The FS 39 road is now open to through traffic. Just be aware that the road requires caution, especially around curves, due to potentially cattle on the open range, and because there can be debris such as rocks and sticks in the road early in the season. The road is paved throughout (including the two-mile side trip to the Hells Canyon Overlook you won’t want to miss), but some sections have potholes – so, another reason for taking the loop slowly in addition to enjoying the scenery.

To get information about recreation on the Wallowa Whitman National Forest, go the website:

And stop by the ranger district office at Halfway or Joseph for the very latest on the condition of trails, campgrounds and backroads, as June is still a little early for the highest elevations.

I always recommend taking the side trip down to the Hells Canyon Dam below Copperfield – go to the Snake River for this before you head out on the FS 39 road – so you can see the depth of the canyon from riverside. There is also a small interpretive center there with information about the geology and history of the canyon. Then when you backtrack a few miles on OR 86 and hit the FS 39 road (aka Wallowa Mountain Loop Road), you will be seeing the canyon lands from above. The most amazing view is from Hat Point Lookout, which is another side trip taking a gravel road up from Imnaha. From there, you look a mile down to the river and across the canyon to the Seven Devils on the Idaho side.

And last, I also always recommend the Wallowa Lake Tramway, which takes you right up into the peaks of the amazing Wallowa Mountains. This is just one of the many things to enjoy at Wallowa Lake.

Stop by the visitor center in Baker City, Enterprise or La Grande, and we will load you up with maps and information about recreation and sightseeing throughout the byway and region. Enjoy your travels!

Expect Traffic Delays on Hells Canyon Road Sept. 5-27 During Road Maintenance

For your information, Idaho Power has released the following new item concerning the road to the Hells Canyon Dam and the Hells Canyon Creek Visitor Center in the heart of the canyon. Pack drinking water and a snack, then sit back and enjoy the dramatic scenery if you get delayed. The drive is worth the...
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OR 82 bridge replacement project at Wallowa River Making Progress

The Bear Creek (Wallowa River) Bridge replacement project is moving along. The detour is no longer re-routing traffic around the bridge project. Travelers will instead experience single lane access controlled by an automated traffic signal. Remainder of the new structure will be completed in fall 2023. For more information, visit the project webpage: OR 82:...
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June is an Amazing Time on the Byway

Now is an amazing time to enjoy the scenery along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway All-American Road. The hillsides are many shades of green and wildflowers are in full bloom. There is still snow on the high peaks, adding depth and character to your photos. Please take the road slowly and watch for hazards such...
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Let’s be careful out there!

Wow! It’s hot and dry out there. Please use extra caution to protect yourself and others, wildlife, and our precious landscape! Here is the latest from the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. NEWS RELEASE – Extreme Fire Danger BAKER CITY, Ore. (July 8, 2021) – The Fire Danger Level is now “Extreme” across the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. At midnight...
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ODFW Provides Weekly Reports

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife provides weekly reports, with important information for your visit to Hells Canyon Scenic Byway country. Learn more and sign up to receive the weekly digital report at this website: Watch wildlife from a distance – June 10, 2021 Leave them where you find them Young wild animals...
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Fire Activity gets an early start in Byway Country

The following update to the Joseph Creek and Dry Creek Fires was released by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Saturday, June 12, 2021. ENTERPRISE, OR__On the morning of June 11, at 6:00 a.m., NW Team 7 transitioned management of the fire back to local agencies. Northwest Team 7 would like to thank the entire Wallowa County...
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Spring is Upon Us!

With spring rapidly approaching, we are in the transition time, when the FS 39 Road is still closed due to snow, while the Oregon Department of Transportation is announcing their construction season plans! This can be seen as an indication of the wide range of elevations and landforms traversed by the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway....
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Errors in judgement due to misinformation or a lack of knowledge about road conditions can lead to very dangerous situations. Please! Know that the Forest Service Road 39 is closed for winter and not open nor safe for winter travel, other than by snowmobile. Talk to locals and never trust GPS when on roads you...
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Wallowa-Whitman National Forest moves to Phase C Public Use Restrictions

Campfires and chainsaw use prohibited The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest issued the following press release Friday. Please stay safe, comply with all restrictions and take every precaution to keep our forests green. BAKER CITY, Ore. (September 11, 2020) — Due to continued hot temperatures, lack of moisture and extreme fire danger, National Forest officials have announced...
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Tour Union County Farm Loop and Stock Up On Local Products

La Grande, Oregon __Now is a great time for driving country roads and seeking out fresh fruit and vegetables directly from growers. Eastern Oregon has developed a series of self-guided farm trails that lead directly to farm stands, gardens and orchards, for the freshest farm products available. Start with the Union County Farm Loop or...
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New fire restrictions start tonight for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

Sections of the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway travel through the Wallowa Whitman National Forest and the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. We have been experiencing very hot, dry weather and there have been thunder and lightening storms in recent days. This has made fire danger throughout the byway high. For everyone’s safety, please follow all...
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Eastern Oregon highway construction update

Slow down, stay alert and be prepared for work zones LA GRANDE, Ore. – Warmer weather and longer days mean it is time for highway upgrades across the state. The Oregon Department of Transportation is constructing over three-dozen key highway projects this year in eastern Oregon to fix pavement, sidewalks and bridges to make the...
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Winter Driving in Byway Country

The holiday season is just around the corner and we want to help ensure you have safe and enjoyable travels. Winter in our corner of Oregon is beautiful! But, for the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, winter means the closure of the Forest Service Road 39, which is the pass that connects Baker County at the...
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Summer is Here

It is officially summer and the season for exploring the byway is fully underway. The Forest Service 39 Road is open, providing amazing views in every direction, access to the Hells Canyon Overlook, and closing the loop between Pine Valley, Halfway and the shores of the Snake River (and all of the recreation activities the...
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Spring Drives in Byway Country

HALFWAY, OREGON_When Northeast Oregon starts awakening after a long winter, changes in the landscape happen quickly. Many consider this the prettiest time of year in parts of the byway. Dressed for outdoor chores, we took advantage of a change in our plans for the day, and took a drive Saturday, just to enjoy the beauty....
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Byway Website has a new look!

The Hells Canyon Scenic Byway website has received a fresh look over winter. We hope you find it appealing and easy to navigate. We will be adding information about byway area activities over the coming months. Check out the links on the “Visitor Resources” page for travel and community information. Spring is finally in the...
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Wrap Up A Bit of Eastern Oregon

While filling out your gift list, rememberall of the great tastes and discoveries made while exploring the reaches of Eastern Oregon and include some of those treasures for your friends and loved ones.
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Thanksgiving Weekend Offers Fun Actvities

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and families are making plans for the long weekend. If you are looking for ways to fill the four-day weekend with fun, check out these activities along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway in Northeast Oregon.
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