This page will keep you informed of byway road conditions related to weather, construction projects or other human-caused activities. For additional weather related road conditions, please go to www.tripcheck.com or www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman for the most up-to-date information. The communities and businesses along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway want travelers to know they are open for business and happy to serve you all year (even when winter snow closes the mountain pass).
Road Conditions Announcement – Idaho Power
Removal of stoplogs from Hells Canyon Dam will reduce traffic over the dam to one lane and cause periodic delays over the next two weeks.
OXBOW, Oregon, Sept. 21, 2017 — Traffic over Hells Canyon Dam will be restricted Monday and Tuesday next week and during the following week while crews use heavy equipment to remove stoplogs from the dam’s spill gates.
On Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 25–26, traffic will be reduced to one lane, and motorists could experience delays of up to 30 minutes between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. MDT.
Flaggers will direct traffic. All Idaho Power operations are conducted on Mountain Time.
The following week, Oct. 2–4, the road will be closed to all traffic during the following times:
- Oct. 2 Road closed 7:30-10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
- Oct. 3 Road closed 7:30 a.m.-noon and 1–5 p.m.
- Oct. 4 Road closed 7:30–10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
If work is completed ahead of schedule, one-lane traffic could be restored on Oct. 4.
Stoplogs are long rectangular beams that are stacked in front of the dam’s spill gates to control water flow. Located 21 miles downstream of Oxbow Dam, Idaho Power’s Hells Canyon Dam began generating electricity in 1967 and has a nameplate generating capacity of 391,500 kilowatts.
Road Conditions Announcement – Wallowa-Whitman National forest.
During the fire season, please check for details on fire activity in Northeast Oregon at the Blue Mountain Fire Information blog. More information on the Public Use Restrictions can be found at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/PURS.
Please be aware of the extreme hazard for wild fires late summer through early fall. Vehicles can start fires simply by parking off pavement or gravel, where hot equipment comes into contact with the dry grass and weeds. Be very cautious and follow these restrictions with care:
Phase C (indicators are Adjective fire danger rating of Extreme; IFPL level IV). 1. Campfires not allowed. Liquid and bottle gas stoves only. 2. No internal combustions engine operation, except motor vehicles. 3. Smoking allowed only in enclosed vehicles and buildings, developed recreation sites, or cleared areas. 4. No off-road/off-trail vehicle travel or travel on roads not cleared of standing grass or other flammable material; no vehicle travel on those FS roads where access has been impeded or blocked by earthen berm, logs, boulders, barrier, barricade or gate, or as otherwise identified in the Fire Order.
Road Conditions Announcement – Watch for Winter Travel Notices
The FS39 Road, which crosses a section of the Wallowa Mountains and connects Halfway and the Pine Valley with Joseph, Enterprise and the Wallowa Valley is closed during the winter and spring, generally December through May, due to snow. During that time, It is open to travel by snowmobile, only. However, the rest of the byway and all byway communities are open for business, offering full visitor services. Winter is a gorgeous time throughout the byway, providing an entirely different experience for visitors. Please use the links above for up-to-date information on all roads and be prepared for winter driving conditions. Find lodging, dining, entertainment and shopping information on the Visitor Resources page. While currently open (mid-November 2016), please be aware this status can change at any time, when snow accumulates in the high country. Be prepared for winter travel conditions and check with local officials before using FS39.
2015 Construction Project:
GREAT NEWS! Concerning the 2015 paving project on FS 39 (Wallowa Mountain Loop Road) – The construction on the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road (Forest Service Road 39) is complete. The map shows the area of the improvements. Click to enlarged map. Recreation and road condition updates can also be found at: www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman.
Thank you for visiting the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. Travel safely, responsibly, and enjoy the beauty of Hells Canyon!
If unsure of suitability, please contact the Wallowa Mountains Office at 541-426-5546 or the Pine Field Office at 541-742-6705.
For on-going information about the road construction project, news of the byway, its communities, road conditions and events, visit www.hellscanyonbyway.com regularly.