Hells Canyon All-American Road Scenic Byway

Forest Road 39 on the Hells Canyon Byway with blue camas flowers in foreground

Overview

The Hells Canyon All-American Road is a nationally designated scenic byway. To be recognized in this prestigious class of national byways and hold the title of "All-American Road", it must be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration with details how it possess' characteristics of national significance and at least two intrinsic qualities. 

The byway was first designated as a National Forest Service Scenic Byway in 1992, and then, as a State Scenic Byway in 1996. (Some minor modifications to the route have been made since it’s original designation in 1992). Eventually in the late 1990s, the Hells Canyon All American Road was proposed for designation by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Baker County Visitor and Convention Bureau, La Grande-Union County Visitor and Convention Bureau, and Oregon Department of Transportation. In May of 2000, the Federal Highways Administration established the Hells Canyon All American Road for its “intrinsic qualities” of exceptional scenery, widely varied terrain, recreational opportunities, and historical significance.

Attractions

Travelling through many eastern Oregon communities, the Hells Canyon All American Road extends from La Grande to Enterprise and Joseph; Joseph to Wallowa Lake; Joseph to Oxbow and Halfway; and Halfway to Richland and Baker City. Its 218-mile route wanders through exceptional scenery from river’s edge to mountain passes and valley floors. The National Forest section of the route is on Forest Road #39, between the communities of Halfway and Joseph. This section traverses the most scenic part of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

Attractions and spectacular scenery along the byway are rich in history, recreational and interpretive facilities, local agriculture, and wildlife viewing. Plan for at least 5 hours to enjoy the road.

More information usch as maps, route information, attractions and local towns you can visit the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway  or  National Scenic Byway Program websites.

Advisory: The Hells Canyon Scenic Byway is usually closed by snow from late October through late May or early June and is not passable with motor vehicles.