grain he makes award winning whiskey from, or where there is a mercantile with famously crafted goods. Most hinterlands don't have a handmade bath & body shop, an exquisite chocolatier or an herb queen making wildcrafted skincare products, either. But hey, this isn't any old place. It's the county. Wallowa County.