- The Wallowa -Whitman National Forest contains 2.3 million acres ranging in elevation from 875 feet in Hells Canyon, to 9845 feet in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Hell's Canyon, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area (HCNRA) straddles the Snake River which forms the boundary between Idaho and Oregon and encompasses 652,488-acres. The Hells Canyon Wilderness comprises nearly 215,000 acres within the HCNRA. The HCNRA, Oregon side, has 15 campgrounds that are located in four distinct and separate areas. The Imnaha River area supports a total of six facilities. The Imnaha River is a designated Wild and Scenic River and is considered critical habitat for the listed Chinook Salmon and the listed Bull Trout. Forest Road #46 or Wellamotkin Drive area supports two developed facilities, which are located north and west of Enterprise and offers some spectacular views of Hells Canyon. These facilities are located along the rim area within timbered groves. The Hat Point complex begins at the town of Imnaha and terminates at Hat Point Lookout where two developed facilities are available. A variety of experiences are available along the 26-mile trip including vistas and hiking trails. The North Pine area is comprised of three sites (North Pine Rest Stop, Duck Lake, and Twin Lakes), two located in an alpine zone and associated with lakes, and the North Pine Rest Stop located along the Scenic Byway.
There are four designated scenic drives on the Wallowa-Whitman: Elkhorn Drive National Forest Scenic Byway, Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, Highway 3 Scenic Drive, Lostine Canyon Scenic Drive
The Forest contains several designated Wild and Scenic Rivers. In the winter, Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort offers downhill skiing and snowboarding.
The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest contains portions of four designated Wilderness Areas. Visitors to the Hells Canyon Wilderness can ramble among 9,300 foot alpine peaks before descending 7,000 feet to desert like river bottoms on trails that crisscross open grassy benches and thickly timbered draws; trails that cross level flats and fade into the horizon and steep narrow trails that were blasted into sheer rock bluffs. There are approximately 360 miles of trails scattered throughout the wilderness. In Idaho, backpackers are the dominant recreational group between June to September with the alpine lakes of the Seven Devil Mountains being the main attraction. Equestrians dominate the Oregon side with heaviest use associated with spring and fall big game hunt season. However, the lower elevations offer wilderness recreational opportunities year round.
The Eagle Cap Wilderness lies in the heart of the Wallowa Mountains in northeastern Oregon. It is characterized by high alpine lakes and meadows, bare granite peaks and ridges, and U-shaped glaciated valleys. Hikers and horseback riders can choose from approximately 534 miles of trails.
From rolling bench lands to the granite outcrops of the Greenhorn Mountains, the rugged North Forest John Day Wilderness provides diverse landscapes. Much of the wilderness is composed of gentle bench lands and tablelands; the remaining of steep ridges and alpine lake basins. A continuous vegetative canopy covers most of the land, including dense virgin stands of conifer species like Douglas-fir, white fir, western larch and lodgepole pine.
In the Monument Rock Wilderness, at the southernmost edge of the Blue Mountains, the area's alpine, once-glaciated ridges offer views across much of eastern Oregon. Hunting is the most popular activity, with hiking and backpacking increasing in popularity. Table Rock Lookout draws many visitors and is one of the entry points to the Wilderness.
Recreation - The Wallowa-Whitman offers opportunities for a variety of outdoor recreation activities. Some of the many activities include camping, picnicking, fishing, backpacking, rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, hunting, four-wheel driving, motorcycle and ATV riding, downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
The Forest has established campgrounds located throughout the Forest. If you prefer more solitude or want to explore the backcountry, most of the Forest is open for dispersed or backcountry camping. Some regulations apply. Typically, dispersed camping is NOT allowed in the vicinity of developed recreation areas such as campgrounds, picnic areas or trailheads.
Climate - The diversity in elevation on the Wallowa-Whitman can also cause unpredictable weather with temperatures ranging from winter nighttime lows of 30 degrees Fahrenheit in alpine country to over 100 degrees in the summer at lower elevations near the Snake River. Precipitations also vary greatly. Changes in weather are common, but summers are generally warm and dry with cool evenings. Cold, snowy winters and mild temperatures during spring and fall can be expected.
The Wollowa-Whitman National Forest is located in the northeast corner of Oregon. It includes and administers the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area on the Snake River, along the Oregon-Idaho border. The Forest is headquartered in Baker, Oregon. Interstate 84 runs between two large sections of the Forest.