Joseph Travel Guide

  • Wallowa peaks rise beyond alpine flowers
    Wallowa peaks rise beyond alpine flowers
    by mtncorg
  • Eagle Cap alpenglow looms above Mirror Lake
    Eagle Cap alpenglow looms above Mirror...
    by mtncorg
  • Walking from the north end of Main St.
    Walking from the north end of Main St.
    by ZanieOR

Joseph Highlights

  • Pro
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    ZanieOR says…

     A view of the Wallowa Mts. from everywhere in town 

  • Con
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    ZanieOR says…

     Its a long way from a big airport from which to travel the wide world. 

  • In a nutshell
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    ZanieOR says…

     Oregon's Hidden Paradise, a lost corner of America 

Joseph Things to Do

  • Kooch's Black Clydesdales

    One of the most photographed attractions in Wallowa County is a herd of black Clydesdales horses grazing in a large pasture along Highway 82, just a couple miles southeast of Enterprise headed for Joseph. Their backdrop is a spectacular view of the Wallowa Mountains.Usually in the spring there will be a foal or two (and their moms) in a corral...

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  • TERMINAL GRAVITY

    A local brewpub in Enterprise makes some excellent beer that can be hard to find elsewhere. They bottle a super IPA which is a perfect beer for the environment - not too heavy, but not too light like a Milwaukie, St Louis, Coors or Mexican option. Just enough hop to remind you that you are in the High Country. The brewpub is just off of OR 82 on...

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  • ICE LAKE

    Ice Lake lies at just under 8000 feet with some 2400 vertical feet being gained in a fairly short time from the West Wallowa Trail - trailhead near Wallowa Lake, total distance 7.5 miles. The lake is surrounded by peaks and meadows. It is a favorite destination for fishermen, backpackers and would-be climbers of Oregon’s Matterhorn. The waters are...

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Joseph Hotels

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Joseph Restaurants

  • Good Pizza and Calzone

    Embers is a good place to go for salad, pizza and calzone for dinner in a pub atmosphere. Good selection of microbrews, including of course offerings from the local Terminal Gravity. There is outdoor seating in the summer.

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  • Bakery and restaurant

    Like many places in Joseph, Wildflower Bakery is only open for breakfast and lunch. It's a very good place to eat: I know my city friends were impressed. Not fancy but a whole grain, home atmosphere kind of place.It also sells fresh baked breads, rolls, cinnamon rolls, etc.In the summer a Farmers Market with local in-season produce sets up every...

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  • Unique to Wallowa Lake

    Vali's is situated in the center of Wallowa Lake's resort community, a unique place that you take visiting friends.It has been operated for over 25 by Mike and Maggie Vali, who are both transplanted Hungarians, refuges from the Communists when they were in power. He escaped as a young man, she with her family as a teenager, and they met in the...

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Joseph Nightlife

  • YOUR IMAGINATION

    Nightlife in the mountains is up to you. In the popular Lake Basin and some other areas - ie Glacier Lake - campfires are prohibited. You can still sit our awhile resting tired bones while looking out over the landscape as it changes color, minute-to-minute, with the sunset. Your libation is limited only by what you can carry;-\ After the sun goes...

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  • Night Life in Joseph

    To be honest, there's only a couple of places to go at night in Joseph -- The Hydrant Tavern, which has a pool table and where my daughter and her friends like to gather when she's home for karaoke (update: at least before she became a mother in Oct. '04) ; and the Stubborn Mule, which includes a restaurant and decent food, a sports bar and I think...

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  • Joseph Hotels

    3 Hotels in Joseph

    44 Reviews and Opinions

Joseph Transportation

  • Joseph Airport

    Hey, Joseph has an airport, just a couple of miles out of town. It's even been upgraded the last couple of years with a new return runway built by the state and the fixed base operator finally jumping through all the hoops to get a fuel tank put in. He also owns a bed and breakfast in Joseph (Strawberry Wilderness) and runs a free shuttle to...

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  • Rattlesnake Grade

    There's only a few ways into Wallowa County and Joseph -- state highway 82 from La Grande is the primary route. There's also what we call Mountain Loop Rd. from Joseph to Halfway (and Baker County), but that's snowed in most of the winter.Then there's Rattlesnake Grade or Highway 3 into Enterprise from Lewiston, Idaho, referred locally as "the...

