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Nestled in the Oregon Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area is not only home to the deepest river gorge in the United States but is also a place with incredibly diverse flora and fauna. Nature lovers flock to this place all year round to explore it in a boat or on foot. Hells Canyon National Recreation Area is perfect for hiking, fishing, and wildlife observation.
This 652,488-acre recreation area was established by President Gerald Ford in 1975. The U.S. Congress recognized the historical importance of this land and wanted to protect the Hells Canyon Archeological District. The recreation area is located east of Enterprise and two hours away from La Grande. When you want to experience the great outdoors in glorious Oregon, book an RV in Wallowa County, gather up your camping buddies, and have an unforgettable motorhome camping trip at Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area features an extensive network of trails that are suitable for hikers of all levels. The majority of trails follow the old Forest Service access roads, and they are mostly easy to conquer. However, some portions of the trails are challenging because they go over steep slopes. The Western Rim National Recreation Trail is well-liked by experienced hikers, and it goes along the canyon, providing hikers with breathtaking views of nature. This trail is a favorite among snowshoers once winter rolls in.
With the Snake River flowing through this recreation area, watersport enthusiasts may engage in various activities here. The river has class I-IV rapids, so it is popular among rafters. However, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area campers may also rent a kayak and explore the canyon that way. The Snake River is an outstanding fishing destination. Anglers come here regardless of the season to catch steelhead, salmon, brook trout, and bass.
While there are 100 smaller campsites all around Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, not all of them can accommodate long vehicles and RVs. Blackhorse Campground could be your best option if you plan on spending some time here in a rental RV. The campground is close to the Imnaha River, allowing the visitors to have easy access to the water. A boat ramp is just a short walk away from the camp.
There are 16 paved sites within the campground, and they are not reservable. Each site has a small picnic table that is covered, as well as a fire ring. There are no hookups available here, but campers may use the toilets and a dump station during their stay. Don’t forget to bring supplies with you because the closest store is miles away. The campground is open from May to October.
Located in the Grande Ronde Valley, La Grande is a small community along the Oregon Trail. It got its name from Charles Dause, an early settler of French descent who used the term le grande to illustrate the natural beauty of this area. Today, La Grande is often visited by tourists traveling to the nearby national parks and forests. There are plenty of unique attractions in the city. One of them is the Eastern Oregon Fire Museum. The museum can be especially fun to younger visitors since they might learn a lot about fire fighting and jump into one of six old fire trucks that are permanently on display. Not to forget that the museum is housed inside an old fire station in the heart of La Grande.
Are you interested in the local art scene? If the answer is yes, your next stop could be the Art Center East. Established in 1977 to promote talented artists in East Oregon, this art center displays permanent exhibits and organizes various workshops, as well as events. Many up-and-coming artists showcase their best work here every month. Visitors are free to explore the art gallery, sign up for courses, and improve their skills among a welcoming crowd of fellow creatives.
La Grande is not a large city, but it still has several restaurants offering both international and local cuisine. Visitors who are RV camping in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and wish to buy some fresh produce could attend La Grande Farmers’ Market. The market is open seasonally, with dozens of vendors from all around the county selling fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, baked goods, and many more.
Once you feel ready to say goodbye to La Grande, make sure you stop by a gas station first. There are a couple of them close to the downtown area. Then head south on I-84 to Vale, a city close to the Idaho border.