All About the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Website

The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest spans nearly 2.3 million acres from the central Blue and Wallowa Mountains in northeast Oregon and across the Snake River into Seven Devils Mountains in western Idaho. These diverse landscapes are the backdrop for rural communities as individual as their local residents. The first settlers in northeast Oregon arrived via the Oregon Trail. In 1861, gold was discovered near Baker City and mining towns flourished. Farmers, ranchers, and merchants followed the miners, providing services and food. A period of intense mining and logging coincided with the arrival of the Union Pacific Railroad across the region. Mining flourished until the turn of the century and then declined. Timber, cattle ranching, and agriculture remain key activities, although the area is known for its stunning scenery and myriad of recreation opportunities. This rural setting is inspiring to talented individuals who have created a local community of artists and writers.

The Hells Canyon National Recreation Area (HCNRA), located in the northeast corner of Oregon and west-central Idaho, was established by the U.S. Congress on December 31st, 1975 and is administered as part of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. The primary feature of the HCRNA is Hells Canyon. Measuring 7,993 feet deep from the Seven Devils to the Snake River and, in some places 10 miles from rim to rim, it forms the deepest river canyon in North America. The HCNRA contains exceptional archeological sites, a richness and productivity of vegetation, and unique geology. These characteristics combine to create a colorful backdrop for recreation activities and exploration.

The historic Nez Perce Tribe journey and flight to Canada in 1877, led by young Chief Joseph, began in Wallowa County, on the north end of the Wallow-Whitman National Forest. 

The 1,170 mile Nez Perce National Historic Trail begins near Wallowa Lake at the foot of the Eagle Cap Wilderness and crosses the Snake River at Dug Bar in the Hells Canyon National recreation Area. The trail extends through four states and ends near the Canadian Border in Montana. 

2,264 million acres
586,729 acres of wilderness
652,488 acres in hcnra
183 developed recreation sites
10 wild and scenic rivers
7,204 heritage sites
  • Your Fees At Work

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    See what was accomplished this last year on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest thanks to recreation fees.