Imnaha River, Hat Point Overlook

Joseph, Oregon

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A fifty-eight-mile drive on paved and dirt roads through scenic canyons and into the mountains of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. Beginning in Enterprise at 3,757 feet elevation, the drive travels the first fourteen miles through level farm country framed by the magnificent Wallowa Mountains. After descending into a rugged canyon for twenty-one miles, the pavement ends at the tiny community of Imnaha. The final twenty-four miles to Hat Point climbs to 6,982 feet on a narrow, rough, and rocky dirt road. The scenery is spectacular as the road clings to cliffs, weaves through forest, and winds by deep gorges, sheer cliffs, hills, and mountains. For many this final segment has an irresistible, almost mystical allure. Be forewarned, however. The forest service recommends 2.5 hours travel time one way, and that doesn’t include sightseeing stops. If you value your vehicle’s undercarriage, do not attempt this with a sports car or other low-clearance vehicles. Also, sharp turns and the one-lane road bed make it unsuitable for trailers and motorhomes. Leave your boat trailer at home or in Imnaha, for there is no place to launch it along the way.
Scenic Driving Oregon

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Scenic Driving Oregon

by Tom Barr (Falcon Guides)

A fifty-eight-mile drive on paved and dirt roads through scenic canyons and into the mountains of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. Beginning in Enterprise at 3,757 feet elevation, the drive travels the first fourteen miles through level farm country framed by the magnificent Wallowa Mountains. After descending into a rugged canyon for twenty-one miles, the pavement ends at the tiny community of Imnaha.

The final twenty-four miles to Hat Point climbs to 6,982 feet on a narrow, rough, and rocky dirt road. The scenery is spectacular as the road clings to cliffs, weaves through forest, and winds by deep gorges, sheer cliffs, hills, and mountains. For many this final segment has an irresistible, almost mystical allure. Be forewarned, however. The forest service recommends 2.5 hours travel time one way, and that doesn’t include sightseeing stops. If you value your vehicle’s undercarriage, do not attempt this with a sports car or other low-clearance vehicles. Also, sharp turns and the one-lane road bed make it unsuitable for trailers and motorhomes. Leave your boat trailer at home or in Imnaha, for there is no place to launch it along the way.

©  Tom Barr/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Scenic Drives
Nearby City: Joseph
Distance: 58
Season: July through October
Local Contacts: Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Eagle Cap Ranger District; Hells Canyon National Recreation Area
Driving Directions: Directions to Imnaha River, Hat Point Overlook

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May 2018