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Joseph Shopping

  • ZanieOR's Profile Photo
    Mad Mary's

    by ZanieOR Updated Jun 25, 2005

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In addition to art galleries, Joseph has a number of neat places to shop -- especially for gift-type items -- and one of them is Mad Mary's
    .
    It's motto is "everything fun and fattening" and one of it's offerings is a large variety of homemade fudge. (Update:Now truffles and many other kinds of desserts)
    It is a large store -- which is in the process of building a new and bigger space in the middle of town -- and one of the few stores open during the winter months on Sundays.

    Mad Mary's is a fun place for both visitors and locals when they are in the mood for browsing or gift shopping.

    (Update: as of May, 2005, Mad Mary's moved to its new, bigger home in the heart of downtown Joseph. It now has a large old-fashioned soda fountain serving a wide range of delectible desserts and fountain items, as well as espresso, etc. Mad Mary's is a wonderful store.)

    What to buy: There's a lot of Western and country-type stuff , and a whole room for games and kids stuff.
    Upstairs truly impressive unique log furniture made by a local company is for sale

    What to pay: A very wide range of prices, from very inexpensive to very expensive (for the furniture)

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Family Travel

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Joseph Local Customs

  • Real Cowboys

    Cowboys are the real deal in Wallowa County. Guys (and women) wearing cowboy boots and hats and driving muddy pickups aren't playing games. They really do feed cattle, ride horses, brand calves, drive their herds from summer to winter pasture. In Wallowa County we've got cowboy poets, home-grown country bands (of course there are also classical...

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  • Lots of parades

    The towns of Wallowa County enjoy holding parades along with their events with five or six planned every year. The largest is in Joseph during Chief Joseph Days when up to 10,000 people line the streets to watch about 100 entries, many with a Western theme. There's also a popular junior parade for kids only during CJD. The town of Wallowa (pop 900)...

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  • Visiting in middle of sidewalk

    The natives of Joseph and Wallowa County are a pretty friendly lot, and stop and catch up on the news wherever they encounter each other, whether it be the middle of the sidewalk or in Jerry's Market or (especially) in Safeway in Enterprise, where it's hard to get out without visiting with three or four people.Sometimes on the side streets you'll...

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Joseph Warnings and Dangers

  • Joseph. Pretty on the outside...

    I went here recently, admired the art and scenery, but was horrified to witness an African-American woman- a visitor, being totally jeered and taunted by locals on main street Joseph. I am not a local, I am Caucasian, and I am not on the "front lines" protesting the littlest things. But witnessing this behavior in front of my two kids made me...

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  • Watch out for the deer!

    I don't know where to get the statistics for car-deer collisions in Wallowa County, but I guarantee the per capita rate is pretty high. So watch out for deer while driving, especially at night. You'll often see them crossing the highway, and if you see one there's probably more along the road. And remember, it's often better to hit the deer than to...

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Joseph Tourist Traps

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    My own kids on the go-carts

    by ZanieOR Written Mar 27, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In some ways the "attractions" at the resort area of Wallowa Lake can be considered tourist traps, but they are also a lot of fun for kids and a break from hiking, fishing and other healty outdoor activities, and even from looking at art galleries.
    The attractions include go-carts, miniature golf, bumper boats.

    Unique Suggestions: Have fun, and give in to the experience!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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Joseph What to Pack

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    by ZanieOR Updated Apr 10, 2004

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Let's see: you need cowboy boots for the rodeo, visiting Imnaha and horseback riding; hiking boots for treking in Eagle Cap Wilderness; beach shoes or flip-flops while hanging out at Wallowa Lake (those rocks can be sharp); walking shoes for exploring town; and running shoes for that morning jog along the lake. Oh, if you come in the winter bring your Sorrel snow boots and skis.
    Evenings cool off even on the hottest days (usually below 90 degrees F., though last year was pretty hot), so don't forget a jacket or sweater. And it has been known to snow every month except August, though the summer is usually safe).

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Joseph and Wallowa Lake has few mosquitoes during the summer, but the bugs can be plentiful in the wilderness, especially late summer. So bring bug repellent for camping trips into wilderness.

