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).
March 2021 The Forest Service Road 39 remains closed and unpassable by passenger vehicles throughout winter and spring, having received heavy snow accumulations late in February and in early March. Due to high elevations, the road is not maintained by the Wallowa Whitman National Forest for passenger vehicle or truck travel. 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.
Although the FS 39 road closes through winter every year, all communities along the byway are open year-round for business and can be accessed by Oregon State Route 82 to Joseph, via La Grande, and Oregon State Route 86 to Halfway, via Baker City. Enjoy dramatic landscapes, beautiful scenery and byway hospitality any time of year, but stay safe and do not use FS Road 39 until it’s opening is announced late in the spring!
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.