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The Boathouse Blog

Activities for Non-Fisherman near Joseph, OR

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Activities for Non-Fishermen near Joseph, OR

At Winding Waters River Expeditions we love fishing. Nothing makes us happier than going out on the Grande Ronde river in search of Steelhead, Rainbow Trout or Smallmouth Bass. But while Joseph, OR is a fisherman’s dream, not everybody loves fishing as much as us. Luckily, there are many ways to experience the waters and the natural wonderland of the Wallowa region without casting a fly. Whether it is rafting, hiking, or even bird watching, Joseph Oregon has something for every member of your family!

Below we’ve outlined 5 of our favorite activities for non-fisherman in the Wallowa region.


White Water Rafting

Fishing too slow for you? No fear! You can still experience the beautiful rivers in the Wallowa region! The Salmon, Snake, and Grande Ronde rivers all offer their own unique and exciting adventures. At Winding Waters River Expeditions, we offer a number of different trips through these beautiful rivers.

All trips offer and include:

  • Transportation to and from the river.
  • Delicious gourmet meals made from fresh, local ingredients.
  • Sound and comfortable sleep thanks to our luxurious camping equipment.
  • Wildlife and nature spotting opportunities, including Bald Eagles, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, geometric columnar basalt, beautiful wildflowers, and much more.
  • The experience of rafting powerful, world renowned class II, III, IV rapids.
  • Knowledgeable and experienced guides with decades of rafting experience.

We also offer a number of annual events throughout the year. These include a geology focused 3-day Hell’s Canyon trip and a 4-day trip where you experience intimate nightly musical performances on the river!


Hike in the Wallowa Mountains

The Wallowa Mountains are considered one of the 7 wonders of Oregon and for good reason. Know as the “Alps of Oregon,” the Wallowa range is a beautiful, snow capped range that is generally less crowded than other mountainous destinations in the state.

The region offers some of the best hiking in the country, offering everything from shorter day-hikes to multiple night backpacking journeys.

Below, we’ve put some of our favorite hikes to check out:

  • Chief Joseph Mountain – Towering at 9,617 feet above the town of Joseph, Chief Joseph Mountain is a picturesque, if not grueling hike. Coming in at 14.1 miles, this hike should only be attempted by experienced hikers. The summit can be reached using the Chief Joseph Mountain trail.
  • Hurricane Creek Trail – A moderate 19.3-mile hike amongst a beautiful forest, giving you views of the surrounding mountains throughout. Though probably a bit too long for just a day hike, this is a perfect hike for an overnight trip! Another option is to hike a portion of the trail and turn around. The views start at about a mile in, so it is still well worth it even if you don’t hike the whole trail!
  • Bonny Lakes – The Bonny Lakes trail offers a scenic gradual 7.8-mile round-trip hike up to an attractive alpine lake. Make sure to check out this trail in early August to see the wildflowers! Mariposa lily, monkshead, paintbrush, and wild onion will all be in bloom.
  • China Cap – Although standing at 8,655 feet, China Cap is still likely the easiest peak to reach in the range. Once you wind up the 9.4-mile trail to the top you will be greeted by unmatched views of the Wallowa range.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Wallowa Lake Tram

Don’t feel like hiking miles to a summit? No fear! The Wallowa Lake Tram will take you to the top of one of the most beautiful mountains in the region, Mt. Howard.

Taking you up 3,700 feet to the 8,256-foot summit, the Wallowa Lake Tram is the steepest 4-person tram in North America. Once at the top, you can view wildlife and an alpine meadow via short hiking trails.

Once you are done taking in the sites, including views of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, you can grab a bite at Oregon’s highest restaurant, the Alpine Grill.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Boat on Wallowa Lake

Just outside Joseph and at the base of the tram sits Wallowa Lake, a beautiful ribbon lake surrounded by the Wallowa mountains. The lake features two different boat ramps for boaters who are able to tow their own boat in. You can also rent boats at the lake, including kayaks, row boats, canoes, and motored row and pontoon boats.

The lake is great for swimming, and is generally not too crowded even on summer weekends! Still, make sure to call ahead if looking to rent a boat to ensure you will be able to get out on the water!


Bird Watching

The Wallowa region is a top birding destination in the Pacific Northwest. Birding is a fun activity for family members of all ages. All you need is a decent set of binoculars, a field guide, and an interest in wildlife to enjoy!

There are lots of interesting birds in their natural habitat right near town. Some birds in the region are:

  • Bald Eagles
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Killdeer
  • Western Bluebird
  • Osprey
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Western Tanager
  • Pileated Woodpecker


Explore Joseph, Oregon

Want to experience an authentic eastern Oregon town? Look no further than Joseph, OR. Originally platted in 1883, Joseph feels like a true old-western town.

Get a sense of the local culture in Joseph::

  • Eat a great meal: Joseph has a number of local restaurants serving up delicious meals.
  • Drink a local Beer: In typical Oregon fashion, a number of local breweries have popped up in Joseph. Perfect for after a day exploring the Wallowas!
  • Wallowa County Farmers Market: Find this local’s favorite farmers market every Saturday in downtown Joseph.
  • Local Artwork: A number of galleries and artisan shops have opened up, establishing Joseph as a top destination in Eastern Oregon for beautiful artwork.


Take a Flight on a Hot Air Balloon

Have you ever wanted to try hot air balloons but never had a good opportunity? Well now is your chance! A hot air balloon flight is a perfect way to take in the many mountains and lakes the region offers. The best time to take in the scenery is at sunrise due to the wind, so make sure to book your flight for early in the day. You will not regret it when staring out over the Wallowa range as the sun is rising over the mountains.


Looking for an Adventure of a Lifetime?

Winding Waters River Expeditions can help you have the time of your life! Whether you are looking for a day trip or a 6-day long excursion, we’ve got you covered. Our tours require no experience and are fun for everyone. If you have any more questions, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Happy Adventuring!