Okay, by now FR 39, aka the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road, or the center section of the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway–the connecting road between Joseph Oregon and the Hells Canyon area of Oxbow on the way to Halfway Oregon and Baker City–has been open about three weeks for the 2011 season. And it looks like it’ll stick–the road hasn’t washed out (yet).
The next popular question: Is the road open to Hat Point Lookout at Hells Canyon? The answer to that is yes and no. Last I checked with Dave Tanzey at the venerable Imnaha Store and Tavern, the road was open past 5 Mile Lookout (looking into the Imnaha River drainage & to the Wallowa Mountains), but not quite open as far as Granny Overlook (still looking into the Imnaha River drainage). He said there’d been crews up there cutting back trees that had fallen over the road. And, the road all the way to Hat Point was still snowed in.
Take heart! We’ve had some fairly decent weather, so Hat Point should be opening up soon. It’s quite the view into Hells Canyon from over 8,000′ and the wildflowers are fabulous (see the photo taken in July 2009).
If you really need to know right away about the road, give the Imnaha Store & Tavern a call at 541-577-3111. Better yet, drive on down and meet Dave yourself over one of his famous sandwiches and a Terminal Gravity beer.
And when you’re looking for Hells Canyon lodging, look for us in Joseph Oregon. We’ll do the checking for you and make sure you’re well equipped with maps and binoculars (we’d like to see you return for the evening!).