"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:Gorgeous mountain environment
- Cons:A long ways out - 6 hours from Portland by car
- In a nutshell:Best of the Rocky Mountains in Oregon
Long a haunt for the Nez Perce Indians, now the Wallowas are protected as the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area. This is such a... more travel advice
Nightlife in the mountains is up to you. In the popular Lake Basin and some other areas - ie Glacier Lake - campfires... more travel advice
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