Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hell's Canyon Loop, Oregon

It all started last year when I found out about Hell's Canyon, Oregon. I had never heard of this place before so of course in my usual fashion I made a mental note to find out more about this place as a destination for our next road trip. If you do a google search you will find that Hell's Canyon is the deepest canyon in the continental USA. It is 2,000 ft deeper than the Grand Canyon, and at 9 miles wide, it is only 1 mile less in width. I started to follow BLOGS some time ago and when I saw the pictures of the canyon (from The Oasis of my soul: Beemerchef) I knew that I had to travel there to take pictures of my own. I have been a hobbyist photographer for years and we enjoy taking the road less travelled. While my preferred mode of transport is anything with 2 wheels (either Motorcycle or Scooter) we usually take the car on these backroad adventures to places less travelled.
I must say that the backroads of Oregon are just spectacular. We started our trip into the Hell's Canyon area East from LeGrand and stayed in Enterprise, Ore. We used this as our base for 2 days, travelling to Joseph and Halfway. We had drive Hwy 39 three times, back and forth on day 1 and then again to finish our loop to Baker City. We tried to stop as often as we dared to take pictures, but often it was not possible. The road is narrow and there are few pull outs. Hwy 39 has lots of twisties (a motorcyclists dream) with some serious switchbacks as it winds down the mountain near the Halfway portion.

This was taken just east of Joseph, OR before you climbed into the mountains:

I believe that this was originally a forest service road which was eventually paved. The road is narrow in spots & when you see signs to slow to 15mph, they really mean it:

You have to drive approx 50 miles over a rough, narrow and winding road WITH NO GUARD RAILS, but at least it is paved. We eventually get to the Hell's Canyon Overlook viewpoint. The parking lot was empty except for 2 harleys from Alberta:


After we left the Lookout we headed east towards Oxbow and crossed the bridge over the river and noticed the sign that said "welcome to Idaho" . We took the road North towards the Dam and saw these signs:


Well, I tried to climb the first hill, but the road was too rough and had to turn around. (I sure wish I still had my YJ moment) . The road basically winds its way north mostly along the water line with great views. This is the Snake River and we noticed that the water flowed northward (or is that uphill) and was very fast moving.

No comments:

Post a Comment