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Okay, so the road’s open between Oxbow or Halfway and Joseph Oregon but Hat Point?

Hat Point Overlook as seen in July when the wildflowers are blooming.  Spectacular views of Hells Canyon and the Snake River from the western rim of Hells Canyon.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!).


  1. Heather says:

    Well, they drove to about 3/4 mile from the Hat Point Overlook fire tower. There’s still some snow on the ground but more important are the trees blocking the road. And they were definitely in 4-wheet for part of the way. Maybe next week–who knows?

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