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EO has 4 impressive mountain ranges moving northward.
Steens. Out in the desert south of Burns. Highest point is just under 10,000 '. You can even see wild horses. Not as many trees as other mountains but still impressive. Two large lakes just north, Harney and Malheur.
Strawberry. East and a bit south of John Day High point just over 9,000. John Day River Valley below it is about 3,000. Always impressive to drive along it on US-26. good views of valley floor, then forests then rock above timberline. Strawberry Lake is a nice short hike. On south side is Logan Valley a large high country meadow. Some nice views of Strawberries from there too.
Elkhorns. West of Baker City . High point just over 9000. Baker City 3400. Anthony Lakes here is a short drive for Baker City. Nice setting in the forest. Mining country on west side. Mountains not as impressive from there, but the mining towns are good visits. Short train ride near Sumpter.
Wallowas. East of Baker City, but more impressive from south of the Wallowa River Valley and specially when well snow covered which is long part of year. High point 10,000 give or take. Wallowa Lake good sized lake and view from north end very nice You see Lake with steep slopes on both sides. North half slope bare, south half tree covered, and Oregon’s Matterhorn in background. Wallowa River flows out of it, and Wallowa Valley very nice, Lostine, Minam and Imnaha Rivers flow north, west, and east out of Wallowas. All pretty full rivers, confluence of the Minam and Wallowa particularly. Train rides available throughout the year originating out of Elgin. For details contact www.wallowacountychamber.com (call 1-800-585-4121). Nearby Wallowa hosts an ever-developing Nez Perce information center and native american events.
Catherine and Eagle Creek flow off south side. Many alpine lakes with nice hikes to them. Given one place to visit in EO this would be it.
And there are other mountains too. Blues between Pendleton and La Grande. Ochocos east of Prineville. Warners east of Lakeview, but above 4 most obvious and worth a journey
Five National Forests in EO. Wallowa/Whitman, Umatilla, Malheur, Ochoco, Fremont. They cover several million acres and are largely tree covered, with many nice rivers and creeks. And open for public to visit. So if you carefully pick routes you could be in forest much of visit to EO.
Of mountains mentioned above only Steens not on a NF. Steens is BLM so federal land and also largely accessible.
Hells Canyon deepest in this country, but access is poor. Best way to see it is from jet boat on Snake River, but that does not really show the depth well. The view from Hat Point is outstanding. But you can’t get there easily; vehicles with good ground clearance and rated tires recommended. There is a fairly easy access viewpoint along the paved Hells Canyon Wallowa Mtn Scenic Byway. That gives you good idea of hugeness of that country. Consider paying to get to Hat Point.
The Imnaha River Road just west of Hells canyon is a good drive and though not as big as Hells Canyon shows depth of that area. Wet weather travel merits caution as the road-bed changes from paved to gravel/soil a few miles downriver from the town of Imnaha. Ground clearance and heavy ply traction tires (and a good spare!) are strongly advised to safely access the lower Imnaha river canyon. The leg from Cow Creek to Dug Bar on the Snake river has several portions that are not for the faint of heart.
FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
Several sites north of US-26 between Prineville and John Day. Painted hills near Mitchell worth some time. So is visitor center at Sheep Rock along John Day River near Dayville. Anyone interested in fossils, these 3 or 4 sites a must. Check the Indian pictographs in Picture Gorge. You have to work a bit to find them. Painted Hills nice even if you don’t like fossils, so is Picture Gorge.
Don't for get to visit the Alvord desert and the hotsprings there. Very easy to get there and rustic yet civilized and clothing optional. Also Whitehorse Hotsprings and Borax are near by.
All hot springs and their locations and info can be found here : http://oregonhotsprings.immunenet.com/