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  • Facts on the Blue Mountains in Oregon

    The Blue Mountains are a 4,000-mile mountain range located on the northeastern side of Oregon, spreading slightly into southeastern Washington. For those wishing to experience the splendor of the mountain range, the Blue Mountains Scenic Byway, about 115 miles long, is a way to see it from your vehicle. It begins at the North Fork John Day Campground Junction heading out on Forest Road 53 west, and it ends at the Columbia River.
     
    If you want to really lose yourself in the Blue Mountains, there are a number of ways to experience the range up close. From meandering hiking trails to great camping sites, there's no shortage of things to do in this stunning, and often overlooked, Oregon mountain range. (Pictured below: The Elkhon Range in the Blue Mountains in eastern Oregon just west of Baker City)
     
    Facts on the Blue Mountains in Oregon

    Fishing

    There are too many great fishing rivers, ponds, creeks and lakes to name within the Blue Mountains area. Within the Umatilla National Forest District, anglers love to cast their reel in Lost Lake, an 8-acre lake with cutthroat trout. Fly, spin and bait fishing methods are allowed here and the angling season runs from the spring through the fall.

    Jubilee Lake is a 97-acre reservoir nestled in the Blue Mountains that is stocked with rainbow trout in the summer. There is camping at the lake as well as bank fishing and a boat dock for electric motor boats only.

    Bull Prairie Lake is a 28-acre lake offering brook and rainbow trout. There are a number of places to fish at Bull Prairie Lake, including three floating docks. For those that want to make a weekend of it, there is a campground adjacent to the lake.

     
     

    Hiking

    Hiking abounds in the Blue Mountains and there are trails to fit every ability. Some of the range's best hikes take 30 minutes while others can take several days.

    Those looking for a challenge will enjoy the Alder Creek Trail, a difficult three-mile hike, taking up to 2½ hours and heading mostly uphill. The trail connects with the Copple Butte Trail which leads to Madison Butte or it's possible to make this a loop hike by connecting to the Skookum Trail.

    For a quick and easy hike with a big payoff, try the Arch Rock Trail. Just one-third of a mile long, the Arch Rock Trail is fairly easy, taking just a half-hour, and leads hikers to Arch Rock, an ashflow tuff with a scenic arch and interesting geological features.

    A popular hike in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness Area is the Mount Misery Trail. Despite its name, the hike is an easy 8.2-mile round trip rim hike featuring great wilderness views and potential elk sightings. It can also be a longer backpacking trip depending on the route taken. This trail is in the Washington State portion of the Blue Mountains.

    Rafting

    Rafting or kayaking is possible on the white waters of the Grande Ronde River or the Snake River. The 182-mile Grande Ronde Wild and Scenic River is a tributary of the Snake River. The mellow whitewater and gorgeous scenery makes the Grande Ronde one of the most popular multi-day rafting rivers in the state.

    Oregon's Snake River runs through Hell's Canyon, the deepest gorge in the Blue Mountains and in all of North America, and is a major river in the Pacific Northwest. The river forms the border of Oregon and Idaho and produces the largest whitewater rapids in the Pacific Northwest. Adventure seekers looking for a serious time on the river should book a trip on the Snake. (Pictured below: Hell's Canyon on the border between Idaho and Oregon)

    Hell's Canyon

    Camping

    There are plenty of camping sites and RV parks throughout the Blue Mountains. Cities such as Prairie City, Baker City, Ukiah and John Day offer many developed campgrounds as well as sites for "roughing it." In the Umatilla National Forest Ranger District alone there are 35 different campgrounds to choose form. 

     

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