Hell's Canyon Scenic Byway > Events > Take the Train and Go Where Cars Can’t Take You!

ELGIN, OREGON__Every wonder what it looks like over the next ridge and down the tumbling rivers, far from the highways in byway country? The Eagle Cap Excursion Train has a busy schedule under way June through October, with plenty of opportunities for passengers to enjoy the beautiful and ever-changing scenery along the route. Departing from the Elgin Depot the train travels beside the Grande Ronde River downstream to its confluence with the Wallowa River, then follows that Wild & Scenic river a few miles upstream. A brief stop at Rondowa, the confluence of the Wallowa with the Grande Ronde, or Vincent (Howard Creek) allows passengers to get off, stretch their legs and breathe the fresh, piney air, before the return trip to Elgin.

For most trips, the Eagle Cap Excursion Train departs at 10 a.m. from the Elgin Depot and returns around 2 p.m. For those trips, lunch is served on the train.

Rides this late-summer and fall season include train robberies, a photo run to capture the autumn colors, a Wine & Cheese Train and Brews & Brats. See the trip descriptions for details and the schedule.

To reserve your seat and ensure your lunch is on the train, make your reservations by 4 p.m., the Friday afternoon prior to the trip you want to take. The train can often handle some last-minute walk-on passengers, subject to seat availability. Those waiting to purchase tickets at the depot Saturday morning should arrive at the depot by 9 a.m. and should be aware some trains sell out.

Ticket prices are:  youth, 3 to 16 = $35 / adults = $70 / seniors 60+ = $65. Lunch is prepared by Ten Depot Street of La Grande and included in the ticket price. For train tickets and details on the excursions go to www.eaglecaptrainrides.com. Or, if you prefer to talk with an agent or want lodging options, contact Alegre Travel, 1.800.323.7330 or travel@alegretravel.com.

The historic Joseph Branch, now known as the Wallowa Union Railroad, was rescued from salvage in 2003 when the Wallowa and Union county governments formed the Wallowa Union Rail Authority and purchased the highly scenic railroad connecting Elgin with the Wallowa Valley. Volunteers with the Friends of the Joseph Branch, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, operate the train and depot, host passengers, renovate the passenger cars and preserve the history of the railroad.

*    *    *


About the author