Summer camping- Wallowa Lake & Hells Canyon - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 03-24-2019, 11:09 AM   #1
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Summer camping- Wallowa Lake & Hells Canyon

Has anyone done any camping in the Wallowa Lake area (Joseph, Oregon) and in the Hell's Canyon area to the east? Wallowa Lake State Park is completely booked from now to forever so we need to find an alternative for a trip in July.
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Old 03-24-2019, 01:37 PM   #2
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I keep dreaming about that area, but I haven't gotten there yet. My thoughts:
1. check out https://freecampsites.net/#!(45.42231,+-117.32139)
2. use google maps (terrain feature, following with satellite view) to find spots along national forest roads where you could boondock
3. keep checking the reservation site every few days to try and catch a cancellation opening; I've had good luck with Sundays, people seem to cancel on that day.
4. http://www.ultimatecampgrounds.com/i...ducts/full-map
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Old 03-24-2019, 02:37 PM   #3
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Mike G, thanks to the link to freecampsites.net Was not familiar with that site. In addition to the Wallowas, you should add Steens Mountain area to you list of places in eastern OR to visit. We visited there last Summer and enjoyed it. Not near anything so not many visitors in the area.
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Old 03-24-2019, 04:32 PM   #4
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Try Park at the River in Joseph. We ended up there one time when we mistakenly thought we didn't need reservations at the state park. Park at the River was full, but they let us dry camp right on the river. It was a nice, clean, little rv park.

BTW don't forget to take a tram ride to the top of the mountain. Gorgeous views and some trails to wander. Dress warm, though...

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Old 03-24-2019, 04:39 PM   #5
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Snowmtn, thanks for the recommendation on Park at the River. I just made a reservation for a no-hookup site on the river. Looks like a nice park. That was the next to last site they had available in the park for our dates so glad we go it.
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Old 03-24-2019, 08:30 PM   #6
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Woodhead Park on the Idaho side of the Snake River in Hells Canyon is a nice, well maintained park. It has electric and water hookups and is inexpensive: $16 / night, $14 if you're over 60. But in July it is very hot-- 100 degrees F. It is also pretty isolated, with the nearest towns of any size thirty miles away.
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Old 03-31-2019, 09:54 AM   #7
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This popped up on my Timeline on Facebook. For those unfamiliar with the Joseph area or the Wallowas, you may find this of interest:

20 reasons to love Joseph, high up in the 'Swiss Alps' of Oregon
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Old 03-31-2019, 03:59 PM   #8
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Thank you Donna for that Link! I spent a couple of days in Joseph a few years back with my brother when we took a jet boat ride up Hells Canyon. (That is worth it!)


I made reservations for Wallowa Lake a couple of months ago for mid-June so I could explore the area in more depth. This article is great!

Here are few photos I took back then.
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Old 03-31-2019, 04:47 PM   #9
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The State Park is where we stayed in 2009 on the inaugural trip for our Escape 19. We spent a good week exploring the area and loved. Looking forward to go back again some time. Sorry to hear the SP is booked, I really don't know of any other camping.
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Old 03-31-2019, 05:37 PM   #10
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I stayed at Wallowa State Park for three days at the very end of my Big Trip last year. Judy and I were both exhausted and the main reason for staying there was we were 5 hours from Portland and wanted to eat up all the food left from the trip! Weird reason, maybe... but I knew I didn't want to show up at home with a bunch of food. Besides we deserved some down time at the conclusion of the trip. The park was full. Even the end of September. Deer were walking through the campground. Don't feed them! And the leaves were changing too. The Tram was terrific. It was about 35 years between my visits to Joseph/Wallow Lake State Park. Makes me wonder why I waited so long.
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Old 03-31-2019, 08:52 PM   #11
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Donna, I see you had your 'Wheaties' (drank them).
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Old 03-31-2019, 09:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike G View Post
Donna, I see you had your 'Wheaties' (drank them).
Yeah, love unfiltered wheat beer. On the Big Trip I drank a whole bunch of crappy beer. I have stories to tell! Didn't get a good one until we got back west of Chicago.
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Old 04-05-2019, 10:16 AM   #13
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I have spent considerable time in the Wallowas. I used to live in La Grande,Oregon. I have backpacked and hiked in the Eagle Caps. The small town of Lostine,OR lies between Wallowa and Enterprise on 82. The Lostine River flows out of the Eagle Caps right at the town. You can drive the Lostine River road up the Lostine River and you will find dry camping opportunities. My favorite is Shady Campground right on the river which in my opinion is one of the most beautiful mountain streams anywhere. I like Shady Campground because the trailhead to Maxwell Lake is there. The trail is 7.6 miles to the lake with a 2400ft elevation gain to the lake. There are a bunch of fairly easy switchbacks until the last mile or so when it looks like the trail builders just decided to forego the switchbacks and just went straight up. Yes, it is a difficult hike but at the top there are three lakes total, stunningly beautiful and I swam in them last August. Even if you don't feel comfortable hauling your rig up the Lostine, it makes for a beautiful day trip and you can hike all or part of the trails in the area. I pick up my 19 in June and plan to head up the Lostine to Shady Campground myself. The road gets fairly rough and you will be passing horse trailers along the way because at the terminus of the Lostine River Road is horse packer campground but they don't use the Maxwell Lake Trail that I have ever seen. I have hiked up to the Lake 3 times now and it never gets old. There, probably more information that you were looking for but as you can tell, this area is special for me. It may be a bit adventurous for some but hey, I am pushing 68 and still going strong so the Lostine is on my list !
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