    Photo Equipment: P.S. Don't forget the camera. You can't walk through Joseph in the summer without seeing folks taking photos of all our great sculptures.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Water Sports
    • Family Travel

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Joseph Off The Beaten Path

  • UPPER LAKE

    Somewhat lost in the drama of the Lake Basin is small Upper Lake, lying just beyond Mirror Lake. The lake is set at the head of the upper East Lostine Valley and serves as the river’s source. You can find a few fish in the lake and there are a few campsites hidden away. The increased isolation and views down the East Lostine more than make up for...

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  • Visit Eagle Cap Wilderness

    This could just as easily be in the "Must See" tip, as some of the trail heads are easily accessible, especially the one just above Wallowa Lake at the end of the road.Eagle Cap is the largest wilderness area in Oregon with some 350,000 acres, 53 Alpine Lakes and 47 trailheads.Fill out a wildeness pass before you hike or pack into the wilderness...

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  • The town of Imnaha

    About 30 miles east of Joseph is the little unincorporated town of Imnaha, famous for the Bear and Rattlesnake feed during the annual Canyon Day in September (there's also a parade, tug of war, rodeo playday and outdoor dance). Locals hang out at the Imnaha Store and Tavern.The paved road ends in Imnaha, though you can go down to Dug Bar, the only...

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Joseph Sports & Outdoors

  • Fergie Ridge ski area

    Ferguson Ridge ski area is a locals ski area, featuring a T-bar and rope tow lift and a warming building with deck about 10 miles east of Joseph.The Eagle Cap Ski Club, which operates it, has been around for 50 years, and moved their ski slope to Fergi Ridge about 15 years ago. There's a season pass, and I think a day's pass is about $10 to $15 and...

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  • Alpine Meadows Golf Course

    There is a beautiful nine-hole golf course in Enterprise (you just play twice for 18 holes). I'm not a golfer, but I guess Alpine Meadows has a reputation as one of the toughest courses in Eastern Oregon -- and the one with the most scenic view.There's a full service golf shop, and cart and golf club rentals are available.You don't need to reserve...

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  • Joseph Hotels

    3 Hotels in Joseph

    44 Reviews and Opinions

Joseph Favorites

  • WANDER THROUGH WALLOWAN MEADOWS

    Long a haunt for the Nez Perce Indians, now the Wallowas are protected as the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area. This is such a grand region to wander about in, whether you are fishing, hiking, climbing, riding or simply taking the dog for a walk.Long meadows in the summer, beckon you to stay longer. In late spring, backcountry skiers have their own...

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  • DON'T FORGET TO SMELL THE FLOWERS

    The mountain tops are superb and the fishing great, but all over the landscape, wildflowers further enlighten the landscape. The flowers bring butterflies and bees of all sorts and color combinations. It is an amazing sight to have the opportunity to wander amongst.

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  • Fishtrap Inc.

    Wallowa County is extremely lucky to be the home of a very successful nonprofit organization that promotes literary arts.Fishtrap Inc. was founded about 15 years ago to host a summer writers workshop called Fishtrap Gathering at Wallowa Lake, which involved western writers and eastern publishers. It was very successful and is still held around a...

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Explore Deeper into Joseph
MATTERHORN
Things to Do
LOSTINE LOOP
Things to Do
EAST LOSTINE VALLEY
Things to Do
BROWN MOUNTAIN’
Things to Do
MINAM LAKE
Things to Do
GLACIER LAKE
Things to Do
MIRROR LAKE
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SUMMIT VIEWS
Things to Do
SUMMIT TRAIL
Things to Do
EAGLE CAP
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Bronze, Blues and Brews Festival
Things to Do
Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts
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Terminal Gravity microbrewery
Favorites
Birds and wildlife
Favorites
"Little Switzerland of America"
Favorites
Tamkaliks Celebration
Things to Do
Joseph artwalk
Things to Do
Hurricane Ck. Campground
Favorites
Eagle Cap Excursion Train
Things to Do
Wallowa County Museum
Things to Do
Oregon Mountain Car Cruise
Things to Do
Lostine flea market
Things to Do
Bottomless bowl of soup
Restaurants
Chief Joseph Days
Things to Do
Visit the art galleries in town.
Things to Do
Map of Joseph

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