Friday, September 17, 2010

Hell's Canyon National Recreation Area, Oregon

We took a couple drives to Hell’s Canyon while visiting Wallowa Lake State Park. The more popular drive to the Hell’s Canyon Overlook was actually not all that great, so we recommend the drive to Hat Point instead. To get to Hat Point, from Joseph, take Route 350 to Imnaha (if you’re low on fuel, get it in Joseph, as there are no gas stations in Imnaha), about 35 miles and a pretty country drive. Once in Imnaha, you’ll take Forest Service Road 4240 which is gravel, although very well maintained and neither a 4-wheel drive nor high-clearance vehicle is needed. (Our theory is that most people head to the overlook since it’s all paved to get there, but trust us – Hat Point is much more interesting.) The first seven miles of the forest service road is steep, but really not all that bad. The views are beautiful.

There is one lookout along the way, Granny Point

with some lovely wildflowers

and restrooms as well (although Brad chose another avenue………………) :-)

Continuing on the Forest Service Road, you’ll quickly approach Hat Point with the majestic views of Hell’s Canyon and the Snake River.

We were surprised how built-up this area was, with picnic tables overlooking Hell's Canyon, walking paths, and restrooms

A really cool and unexpected aspect was the “personned” (not “manned” although it was a man working there at the time) fire watchtower

that was open to the public if so inclined. Yup, we were inclined:

The views from the top were pretty vast, but what was cool was that we realized that all the rocks we stepped over as we walked to the tower were actually words, initials, or little sayings that people organized:

The view from beneath the fire watchtower was pretty cool too:

In summary, we’d highly recommend this car trip – it does take a couple hours to get to Hat Point from Joseph, so pack a lunch and plan a lovely day trip. Enjoy!


Jerry and Suzy said...

Hat Point! I do believe Suzy and I were there 100 years or so ago. And yes, I have also chosen the "other" method on occasion, but no one has taken a picure of me while I was at it. What does the person on top of the fire tower do when (s)he needs a restroom?

Love the Wallowa Mountains.

Suzanne and Brad said...

Hey Guys!
Guess you won't be traveling with me much, for fear I'll take a picture of you when you're...... :-)

Not sure what the guy in the fire tower does.....hmmmm....... :-)

Wayne and Maureen said...

nice blog....saw you on

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