"JOSEPH - GATEWAY TO OREGON’S ALPS" Joseph by mtncorg

Joseph Travel Guide: 56 reviews and 79 photos

Joseph is a small town at the head of the Wallowa Valley - there are three other small towns also in the valley. It is well-known for its artistic bronze industry - artists and foundry - with bold, big sculptures lining the main street. VT’s zanieOR calls this ‘home’ and to this excellent correspondent you should turn for the touristic options that await you in the Valley and Joseph (she combines the entire Valley into her Joseph pages). If you are in the area or headed this way with any questions, Elaine = zanieOR, is your answer source! Not wanting to steal her thunder, most of my comments will deal with some of the choices that await you off-road in the incredible mountain range to the south and west of Joseph - the Wallowa Mountains, home of the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area.

I am not sure of the geologic makeup of the mountains, there is lava, uplift and extensive glaciation (some of that, fairly recent in geologic terms) in the picture, for sure. Geographically, one could consider the Wallowas as the dramatic focal point for the Blue Mountain complex or as a western outlier of Idahoan Rockies. Ecologically, it seems to have more of a Rocky Mountain feel and outside of the small Elkhorn Range near Baker City to the southwest, the Blue Mountains share little of the topographical drama found in the Wallowas. Extensive glaciation is what really typifies the range with huge moraines visible at many valley exits - best-known example being the huge moraine making up the northern and eastern walls of Wallowa Lake, but look close and plenty of other examples can be found. Get past the moraines and you will find mile after mile of classic u-shaped glacially-excised troughs through which the area’s many rivers run: the Minam and Lostine are the longest, but other dramatic examples are there - Wallowa and Imnaha rivers, Eagle, Hurricane and Bear creeks.

There is over 50 lakes in the range - all of which could probably fit into the vast waters of Wallowa Lake near Joseph - and in these and the many streams, the trout fishing is excellent. Horsemen love the region so you will share the mountain with pack animals (not on the scale of the Grand Canyon or the Eastern Sierra, thankfully!) of all sorts - horses, mules, llamas and goats!

When you get finished, don’t forget to taste the local microbrew, Terminal Gravity, from Enterprise, whether direct from the brewpub or get a six-pack from a local store (not Safeway in Enterprise, however).

One last note, in summer, if you are heading to the Wallowa State Park on the south end of Wallowa Lake, check ahead for reservations as this park is wildly popular at times.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Gorgeous mountain environment
  • Cons:A long ways out - 6 hours from Portland by car
  • In a nutshell:Best of the Rocky Mountains in Oregon
  • Last visit to Joseph: Aug 2005
  • Intro Updated Aug 16, 2005
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Reviews (17)

Comments (7)

  • ZanieOR's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2005 at 4:17 PM

    Mark, I finally looked to see if you made a Joseph page, and it's gorgeous! Your photos are absolutely beautiful. There's no thunder to steal, the more tips the merrier!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Sep 8, 2005 at 5:28 AM

    Yet another brilliant series of mountain photographs and informative tips. Great Lostine travelogue!

  • Karolina01's Profile Photo
    Sep 3, 2005 at 10:32 AM

    The photos are impressive. My favorite is the one with your friend and you, with the title:"A long ways to come on such little legs."

  • ophiro's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2005 at 7:27 AM

    WOW - such a beautiful place to hike ! i also love you dog and i hope she wasnt drunk while hiking ;-)

  • madamx's Profile Photo
    Aug 17, 2005 at 9:30 PM

    Hmmm, first it was Cosmos, now beer.... I think Little Girl may *ahem* have a "problem" ;o) Wonderful page! ('c',)

  • karenincalifornia's Profile Photo
    Aug 17, 2005 at 1:16 PM

    Didn't know Little Girl had such a wild streak -- I hope you said no when she asked for a drag on the cigar. Beautiful photos!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Aug 16, 2005 at 9:05 PM

    Hey - the little one still quicker than you ? Brave girl !! But allowing her to get motivated by beer ? Nah.. How was the tent by the way ? This is the one you told me, the alternative to mine ? Great pics of a exciting landscape !

mtncorg

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