Wallowa Wild and Scenic River
Bureau of Land Management, Oregon.
To prevent overcrowding and reduce campsite competition, please plan your trip to avoid weekends and holidays if possible and keep your group as small as possible. Please follow State Covid-19 recommendations, including 6-foot social distancing between parties, and allow plenty of extra time at the put-in and take-out points.
Some Oregon and Washington State lands remain closed for overnight use, and are open for Day-Use only. Please contact the respective State for current information.
River regulations still apply, and visitors are required to practice Leave No Trace to minimize impacts to the river resources.
For more river information, please call the BLM Baker Field Office at 541-523-1256.
Each year, the Wallowa Wild and Scenic River receives thousands of visitors seeking the beauty and diverse recreation opportunities that the river offer. Where road and trail access is most limited, well-prepared whitewater boaters travel the river using a variety of specialized watercraft. A typical float trip begins at Minam on the Wallowa River and lasts two to three days, taking out on the Grande Ronde River downstream.
Peak recreational boating season is between April and August, although river trips are possible throughout the year, depending on river conditions. Because the rivers are primarily free-flowing, water levels and river character changes dramatically with the seasons and local weather. Higher, faster river flows typically occur in the spring and early summer, as warmer temperatures and increased rainfall melt high mountain snows. As the season progresses, the river level gradually drops. By August, river flows are typically very low, with shallow water and exposed rocks being common. Low water levels usually remain throughout the fall and winter months. Boaters are strongly advised to obtain up-to-date river conditions and weather forecasts when planning their trip. Visitors wishing to avoid crowds should plan their trip to avoid weekends and holidays if possible.
Know Before You Go:
Every boating party must obtain a Self-Issue River Permit prior to launch, available at most public river access points. Permits are free, and do not restrict number of trips you make, or limit trip itineraries. Contact the BLM for more details-see contact information on sidebar.
Primitive, undeveloped river camping is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Visitors are required to follow low impact, Leave-No-Trace practices to minimize the traces of their stay and help preserve the natural resources.
Vehicle shuttle routes often include rough roads, and may require good map reading skills and/or GPS to follow. Some roads may be unmaintained or impassable inquire locally for current conditions. Gasoline, food, and other services are often not available in rural areas. Cell phone service is generally not available in the remote, rugged terrain of the river corridor. Drivers should be well prepared, and carry extra fuel, food, water, and a spare tire. For safety, always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
For a developed camping experience, check out Minam State Recreation Area 2 miles north of Minam, Oregon. Campsites are available year-round on a first-come, first-served basis.
Point of Interest:
Completed in 1908, the rail line known as the "Joseph Branch" transported goods and people, shutting down in the early 2000s. Today, one can get a close-up view of the Wallowa River on the seasonally-operated Eagle Cap Excursion Train, a heritage railroad service.
- Wildlife Viewing
From Enterprise, Oregon: Drive west 31 miles on State Highway 82. The highway crosses the Wallowa River at Minam, Oregon.