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October 2005

Road Trip: Hells Canyon

So last week, Monica and I took a Day Trip to enjoy some of the amazing Fall colors. Our destination was Halfway, Oregon following the Snake River from Huntington Oregon. Here is a little bit about our adventure.

From Meridian, ID it is about one hour and fifteen minutes to Huntington, OR. This city is about 4 miles off I-84. It is best known for the local campground there- Farewell Bend which was a place well known to pioneers. Most people are not familiar with Huntington but it is the self procalimed Catfish Capital of Oregon.

The Snake River is about another 3 miles away and it is a dirt road until we reach Richland, OR. This is basically the headwaters of Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America. Most people are more familiar with the lower part which is known for White Water Rafting, Jet Boat Trips and Sturgeon Fishing. The stretch we explore is known as Brownlee Reservoir.

Let's get started!

Monica and Trey Langford

So once you are on the Snake River headed downstream (north), it is a dirt road but it is very open and there were not ruts or potholes that annoyed us.

Brownlee Resevoir Dirt Roads

The road eventually has a sign that says "Narrow Road" but did not seem narrow to us. As you follow the road you get amazing views up and down the canyon along the Snake River. The mountain are very steep and based on the amount of trees, it must be dry and windy quite often.

Hells Canyon Panormaic Views

Hells Canyon is full of natural beauty. The Snake River is beautiful enough but the mountains really bring everything in and remind you how small you are. About halfway to our first desitnation we saw a sign that said "Big Horn Sheep Crossing" or something like that and we thought "Wouldn't it be cool to actually see some!" We did but sorry the images did not turn out. :( It was a herd of about 10 including one monster male Big Horn Sheep. He was working his herd constantly as we watched for about 10 minutes.

Another scenic view was this sheer side of the mountains and this valley beneath it.

Hells Canyon Beautiful Valley

As we came to the end of road there was an Idaho Power Rest Area and Boat Dock. From here you climb out of the canyon as you follow the road to Eagle Valley and Richland OR, On the way to the top, what do we see? Cows of course! But check out this view!!

Hells Canyon Cows

As we continued to climb, we could see amazing more vistas. This view is from the top. Looking back you can see the Snake River.Hells Canyon Beautiful Valley

Next we crossover to Eagle Valley and Richland Oregon. Things really open up! We were blown away at how beautiful this valley was. It helped that we chose a day with peak fall colors and blue skies.

Eagle Valley Oregon

We loved Richland, OR. What a great place. If you go, check out the general store! Just for proof that I was there, here  I am--

Richland Oregon

And on to Halfway, OR we go. This area was also know as Pine Valley. The highway does not actually take you to Halfway and we did not take the road to the city. This part of the drive had lots of cottonwoods and aspens so colors were plentiful!

Hells Canyon Fall Colors

Finally, we arrive at Brownlee Dam. The air was almost still and the moment was perfect.

Brownlee Resevoir Dam

Brownlee Resevoir Hells Canyon

Now, our destination is Cambridge, ID. The landscape changes to thick pine trees as we leave the lake and the scenery continues to amaze us. On this stretch we were surprised to see wild turkeys crons the road in front of twice! The as we got into more of a open area wer saw 8 gaggles of wild turkets, Id say over 120 turkeys.

Idaho Wild Turkeys

and finally we arrive at the valley surrounding Cambridge, ID.

Cambridge Idaho

All in all it was a great trip. Here is what you need to know:

  • Fall or Spring is the best time to go. It is very hot in the summer with no place to hide from the heat.
  • It was a full 8 hours roundtrip, though we stopped a number of times for photos and lunch and shopping in Richmond, OR.
  • Take Binoculars and a camera
  • Go see the general store in Richmond. Very cool town.
  • Don't by-pass Halfway, OR like we did.
  • Take a fishing pole!
  • Make it a two day trip and get out and enjoy more of the area.
Posted by tlangford at 10/31/2017 11:48:00 PM
 
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Trey Langford

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