Special Places

Because of the unique and diverse landscape, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is full of many special places that visitors enjoy each year.  From subalpine wilderness areas to wild and scenic rivers, almost 40% of the forest has been congressionally designated as a "special place".

These places are found in the main areas that define the forest's Recreation 'Niche'. In 2006 the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest developed a Recreation Program Niche which reflects its defining or unique characteristics and abilities. To define these characteristics, the niche focuses on setting descriptions and emphasis, site function, key activities, site types and capacity.

Accessible Recreation

Accessible RecreationWatch videos, and learn more about premier accessible recreation sites at Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. 




Striking Scenery

Image of a rugged rocky canyon from the viewpoint

From the bottom of Hells Canyon, North America’s deepest river gorge, through the pastoral Blue Mountains, to the top of the Eagle Cap Wilderness, the largest Wilderness in Oregon, visitors have the freedom to explore these crown jewels of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

Out the Front Door and into the Backcountry

Rider and packstring going down a long mountain trail

Big game hunting, wildlife viewing, hiking, snow sports, and horseback riding beckon. This remote, rugged area has nearly 2,900 miles of trail, five scenic byways, and four wilderness areas.


High Desert Oasis

Wild and scenic Lostine River flowing down a mountain valley


Ten Wild and Scenic rivers, high and low elevation lakes, the Snake River, river running, Class IV & V rapids, and fishing all draw visitors to the Forest.

Available History

Large 2 story ranch house and log cabin at Kirkwood Ranch


Settlement patterns, from Native American homelands to mining to the Oregon Trail to agriculture and timber, make for premiere interpretation and education opportunities.

Highlighted Areas

Oregon Trail Interpretive Park at Blue Mt Crossing

Experience the Oregon Trail as the pioneers did! Some of the best-preserved traces of the Historic Oregon Trail await you on this forested ridge. Walk among stately Ponderosa pines that still bear the scars made by passing wagons over 150 years ago. Meander on a gentle footpath next to wagon-wide depressions. Enjoy the sweeping view that met the emigrant’s eyes so long ago. Choose a Discovery Trail and literally walk in the footsteps of the pioneers.

The Oregon Trail Interpretive Park at Blue Mountain Crossing is a combination interpretive trail and picnic area. Facilities include large parking areas, paved accessible trails, drinking water restrooms and interpretation panels. Living history re-enactments are periodically available on holidays. The site may be staffed on weekends or holidays.

Recreation Areas