Horseback riding with Wilson Ranches Retreat
Cycling along a traffic-free stretch of the region's scenic bikeways
Setting out for the slopes at Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort
A rodeo cowboy competing during the Pendleton Round-Up
The colorful Painted Hills, one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders and part of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
A stunning vantage point in the Wallowa Mountains, another of Oregon's 7 Wonders
The lush foliage of Kiger Gorge on Steens Mountain
Celebrating the rich tradition of the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla tribes
A curious bobcat in the wilderness
Dramatic landscapes, ancient fossils and layers of history at the John Day Fossil Beds
Outdoor adventures in Oregon’s Wild West
What makes Eastern Oregon attractive to nature lovers is how beautifully undeveloped it remains. See more than 40 million years of geologic history at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, consisting of three preserved fossil areas including the Painted Hills, one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders. Another of the 7 Wonders, the Wallowa Mountains in the Eagle Cap Wilderness features the region's trademark wide-open spaces paired with mountain peaks and glacial lakes. Drive the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway to see a swath of this unique landscape, and make time for a jet boat tour on the Snake River into the canyon itself, an imposing marvel that's deeper than the Grand Canyon.
Other must-sees include Cottonwood Canyon State Park with its 3,200 hectares of off-the-grid wilderness. Towering Steens Mountain and natural thermal springs surround the dry, cracked surface of the Alvord Desert. Explore four scenic bikeways that pass through early pioneer towns and pristine landscapes under huge, open skies. Nearly all of the parks and mountains are open to hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, anglers, paddlers and skiers.
Native American and Pioneer History
The Umatilla, Cayuse and Walla Walla Tribes have inhabited Eastern Oregon for more than 10,000 years. In the mid-19th century, pioneers followed the 3,490-kilometer Oregon Trail from Missouri into Oregon, where emigrant and native cultures clashed, mingled and traded. Today, historical sites and museums document this multi-faceted story. Hear the native language, see tribal artifacts and explore a storyline-style museum at the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute in Pendleton. At the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, look for replica covered wagons and the original wagon ruts from travelers on the Oregon Trail. Local Native American tribes and rugged, modern-day cowboys come together at the annual Pendleton Round-Up, a week of special events, concerts and a Native American village culminating in the famous rodeo.