This page will keep you informed of byway road conditions related to weather, construction projects or other human-caused activities. For additional road conditions, please go to www.tripcheck.com or www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman for the most up-to-date information.
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. Weather in northeast Oregon requires road work take place during the months of busiest use. Pack drinking water and a snack, then sit back and enjoy the dramatic scenery if you get delayed at this or any of the construction sites along the byway. The drive is worth the extra time!
OXBOW, Oregon, Aug. 30, 2023 — Motorists should expect delays as well as dust and gravel on Hells Canyon Road starting Sept. 5, as crews begin chip‑sealing the road surface.
The chip-seal process is expected to take about three weeks. Traffic delays of up to 30 minutes may be necessary from Sept. 5-15, with shorter delays expected Sept. 16-27. The schedule is subject to change due to weather.
About Idaho Power
Idaho Power, headquartered in vibrant and fast-growing Boise, Idaho, has been a locally operated energy company since 1916. Today, it serves a 24,000-square-mile area in Idaho and Oregon. The company’s goal to provide 100% clean energy by 2045 builds on its long history as a clean-energy leader that provides reliable service at affordable prices. With 17 low-cost hydroelectric projects at the core of its diverse energy mix, Idaho Power’s residential, business and agricultural customers pay among the nation’s lowest prices for electricity. Its 2,000 employees proudly serve more than 620,000 customers with a culture of safety first, integrity always and respect for all.
IDACORP Inc. (NYSE: IDA), Idaho Power’s independent publicly traded parent company, is also headquartered in Boise, Idaho. To learn more, visit www.idahopower.com or idacorpinc.com.
Brad Bowlin, Communications Specialist
firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-388-2803
The Forest Service Road 39 was OPEN to passenger vehicles, as of Memorial Day, 2023. Please continue to drive with caution, as there may be livestock or wildlife on the right of way and some sections are narrow. The entire FS39 is paved, including the two-mile side trip to the amazing views from the Hells Canyon Overlook.
Motorcyclists, please use extra caution and drive slowly over cattle guards on the road to the Hells Canyon Overlook. We have been told it is a rough crossing.
As summer is the season for road construction projects throughout byway country, there are such projects that may cause delays, so allow extra time if necessary to reach your destination at a certain hour. One such minor delay is on OR 82 just west of the town of Wallowa, where traffic is reduced to one lane for a bridge replacement project. Relax and enjoy the scenery while our construction workers make the highway safer!
For more information, visit the project webpage: OR 82: Bear Creek (Wallowa River) Bridge.
Throughout winter and spring, because of heavy snow accumulations in the mountain pass. Due to high elevations, the road is not maintained by the Wallowa Whitman National Forest for passenger vehicle or truck travel through winter. It is ONLY available to snowmobiles from November through around Memorial Day Weekend. This is the section of mountain road that connects Halfway, the Snake River and Pine Valley with Joseph, Enterprise, Wallowa Lake and the Wallowa Valley.
All seasons, slow down and watch carefully for branches, rocks and potholes. Also watch for hazards such as speeding vehicles and larger vehicles taking wide corners. Although it is a paved, two-lane highway, it is a backroad through a forested area and anything can happen at any time. Always use caution and be aware that cell phone service is often not available, so getting assistance can be daunting. Be prepared – fill your tank before setting out (Joseph and Halfway have fuel stations) and carry drinking water, snacks and jackets for changes in the weather. Forest Service campgrounds may not be open and serviced until mid-June.
Be sure to also watch for livestock along all sections of the byway. Ranchers turn their cattle out to summer grazing and cattle have the right-of-way in Oregon, so may be on the road in remote places that aren’t fenced or where fences haven’t yet been fixed after the impacts of winter. Cattle drives take place on byway roads, as well. When encountering a cattle drive, please slow down and be extra cautious. Cattle, calves, horses and dogs can be very unpredictable around vehicles, especially when stressed. Honking the horn won’t help and can cause an accident. Watch for signals from people tending the livestock, as they will help you navigate through the herd, whether you are traveling with or against the flow of animals. We appreciate your patience and hope you will enjoy this enduring and necessary spectacle of the West.
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.