Eastern Oregon: Places to Explore


  • Baker City

    During the 1860s gold rush, Baker City was the hub. The Big Apple, or rather, the Big Nugget. Many smaller towns dried up after the gold rush, but Baker City transformed itself into the seat of the regional... Read more

  • Burns

    Named after poet Robert Burns, this town was the unofficial capital of the 19th-century cattle empires that staked claims to these southeastern Oregon high-plateau grasslands. Today Burns is a working-class... Read more

  • Diamond

    Though it's tucked into a verdant little valley just east of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Diamond has an average year-round population of something like seven people. You could probably do your own... Read more

  • Enterprise

    The seat of Oregon's northeasternmost county, Enterprise is surrounded by some of the region's most rugged natural beauty. Though the town itself is pretty quiet, it's a locus for outdoor activities in... Read more

  • Frenchglen

    Frenchglen, the tiny town near the base of Steens Mountain, has no more than a handful of residents, and in the off-season offers no basic services to travelers. In other words: eat first. The only lodging... Read more

  • Halfway

    Halfway, the closest town to Hells Canyon, got its name because it was midway between the town of Pine and the gold mines of Cornucopia. The mines are long gone now, but this small, straightforward town... Read more

  • Hells Canyon

    This remote place along the Snake River is the deepest river-carved gorge in North America (7,900 feet), with many rare and endangered animal species. There are three different routes from which to view... Read more

  • Hermiston

    Watermelon, watermelon everywhere—it's even the town's official logo! Although its population is just over 15,000, Hermiston is the urban service center for nearly three times that many people in the expansive... Read more

  • John Day

    More than $26 million in gold was mined in the John Day area. The town was founded shortly after gold was discovered there in 1862. Yet John Day is better known to contemporaries for the plentiful outdoor... Read more

  • John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

    The geological formations that compose this peculiar monument cover hundreds of square miles and preserve a diverse record of plant and animal life spanning more than 40 million years of the Age of Mammals... Read more

  • Jordan Valley

    The canyon country of the 280-mi Owyhee River extends through parts of Nevada, Idaho, and southeast Oregon, a sparsely populated area of deep gorges that cut through the high Owyhee Plateau. Jordan Valley... Read more

  • Joseph

    The area around Wallowa Lake was the traditional home of the Nez Perce Indians—the town of Joseph is named for Chief Joseph, their famous leader. The peaks of the Wallowa Mountains, snow-covered until... Read more

  • La Grande

    La Grande started life in the late 1800s as a farming community. It grew slowly while most towns along the Blue Mountains were booming or busting in the violent throes of gold-fueled stampedes. When the... Read more

  • Lakeview

    At 4,800 feet, Lakeview is the highest town in Oregon. For years, it's been anchored by the Old Perpetual Geyser at Hunter's Hot Springs, which erupted up to 60 feet every 90 seconds. The geyser's been... Read more

  • Ontario

    At the far eastern edge of Oregon, less than 5 mi from the Idaho border, Ontario is the largest town in Malheur County. Its 11,325 residents make up more than one-third of the county's population of 31,725... Read more

  • Pendleton

    At the foot of the Blue Mountains amid waving wheat fields and cattle ranches, Pendleton is a quintessential western town with a rip-snorting history. It was originally acquired in a swap for a couple... Read more

  • Umatilla

    Umatilla is at the confluence of the Umatilla and Columbia rivers. It was founded in the mid-1800s as a trade and shipping center during the gold rush, and today is a center for fishing activities. Just... Read more